The literal s***hole that is San Francisco has yet to clean up its rampant drug and homeless problem, but at least city officials have taken the time to assemble the first legally recognized transgender district in the world.
According to a lengthy article in the Daily Beast, San Francisco's Tenderloin district now serves as home to the Compton's Transgender Cultural District, located near the historic all-night diner Compton's Cafeteria (now transitional housing), where the famous 1966 riot occurred between transgenders and police.
The district manager, former "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestant Honey Mahogany, told the Daily Beast that the district will be a place of welcoming for trans people where they can learn about trans history.
"The Tenderloin has always held a really special place in my heart as a trans person with the way the community is accepting of gender variant and trans people of color," Mahogany said. "There’s friendliness and an energy to the Tenderloin. People say hello and good morning and how are you and check in with each other, which I think often gets lost in a big city."
"Many of our traditions are passed down through queer bars because those are the places where our elders interact with younger generations," Mahogany continued. "Drag is often seen as a way of storytelling and passing on stories of previous generations."
The district will include a community center that will be at the site of a former gay bathhouse. It received $215,000 from the city as part of an initiative passed in November that allocated $3 million from an existing hotel tax toward the city's cultural districts. The Calle 24: Latino Cultural District and the LGBTQ Leather Cultural District in SOMA will also be receiving funds.
Jane Kim, a supervisor whose area includes the Tenderloin, introduced the legislation in June of last year to create the Compton's district. "We don’t often think of nightclubs as safe spaces, but for the LQBTQ community, they’re a place people can be free to love and dance with the people they want," she said. "That’s why we’re working so hard to have an intentional strategy to keep our small businesses here so they can grow and thrive."
Kim emphasized that the district comes at a most important time during the tenure of President Trump. "The first transgender commemorative neighborhood in the nation’s history is well timed given the president’s attack on transgender people," she said. "We will have grants for small businesses and we need to be intentional to make the district an anti-displacement strategy.”
Katie Condry, director for the Tenderloin Museum, says that history has forgotten how pivotal the district has been for the advancement of the LGBT cause. "Saying the LGBT movement in the United States started with Stonewall completely ignores the work activists had been doing for a decade at least," she said. “It’s important to realize the movement started with a lot of trans women, particularly trans women of color, and it gives them back their rightful place in history."