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News Briefs: TDOR events include new East Bay venue

by Cynthia Laird

The 18th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance - to honor those lives lost to anti-trans violence - will be observed by organizations throughout the Bay Area, with a new location for the East Bay event.

Tiffany Woods, the longtime producer of the TDOR observance in Oakland, has new commitments outside of the Bay Area and will not be involved this year.

"It is time for a new vision and leadership," she wrote in an email to the Bay Area Reporter.

TDOR had taken place at Oakland City Hall in recent years, but this year it will move to the Pacific Center for Human Growth, 2712 Telegraph Avenue, in Berkeley. It will take place Monday, November 20, beginning at 6 p.m., said Leslie Ewing, executive director of the Pacific Center.

Woods said that while much has changed since TransVision, where she works, produced the first East Bay TDOR in 2006, "what has not changed is the epidemic of violence worldwide against the trans and gender nonconforming communities."

"In fact, it is increasing," she wrote in an email. "The goal is to never have to read a name again, and names to read increase each year."

Formally observed each November 20, TDOR was started in the late 1990s in San Francisco by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a trans woman who also writes the Transmissions column for the B.A.R. At the time, she wanted to call attention to the brutal murder of Rita Hester, a trans woman in Massachusetts. Today, ceremonies generally include a reading of names of those lost to anti-trans violence during the year. Smith started out with the online Remembering Our Dead project, which transitioned into TDOR and now includes events in cities across the country and overseas.

In addition to Berkeley, observances will be held in other Bay Area cities. All are free and open to the public.

The San Mateo Pride Center, which opened in May, will have its first TDOR event Thursday, November 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 1021 S. El Camino Real in San Mateo. Jei Africa, a clinical psychologist and transgender man who's director of the Office of Diversity and Equity for San Mateo County, will deliver the keynote address. Supervisor Dave Pine will provide welcoming remarks. Community speakers include Rhett Henderson, Alyss Swanson, and Lexi Shimmers.

There will be refreshments, altar-building, a call to action, and procession.

Organizers noted that while not every person represented during TDOR self-identified as transgender, each was a victim of violence based on bias against trans people.

In San Francisco, TDOR will be held November 20 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street. A volunteer planning team organized the event, including representatives from Taja's Coalition, Trans: Thrive, the LGBT center, the trans employment program, and El/La Para Translatinas. To RSVP, visit

The Central Valley city of Fresno will hold a TDOR ceremony November 20 at Fresno State University, 5241 N. Maple Avenue. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; the event runs from 6 to 8:30 in the North Gym, Room 118.

For more about TDOR, see Smith's column in this issue.

Sleep out to bring attention to homelessness
The Coalition on Homelessness will bring attention to San Francisco's homeless community by holding a SleepOut to end Homelessness Thursday, November 16, starting at 5 p.m. at the Powell Street cable car turnaround (Powell and Market streets).

Organizers said that with the adult shelter waitlist at more than 1,000 people, and as the city "continues to criminalize homeless people living in tents and on the streets, we invite community members to join us for a sleep out to bring light to this issue." The coalition was referring to laws like the newly enacted Proposition Q, which voters passed last year and allows the city to remove homeless peoples' tents after issuing 24-hour notice and offering shelter.

Interested people should bring their sleeping bags. For more information, contact Kelley Cutler at or (415) 346-3740, ext. 312.

Openhouse to hold Fall Feast
Openhouse, which provides services to LGBT seniors, will hold its annual Fall Feast Thursday, November 16, in the Green Room at the San Francisco War Memorial, 401 Van Ness Avenue.

The dinner will include a traditional Thanksgiving meal from Whole Foods.

The event is free, though donations are welcome.

There will be two seatings: 2:30 to 4 p.m., and 4:30 to 6. Interested people should RSVP at (415) 685-0886 or, and indicate which seating they would like to attend.

Oakland councilman to distribute Thanksgiving baskets
Oakland City Councilman Abel Guillen (District 2) will hold his third annual Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway Saturday, November 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Roosevelt Middle School, 1926 E. 19th Street.

In an email to constituents, Guillen, who identifies as two spirit, said that over the past two years, his office has been able to provide holiday meals for 500 underserved Oakland families.

Guillen also said that they are short of reaching their fundraising goal and need the community's help. People can donate online at or mail in a tax-deductible contribution to Councilman Abel Guillen's Office, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, 2nd Floor, Oakland, CA 94612. Checks should be made payable to Family Bridges Inc. and add a note that says "Councilmember Guillen's Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway."

Volunteers are needed for the giveaway. To sign up, visit For questions about donating or volunteering, contact Jessica Chen at or (510) 238-7022.

SFPD kicks off holiday toy drive
The San Francisco Police Department, in collaboration with Walgreens, kicked off its holiday toy drive that will benefit the city's children in need.

Until December 19, SFPD will be accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys at more than 60 San Francisco Walgreens locations. The goal is to exceed last year's toy drive, in which approximately 6,000 items were donated at the stores for distribution to local kids.

"Something as simple as a toy can stir a child's imagination and bring joy to youth in need," SFPD Chief William Scott said in a news release.

Donations can be dropped off at any San Francisco Walgreens that features a brightly colored and marked toy drive collection bin.

El/La director announces departure
The executive director of El/La Para TransLatinas has announced that she's leaving the organization at the end of the year.

Susana Caceres, who's led El/La for four years, said in a recent news release, "It has been my absolute privilege to do this work and I'm happy to leave the organization in a more grounded and fruitful place."

The San Francisco nonprofit, which provides HIV testing, leadership development, and other services for transgender Latinas, recently marked its 11th anniversary.

"Personally, this position has brought me deep life lessons and humbleness as I've seen the translatina community continue to be resilient and continue to support each other in any way they can," stated Caceres, who's been with El/La for six years. "It has been a lesson of love. Fierce love that says you are home, we are family, you can be yourself here."

She added, "My plan is to stay connected to the organization and to support its growth."

Caceres declined to be interviewed, saying in an email that she's "super swamped."
Marcia Ochoa, El/La's advisory board co-chair and co-founder, didn't respond to an emailed request for comment.

The group's budget and other financial information wasn't immediately available.

A job description for the interim executive director, which didn't specify a salary, said the successful candidate would start December 1.

Tenderloin community district has board opening
The Tenderloin Community Benefit District is now accepting applications for one available property owner seat on its board of directors. The CBD board includes property owners, businesses, residents, and an at-large seat within the district's boundaries.

The two-year term involves at least four to six hours or board and committee meetings per month, plus proactive volunteer work on behalf of the organization in resource development, outreach/community liaison, and commitment to special projects.

For more information, and to view the CBD boundaries, visit For an application, visit The deadline is Monday, December 18 at 5 p.m.

Seth Hemmelgarn contributed reporting.


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