Trans March marks
'Decade of Change'
by Seth Hemmelgarn
Transgender people and their allies will mark 10 years of marching and celebrations with the 2013 Trans March. The march, which this year is themed "A Decade of Change," kicks off San Francisco LGBT Pride weekend Friday, June 28, beginning in Dolores Park.
Launched in 2004 in response to the mistrial of the murderers of Gwen Araujo, a young trans woman who lived in Newark, California and was killed at a house party in 2002, the Trans March has grown into a recognized event.
The day begins at 1 p.m. with the second annual youth and elder brunch. Performances will begin at 3. Entertainment will include Star Amerasu and TuffNStuff. The march commences at about 6:15 and will make its way up to Turk and Taylor streets.
The destination marks a key change, and is a result of the event's popularity.
"We've outgrown our space at U.N. Plaza," where the march had previously ended, said Jamie Rafaela Wolfe, co-vice chair of the Trans March's board, "so this year we're ending the march at Turk and Taylor." There, there will be a block party for about an hour.
The location is the site of the 1966 Compton's Cafeteria riot, which included transgender women and others who finally became fed up with routine harassment from the police that sometimes included arrests for female impersonation. The Compton's riot took place three years before the better-known Stonewall riots in New York City.
"It's amazing how far we've come that now the mayor's coming, and when we march we're being supported and secured by the police," rather than harassed, Wolfe said.
"The world is changing, and we are a part of it," she added.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is expected to speak at this year's Trans March, as he has the previous two years. In 2011, Lee was the first sitting San Francisco mayor to speak at the event.
This year's headlining speaker, Kortney Ryan Ziegler, 32, is the CEO and founder of Who We Know, a 10-month fellowship that incubates transgender-led start-up enterprises.
"I plan to speak about using the welcoming space of the Trans March as a celebration of visibility, of strength and of inspiration. I hope that people will walk away feeling empowered with who they are," Ziegler, who lives in Oakland, said in a Facebook message.
The first march drew "a few hundred people," according to the Trans March website, and this year, organizers are expecting about 5,000 people to gather in the park.
Wolfe said organizers "aspire to have a substance-free event," with no drugs or alcohol.
"Everyone is welcome, trans and allies," Wolfe said. "It's a family-friendly event. It's amazing fun."
Also this year, Trans March organizers and others are planning an inaugural youth after-party. The party, intended for people 14-24, starts at about 7 at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street.
After the march and block party, there will be an after-party for adults at El Rio, 3158 Mission Street, benefiting Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project. Doors open at 8. Suggested donations at the El Rio party are $5-$25 but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Wolfe said while organizers "appreciate donations," there's no admission fee to the park rally and march.
For the march, trolley service will be available for seniors and people with disabilities. To sign up for the trolley, visit http://www.transmarch.org.