Members of the transgender and nonbinary community and its allies gathered on a sunny Sunday afternoon for fellowship and an exchange of information at the City of West Hollywood’s first ever Transgender Day of Visibility event at Plummer Park from 11am-2pm. The gathering celebrated individuals living their true authentic selves as flourishing and visible trans members of society.
The Transgender Day of Visibility event offered a free meal ticket from a food truck, informational booths, music, art, and free giveaways via numerous raffle prizes from local sponsors.
“I’m here on Transgender Day of Visibility, being visible, being available and actively moving through joy–the joy of living as a trans individual here and abroad,” Jazzmun Nichcala Crayton told WeHo Times. “I’m so proud of the city of West Hollywood. This city is in a wonderful place for people to evolve and grow, and to learn and teach others about themselves. It’s a perfect marriage for the community, because our only goal and purpose in life really is to be perfect givers and receivers of love. And West Hollywood today is showing lots of love to the transgender community.”
“This is a great thing for our community,” said Karina Samala, one of the founders of the Transgender advisory board in the City of West Hollywood who is currently the Board Chair at the Transgender Advisory Board in the City of Los Angeles, which she also formed. “The city mostly holds Transgender Day of Remembrance, which commemorates all the transgender people that were killed. This event is for the living. It’s for us who are living the life that we choose. It’s a celebration of life.
“I came out because I’m trans and I’d like to meet other people at this event who are also trans in the area,” said Noah Drake. “I think this event is beautiful and it should be celebrated in other major cities in California. So far it’s been fun gathering here, celebrating and meeting other people.”
Booths handing out information, free condoms, t-shirts and other outreach information included Lambda Legal, APLA, St. Johns Transgender Health Program, and Bienestar to name a few.
“Today we’re doing outreach,” said Liza Ceballos who was there representing the TransLatina Coalition. “We’re bringing services to the community. There is no other organization like ours. We do policy and direct services. We do re-entry services for girls that just come out of jail or prison, and we work with immigration detentions. We also do victim surviving services and we have a multi-purpose drop-in center where we serve daily lunches from Monday through Friday from 12:30p.m. to 2p.m.. This event is important for us to come and connect. We’re here to help people have a better quality of life and help them learn about the different services that can help their needs.”
Council member John Duran, Lauren Meister and Mayor John D’Amico showed up at the event to greet attendees and take pictures.
“I think it’s a great and it’s just the beginning. There are more events like this to come,” Meister said of the event. “It’s very important that we have visibility. This is as visible as you can get in one of our public parks. I think everyone coming out and seeing what our different services are, is terrific. I just got back from a fundraiser for the AIDS memorial at West Hollywood Park and one of the things that we we were talking about is how it is important for us to remember and it’s important for the history to be there as we move forward, because we don’t know what will happen with today’s political climate.”
“I’m guessing this will be one of many terrific events that we will have year after year,” WeHo Mayor John D’Amico said in a speech. “Our Transgender Day of Remembrance is an incredibly important event and so is this. Real and regular people come to the park and enjoy in our park. You’re part of our community. We’re part of your community and I want to thank you for showing up and showing us how to be our best in the city of West Hollywood.”
International Transgender Day of Visibility is recognized every year on March 31 in locations around the globe. It is a day to celebrate transgender people throughout the world and honor the courage with which it takes to live openly and authentically, while also raising awareness around the discrimination that trans people still face.
“Events like this are really important,” Said Alexis Sanchez, the board chair at WeHo’s Transgender advisory board. “Those of us who are here have the privilege of living our authentic selves. A lot of transgender and nonbinary people do not have that same privilege. It’s important for us to show up and celebrate who we are and work together to move the needle on trans rights for the people who can’t be here today.”
In 2019, International Transgender Day of Visibility takes on specific importance as the LGBT community fights against the Trump Administration’s egregious military ban on trans troops. In March, the Department of Defense outlined its 30-day plan for implementation of new policies that require members of the military to serve as the gender they were assigned at birth, effectively undoing the Obama Administration’s policy from 2016.
As part of its support of the transgender community, the City of West Hollywood has a Transgender Resource Guide available on the City’s website, which provides information about a variety of resources including legal, health, and social services, available in the Greater Los Angeles area to enhance and improve the well-being of transgender people. There is also specific information for transgender service members and veterans with legal questions.
For more information about Transgender Day of Visibility, please contact Bonnie Smith at [email protected] or (323) 848-6371.
Photos by Paulo Murillo