Trans* Lounge Los Angeles spread holiday magic through food, drinks, music, gifts, and community at their third annual Chosen Family Holiday Celebration. The event took place in Pride Hall at the new Anita May Rosenstein Campus, located across the street from the Village LGBT Center, on Sunday December 15th from 5-9pm.
Like many people before us, my family and I moved to Los Angeles to follow our dreams and to escape the Midwest. Moving thousands of miles from our closest friends and family left us feeling isolated. Shortly after we moved here, I joined The Trans* Lounge, and our family attended the first Chosen Family Holiday Celebration. Since then, it has become our favorite holiday tradition!
The Trans* Lounge is a community-based program at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and Gina Bigham is the Program Manager. With over 2,000 participants enrolled it is a groundbreaking education & empowerment program that is dedicated to serving Los Angeles’ trans and gender expansive community. Their website states: Anyone who identifies as Trans/GNC/ENBY is welcome to become a member of Trans* Lounge. It’s free to join and once you are a member, all of our programs (workshops, labs, groups and events) are free as well!
The room was decorated with elegant furniture, beautiful center pieces and the main stage was a gigantic fireplace. For the third year in a row, Gina Bigham was an amazing host and was closely followed by her three helper Elves Oliva, Nina and Eva Rawdon. Throughout the evening the Elves passed out tickets for a free raffle and announced prize winners several times throughout the evening. Prizes included gift cards, Jacob Tobia’s new book Sissy, and the grand prize was full holiday meal for 8 from Gleson’s Market.
The night began with appetizers and warm apple cider as people began to find their seats. After everyone found their tables an amazing dinner was served. It was provided by Cantalini’s Salerno Beach Restaurant that included chicken, pasta as well as vegan and vegetarian options. During dinner Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin spoke and offered a Certificate of Appreciation to the Trans* Lounge.
One of the best parts of the Chosen Family Holiday Celebration each year is that they set up a bare Christmas tree and leave plenty of ornaments out for everyone to decorate it with. Throughout the evening most people will take a few minutes to hang a couple ornaments on the tree. By the end of the night there is a beautiful decorated Christmas tree for all to see put together by the entire community.
This year Trans Kind LA run by Allison Whiteacre and Heather Barron came together with the Trans* Lounge and hosted a food drive during the event. They stated: Food insecurity always hurts. It tends to hurt more this time of year when assistance budgets have run out and resources are stretched thin. People came in with arm loads of canned goods and non-perishables. Everything was then donated back to everyone and anyone who needed some food.
The evening was topped off by a spectacular performance by the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles. The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles website states: They are America’s first Trans Chorus, embracing all members of the trans, non-binary and intersex communities sharing LGBTQIA+ spirit through awareness and song. The first song that they performed Sunday night was a calibration with Maggie Szabo called Don’t Give Up followed by traditional holiday songs and a sing along.
There were hundreds of people in attendance smiling, laughing, eating and singing the night away. Holidays can be hard to bare for many people within the LGBT community. Los Angeles is a vast city with plenty of resources to tap into. Even in a city where you don’t have a single friend or family member there is a community out there waiting for you to get involved in it. So, don’t be afraid to reach out and try something new. Who knows, it could be your new holiday tradition too!
For more information on the Trans* Lounge please visit their website at https://translounge.org/.
If you would like to hear a beautiful uplifting song by the Maggie Szabo and the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles please click here https://youtu.be/5UfSeCCpIA4