BAS PRIDE: Trans Support, Compton’s & the Lexington Club returns to SF
Several years ago when I was what could only charitably be termed as a “baby” queer, I had gone to meet some friends for a drink at the carpeted mineshaft that was the former incarnation of the Midnight Sun on Pride Friday. The Castro was already pulsating with hundreds of visitors from across the globe and the cavern lit in flatscreen blue was beginning to feel claustrophobic. I squeezed out of the sardine can of FiDi cis gay men just in time to bear witness to my first Trans March. A stream of trans folks cheering and smiling, marched down 18th Street. It was a sight that filled me with legitimate pride to live in a city where we even had a Trans March. That lasted for about a minute, until the snickers and “tranny” comments from the sidewalk brought me back to reality.
In yesterday’s post, I wrote about the need for true allyship from our gender binary/ hetero comrades, but the mirror can be turned on the LGB part of our community in regards to the the Ts. The blatant derision I witnessed elicits disgust from the more “evolved” of us, but how far is it from the “unintentional” dismissiveness or erasure of the trans community, it’s needs and it’s history which is just as common.
As Pete Kane recounts in his latest cover story for the SF Weekly, the LGBT rights movement began with the gender non-conforming ‘screaming queens” of the Tenderloin and later their New York counterparts at the Stonewall Inn. Kane’s story should be required reading for Pride 2017 because so much of the trans community’s ancestral and still living and breathing home of the Tenderloin is at stake as we speak. A devastating historical loss of our queer history (an entire block of early-twentieth century gay bars) is being offered as a downpayment to stave of the encroaching developers already circling the once un-gentrifiable “skid row” and instead create the Compton’s TLGB District, a protected, thriving space unlike anywhere.
At least one place where we as the greater community should and can help. The Compton TLGB District has the potential to be something great yet unseen, but how often does one hear the neighborhood referred to as anything but derisively?
Likewise with the trans community at large. The Trans March should be as large and feted as Sunday and Saturday, but it requires respect and support. Volunteer and financial support, eyes and ears support.
Education is easy. The GLBT History Museum is a good starting point for learning about our queer, trans past as long you take the time to go a little bit deeper beyond the mainstream attractions. The Compton’s Cafeteria Riots haven’t benefitted from a Hollywood treatment in terms of public interest like say, Harvey Milk, and if Stonewall is any indication of what that would look like, that might be just as well. That doesn’t mean the stories are not there, though.
Trans support organization’s such as TGI Justice, St. James Infirmary, and TAJA’s Coalition require as much and more support as any other community org, but how often are larger more well known ones flocked to instead?
In 1966 a movement was carried on the heels of so many trans POC. Fifty-one years later, we can return the favour with our own shouts and our own action, because if theirs became ours, then ours most certainly can be theirs.
ON TONIGHT’S ROSTER
Speaking of the Tenderloin, tender it will be at Bus Station John’s long standing paean to bathhouse boogieing of yesteryear, the Tubesteak Connection sweats it’s funk all over Pride, housed as it has always been in the chapel of the Lady with the Liquid Spine, Vicki Marlane.
The Lexington Club returns all weekend starting tonight at Glamour Shots. A who’s who of photos and digital artists will be featuring their work al fresco and as they say, you can “do a shot, see a shot” with said shots provided by the old sexy Lexy bar crew.
Queerness is clearly nature’s choice as Pride Nightlife at the Academy of Sciences returns with Heklina and Juanita More holding court as Hella Gay and Swagger Like Us create sonic booms and you can revisit those rare blooms, the Cockettes in the Project Lab.