Photo: Flickr/Gildardo Sanchez
Plans are underway to create the nation’s first transgender cultural district in San Francisco. The legislation was proposed by Supervisor Kim and Group i, the developer of the soon-to-exist 950 Market space. If it passes, the area will be known as Compton’s Transgender, Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (TLGB) district, located in the Tenderloin.
Considering the current political climate, it’s increasingly important to create safe spaces for minority groups. Supervisor Kim, who represents The TL, explains in a press release, “In the last few weeks our federal government has made it clear that minority communities have never been more at risk in America.”
The district’s name commemorates the Compton’s Cafeteria riot, which saw one of the first recorded transgender riots in United States history. Due to transphobia, even in the gay community, transgenders were unable to socialize in gay bars, and Compton’s Cafeteria became one of the few places where they could congregate. Eventually, the restaurant’s management began calling the police, which sparked a number of arrests. The riot began when a policeman attempted an arrest inside Compton’s Cafeteria, and instead got a cup’s worth of coffee flung at his face. Dishes and furniture were thrown, and a police car had all of its windows broken. The press did not cover the riot at the time.
The mission of the cultural district is as follows:
“To create a safe, welcoming and empowering neighborhood lead by trans people for trans people, and to create a place of healing, opportunity, and reparations in a neighborhood that historically has been a place of both violence and resistance. That means making sure that transwomen who currently live in the district are able to stay by creating pathways to affordable rent and homeownership. It also means that the City of San Francisco will need to ensure that neighborhood services, business, community groups, and public policy are transgender focused and culturally appropriate for the transgender community.”
“To stabilize and economically empower the transgender community through ownership of buildings, business, homes, historic sites, and community space.”
“To preserve the places where transgender history took place for future generations. That means making sure that historic buildings like Compton’s Cafeteria and the El Rosa Hotel are preserved and accessible. Its also means protecting Legacy Business and historic non-profits like Aunt Charlie’s and The St. James Infirmary and TGIJP from displacement.”