ActivismArts and CultureNationalNewsSF Bay Area

California Declares Nation’s First Transgender History Month

The Bay's best newsletter for underground events & news
Photo of San Francisco City Hall lit up with the Trans Pride colors. This is being used to celebrate Transgender History Month

Photo of San Francisco City Hall lit up with the Trans Pride colors by Kae Ng on Unsplash

Damn it feels good to be a Californian. While states all over the country have passed a record number of anti-transgender laws this year, California is set to once again be the progressive leader in Unite States by celebrating Transgender History Month.

At noon on Wednesday, September 6th, State Assemblymember Matt Haney (D–San Francisco) will host a press conference to announce that every August hereafter will be known in California as Transgender History Month. This comes at an important moment as transgender and gender-nonconforming Americans are being persecuted nationwide. On one hand, Conservative pundits and politicians are scapegoating trans people for all of society’s woes. On the other, GOP led governments are passing laws that dehumanize and endanger transgender people like denying certain medical care, legislate their bathroom use, and attack their use of personal pronouns.

Assemblymember Matt Haney will be joined by Lori Wilson, Chris Ward, and Rick Zbur, and Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, Honey Mahogany.

According to a press release, “Transgender History Month provides an opportunity to further educate and raise awareness of the many contributions of the transgender community throughout the State and country and recognizing a history that dates back as far as the Spanish colonial era.”

Transgender History Month has been celebrated in San Francisco since Mayor London Breed signed a proclamation on August 24th, 2021. Activist Jupiter Peraza and The Transgender District led the advocacy with support from San Francisco’s Office of Transgender Initiatives and the Women’s Foundation of California.

Local Journalism for Working stiffs

We write for the poets, busboys, and bartenders. We cover workers, not ‘tech’, not the shiny ‘forbes 100 bullshit’. We write about the business on your corner and the beer in your hand. Join the Bay's best newsletter.

Another reason that California will be celebrating Transgender History Month California is that, despite the fact that transgender people have existed throughout all known human history, the hateful work of GOP politicians is acting to erase the contribution they’ve made to the world.

This history is very much kept acknowledged and celebrated in the legislation being put forth by Assemblymember Matt Haney you can read it all right here:

WHEREAS, The suppression of gender variance among indigenous California cultures by Spanish and later Anglo settlers was a foundational event of the history of the state, as documented in the journal of soldier Pedro Fages, who wrote in 1775 about native peoples he encountered near present-day San Diego, whom he described as “those Indian men who, both here and farther inland, observed in the dress, clothing, and character of women… They are called joyas, and they are held in great esteem.”; and

WHEREAS, The social fluidity of Gold Rush-era California attracted countless people who lived transgender lives in the mid-19th century, including legendary stagecoach driver Charley Parkhurst, whose life story was celebrated in the popular television show Death Valley Days, hosted by Ronald Reagan; and

WHEREAS, San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood has been known as a residential district for transgender people since the second half of the 19th century, when it was home to people such as “Jenny O.,” a trans woman who corresponded with the famous German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld about her life in the Tenderloin; and

WHEREAS, Some of the earliest support organizations for cross-dressers were founded in Los Angeles by Virginia Prince in the early 1960s; and

WHEREAS, The 1959 Cooper Do-nuts Riot in Los Angeles and the 1966 Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco were important acts of collective resistance to police violence targeting trans people, years before the better-known Stonewall Riot in New York; and

WHEREAS, The Black transfem performer Sir Lady Java filed the first antitrans employment discrimination lawsuit in the country in 1969 in Los Angeles, when she protested her firing from the Redd Foxx nightclub on La Cienega Boulevard, leading ultimately to the overturning of antidrag ordinances; and

WHEREAS, In the 1960s and 70s, Ojai resident Reed Erickson, a multimillionaire trans man, funded the establishment of university-based sex reassignment clinics at Johns Hopkins University, UCLA, and elsewhere, providing a foundation to support the work of San Francisco-based doctor Harry Benjamin and his landmark 1966 book The Transsexual Phenomenon, and whose Erickson Educational Foundation funded the nation’s first trans peer support group, the National Transsexual Counseling Unit, in 1968; and

WHEREAS, The 1973 West Coast Lesbian Conference at UCLA became the first national flashpoint for trans issues in the women’s movement when attendees voted on whether to accept the participation of trans lesbian singer Beth Elliott; and

WHEREAS, San Francisco resident Lou Sullivan, a trans man, founded FTM, the first national and international support organization for transmasculine people, in the 1980s; and

WHEREAS, Legendary media scholar and Jimi Hendrix’s recording engineer, Sandy Stone, launched the academic field of transgender studies with her “Posttranssexual Manifesto” while earning her PhD in History of Consciousness Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1987; and

WHEREAS, In 2017 San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood became home to the world’s first legally recognized transgender cultural district, which serves to create an urban environment that empowers transgender individuals residing in the neighborhood through cultural, economic, and historical preservation initiatives; and

WHEREAS, Each day more transgender Californians are elected to public office, star as leads in television shows and films, lead organizations, create educational initiatives, and serve in the United States Armed Forces; and

WHEREAS, Despite the national recognition of LGBTQ+ history month, there is no proper representation and emphasis on the imperative leadership of transgender individuals in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights throughout history, and the transgender community substantially trails behind the level of inclusion and acceptance afforded to the broader LGBT community; and

WHEREAS, Despite awareness of influence on other movements categorized by resistance and liberation, prominent portions of transgender history remain undiscovered, unrecognized, and outside mainstream consciousness; and

WHEREAS, Transgender and gender-nonconforming Americans are being dehumanized and politicized in recent culture wars and their contributions to the history of the United States are being erased and their existence being portrayed as a recent cultural development, despite having existed throughout all known human history; and

WHEREAS, We are now at a new pinnacle of transgender visibility, with violence towards transgender and gender-nonconforming people continuing with high prevalence and frequency without being met with adequate responses of justice and accountability; and

WHEREAS, California has long been the epicenter of the trans liberation movement, possessing suitable historical qualities sufficient for the recognition of Transgender History Month as an opportunity to provide education, insight, and awareness of the monumental contributions to Golden State history by transgender Californians; and

WHEREAS, Discrimination, exclusion, and ignorance towards the transgender community continue to perpetuate violence and disparity; and

WHEREAS, Demonstrating actions led by principles of respect, value, and honor will aid a community that continues to fight for proper acknowledgment; and

WHEREAS, The month of August has particular significance to the trans community as it is the month when the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots are commemorated. One of the first LGBT civil rights uprising in the United States, the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots took place in August of 1966 in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, which has now been designated as the world’s first transgender cultural district; and

WHEREAS, Supporting the transgender community by designating August as Transgender History Month will create a culture led by research, education, and scholarly recognition of the contributions of transgender Californians to our great state’s history, and will educate future generations of Californians on the importance of this history; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the Assembly declares the month of August of each year as Transgender History Month; and be it further

Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

You can watch the livestream of the event right here.

Broke-Ass Stuart works because of reader support. Join us now.

Howdy! My name is Katy Atchison and I'm an Associate Editor for Broke-Ass Stuart.

I want to take the time to say thank you for supporting independent news media by reading Supporting independent news sources like Broke-Ass Stuart is vital to supporting our community because it amplifies the voices of a wide variety of diverse opinions. You also help support small businesses and local artists by sharing stories from Broke-Ass Stuart.

Because you're one of our supporters, I wanted to send over a pro-tip.

Our bi-weekly newsletter is a great way to get round ups of Broke-Ass Stuart stories, learn about new businesses in The Bay Area, find out about fun local events and be first in line for giveaways.

If you’d like to get our newsletter, signup right here, it takes 5 seconds.

Previous post

Best Bay Area Events for 9/5-9/11

Next post

San Francisco’s Forgotten Cemeteries: How One City Failed Their Dead

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.