What is Transgender History Month?
Celebrated throughout the month of August in San Francisco, Transgender History Month is legally recognized by Mayoral Proclamation. It is a month in which Transgender San Franciscans honor the rich history and contributions of transgender historymakers, pioneers, trailblazers and affirms the ongoing presence of transgender people in San Francisco and around the world.
In 2021, activist Jupiter Peraza and The Transgender District led the advocacy efforts to recognize the month of August as “Transgender History Month” in the City and County of San Francisco. With the support of the City and County of San Francisco’s Office of Transgender Initiatives (OTI) and the Women’s Foundation of California, Ms. Peraza and The Transgender District advocated to the Mayor and received full support for the commemorative month.
Mayor London Breed signed and declared by proclamation, the month of August in the City and County of San Francisco as “Transgender History Month” on August 24th, 2021.
In August of 1966, Black and brown trans women and drag queens started and led a riot against police harassment at Compton’s Cafeteria in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco. Formally known as the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots of 1966, it is regarded as the first large-scale act of resistance of transgender and queer individuals against police in the United States–predating the Stonewall Inn Riots by 3 years. The riot began inside Compton’s Cafeteria–which at the time was a 24 hour diner where trans and queer residents of the Tenderloin congregated after socializing, performing, or working at nearby clubs and bars–but eventually made its way outside onto the Turk and Taylor Streets intersection where fighting continued.
According to historians, the riot attracted hundreds of Tenderloin residents in the middle of the night–some who were awakened from their slumber at nearby hotels and SROs (single-room occupancy units), other trans and queer residents who were also leaving bars and clubs as their night came to an end, and other patrons of Compton’s Cafeteria.
The riot changed the way transgender and LGB individuals were treated in San Francisco, as they proved to be a force to be reckoned with.
Without the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots of 1966, San Francisco would not be the trans and queer international center it is today. The Compton’s Cafeteria Riots were a catalyst for other monumental events such as the Stonewall Inn Riots of 1969.
The intersection where the riot took place is now the heart of The Transgender District.
Transgender History Timeline
Transgender people have always existed! Despite numerous attempts to erase the stories of transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary, and other genderqueer people and communities, there are many figures throughout human history, all over the world, whose names are etched in time.
Here is an evolving, ever-growing timeline of transgender figures and events in history. Please hover your mouse over or click a name or title to learn more about it.
The Riot Party
The RIOT PARTY is The Transgender District’s annual celebration in commemoration of the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot of 1966. The purpose of the RIOT PARTY is to celebrate and rejoice those that have come before us, where we are now, and the bright future that lays ahead of us.
The Transgender District’s vision is to preserve and honor the rich transgender history of–not only the Tenderloin–but San Francisco overall.
For more information on this year’s RIOT PARTY, go to www.riotpartysf.com.