A Tea Party and TDORBottom Highlights, Latest Issue, Trans Progressive Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017
Commentary: Trans Progressive
It was Nov.19, and what was constructed to be the first annual Tea Party took place at the Sunset Theater in Normal Heights. It was a T-Party for transgender community members, family and friends and allies of the community rolled out by T-Spot (thetspot.org).
The theme was Alice In Wonderland, with playing card cut-outs as decorations and some people dressed in The Mad Hatter’s themed costumes. Tea and sweets were served, and for $15 a VIP pass could be purchased where wine and savory hors d’oeuvres were available.
Three members of the community were honored for their service to the community. Two were gender nonconforming; two were people of color. The diversity of awardees reflects the diversity of the transgender community.
There was a silent auction benefiting T-Spot. T-Spot is a nonprofit that is mostly known for putting out a frequently updated transgender resource guide. The event also highlighted a PrEP study (prepstudy.org) being conducted by UCSD/AVRV, the transgender community being a high risk community for HIV/AIDS. The UCSD/AVRC is currently looking for transgender – to include gender non-conforming – participants to participate in the study.
“The 19th is an important date because tomorrow is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and it’s Trans Awareness Month, where we increase awareness around transgender people,” emphasized the T-Spot event coordinator Brooke Sullivan, who spoke on behalf of UCSD/AVRC. “T-Spot is always trying to raise awareness around resources, and what T-Spot wanted to do is combine awareness of trans resources with UCSD/AVRC and other event collaborators with a party. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is very somber, and we just wanted to make something nice that people can look forward to every year.”
I personally went to the event, hanging out at the “adult table” of non-millennials most of the evening, as well as mingling with friends, especially transgender active duty military and veterans I haven’t engaged with in a while. Even though the vast majority of us paid for the VIP passes, we mostly hung out in the area of the event for non-VIPs.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was as very somber as Brooke suggested it would be when reading the names of the American dead this year.
Each year on Nov. 20, transgender community members, family and friends and allies of the community assemble and remember those who have been killed due to anti-transgender hate in the past year. This year, over thirty names were read, which was the most so far.
Most of the dead were transgender women of color and from the South.
The program listed the names of all the dead with photographs and details of their deaths. When reading the names and details of their deaths, there was intention not to provide as much brutal detail. It can be traumatizing to hear so much detail from the stage when one is in the audience.
It’s a bit of a contrast to compare the transgender community events of the 19th and 20th in San Diego. One speaks to celebrating the lives of the transgender community, the other to memorializing the dead of the community; both speak to the need of a community to recognize the whole of its experiences. Being transgender comes with joy and sorrow.
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