San Francisco marked the beginning of Transgender Awareness Month by lighting up City Hall in the trans flag colors and raising the trans flag over the building.
The month of November celebrates the transgender and gender nonconforming communities and raises awareness for the community through education and advocacy activities. This year, it will encompass vigils and other gatherings around the country. As an integral component, the month also includes the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which memorializes those who have been murdered.
The city originally marked November as Transgender Awareness Month just last year when Mayor London Breed and the Office of Transgender Initiatives broadened Transgender Awareness Week, which is typically observed the second week of November. That event leads into Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).
TDOR was inspired by Rita Hester, a black trans woman who was brutally murdered in 1998 and whose death echoed across the country. The day was founded almost one year after Hester’s death by trans activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith on November 20, 1999 marking this year as it’s 20th anniversary.
“In San Francisco, we celebrate our diversity,” Breed said, according to the San Francisco Examiner. “Despite transphobic and bigoted efforts around the country to dismantle the rights of trans people, our trans community will never be erased,” Breed was joined by Senator Scott Wiener and Supervisor Rafael Mandelman for the ceremony where the lights were officially turned on and the flags were put on display.
He continued: “We are committed to continuing our investments in the trans community, providing support through policies and programs, and maintaining our unyielding commitment to equal rights for all.”
Senator Wiener also read the names of some of the transgender people who were slain this year. At least 22 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed this year, the most recent being Brianna “BB” Hill, a black trans woman who was murdered in Kansas City last month. In August Jorden Cofer, a transgender man was fatally shot in a mass shooting by his brother in Dayton, Ohio which killed nine other people.
“Itali Marlowe, Elisha Chanel Stanley, Bailey Reeves, and Jordan Cofer are just a few of the beautiful trans souls we‘ve lost this year to the epidemic of hateful, tragic murders,” Wiener said. “As our federal government turns its back on and attacks the transgender community, we must recommit to stand with our transgender neighbors. In San Francisco, we will always uplift transgender people, and I remain committed to the fight for safety, dignity, and equality.”
The New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG) and Gays Against Guns (GAG) will host a gathering on TDOR to light a candlelight vigil and march to The Stonewall Monument at Christopher Park in New York City. For that event The Stonewall Inn will host a special edition of their monthly variety show FREAK OUT which features all trans cast of live musicians, poets, performance artists and entertainers. The Stonewall Inn is also hosting more events which can be found on their website.
Other events throughout the month include The San Francisco Trans Film Festival at the Roxie Theater between November 7-10th which “screens films that promote the visibility of transgender and gender variant people and challenge the mainstream media’s negative stereotypes of our communities,” according to it’s website.
The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity at Penn State University will also be hosting a series of events open to the public, including a transgender vigil.