A Latina transgender woman holding a transgender pride flag and wearing a T-shirt that says queen and a Black man holding a traditional gay pride flag.

State Assembly Declares August the First Transgender Month in the Country

A Latina transgender woman holding a transgender pride flag and wearing a T-shirt that says queen and a Black man holding a traditional gay pride flag.

Salomon Villalpando, left, holds up a Transgender Pride flag while her friend Eddie Carillo waves a Traditional Pride flag at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton on June 1. (Harika Maddala / Bay City News / Catchlight Local)

By Bay City News

The California State Assembly on Wednesday voted to declare August “Transgender History Month,” the office of Assemblymember Matt Haney said.

Trans people have always existed,” said Haney, D-San Francisco, the author of the bill. “In every era and in every culture, they have existed. As long as there’s been the written word there has been a record of trans people.”

California lawmakers made the move after over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across the country, many of which target trans Americans.

According to Haney’s office, a common denominator in anti-trans legislation and outcry is the idea that trans people are “somehow new, and that being transgender is a modern invention.”

California has a history of trans residents dating back to the Spanish colonial era, according to Haney. San Francisco’s Tenderloin has been home to trans residents since the 1800s. The Compton’s Cafeteria riots took place in San Francisco in August of 1966, Haney’s office said, which are recognized as the country’s first LGBT civil rights uprising. Similar to the Stonewall riots in New York three years later, Compton’s was a place in the Tenderloin where trans men and women, drag queens and other gender nonconforming people could be themselves, despite ongoing harassment and even brutality from police. After an officer harassed a trans woman one too many times, she refused to be arrested, according to the Los Angeles Public Library. The woman threw her coffee at the officer and others joined in with the civil disobedience and dishes were tossed, police car windows were shattered and a newsstand was lit on fire.

>>>Read: ‘Pride Is and Should Be the Legacy of Trans and Queers Folks,’ Activist Says

In 2017, a portion of the Tenderloin was designated the Transgender Cultural District, the first of its kind in the world.

“Many Californians remain unaware of the real lives and experiences of transgender people, even here in California,” said Honey Mahogany, founder of the Transgender District and chair of the SF Democratic Party. “We can change that through awareness, education, and outreach.”

Haney’s office recounted an encounter that a Spanish soldier had in 1775 near present-day San Diego.

“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,” the soldier reportedly wrote.

Celebrations and events will planned over the next year, Haney said, and will occur during the first annual Transgender History Month beginning in August 2024.

Last year was the first annual Transgender History Month in the city of San Francisco, followed by Santa Clara County.

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