Putting the ‘T’ First in LGBT: The Million Trans March for Inclusion & Tolerance
300 to 400 Trans people and their allies took part in last nights Million Trans March for Inclusion & Tolerance. Organized by a collaboration of first time activists and seasoned veterans, La Moni Stat, Brian Rowdy Worth, David Wichman, Veronika Fimbres, Felicia Flame and Connie Chung the march kicked off today’s annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance - and for the first time in it’s history-the Trans Pride Flag was raised on the Castro districts, massive, historic flag pole located in the memorial Harvey Milk Plaza.
As the Castro Biscuit has reported since October, Merchants of Upper Market Casto (MUMC), had originally denied Trans activist, Veronika Fimbres, request to fly the Trans Pride flag. People from every facet of our community were dumb struck by MUMC’s rejection and responded with loud calls of ‘bigotry and transphobia’ in the neighborhood, across the blog-sphere and social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. Unamused by MUMC’s choice local drag performer La Monistat and Sex Worker activist/advocate, Brian Rowdy Worth, called for a community wide, protest and march. Both created event pages on Facebook which quickly drew more than a thousand ‘Will/Maybe’ attend in less than twenty four hours. Sensing the townsfolk were gathering pitchforks and torches to hunt the monster MUMC relented and in a letter to the community gave their blessing to have the flag raised. Sadly they also declare that this would be the last ‘non-Pride flag to be flown over the Castro’. One member of MUMC went as far to say, “we can’t fly every flag we get a request for-what if the Nazi’s came asked to fly theirs?” La Monistat and Mr. Worth seized the opportunity to show community solidarity and altered the tenor the event from protest to one of inclusion, tolerance and celebration of our Trans brothers and sisters.
Marchers amassed on the steps of San Francisco City Hall. After a few brief speeches from organizers they began their journey to the Castro. Supervisor Scott Weiner, who’d at first sided with MUMC decision and then-according to MUMC President Terry Bennet-was invaluable in resolving this ‘situaton joined the march. His presence drew a mixed reaction from many in the crowd. Winding their way toward Market Street, escorted by multiple police motorcycles and cars, the phalanx of Trans people and their allies were kept to the sidewalk despite having a permit to march in the street. Once nearly reaching Harvey Milk Plaza they were finally allowed into street at Noe and into Market for the last block of the march.
The massive Trans flag had been made and purchased with the generous donation of an anonymous benefactor. Veronika Fimbres spoke at the Plaza pre flag raising about how moved and grateful she was to see so many people come and participate in the march. “I never thought I’d see this day when our flag would fly over the Castro.”, she commented.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence blessed the flag with a prayer and gold glitter and then the massive flag was raised. The diverse crowd, a rainbow collection of our community, cheered as it inched its way up the flag pole to at last unfurl in the evening wind. “A grand finish to an awe inspiring evening”, La Moni Stat stated, “our community can come together in love and support.”
Today is the official San Francisco Transgender Day of Remembrance March from City Hall to South of Market’s City of Refuge at 5PM. Join your Trans friends and neighbors. Without the Trans and Drag community the political firestorms that birthed modern day Queer rights movement,-1966′s San Francisco Compton Cafeteria Riots and the NYC Stonewall Riots of 1969-would’ve never occurred.