Monday, July 13, 2015

The Biggest Holiday in San Francisco

I’ve again failed to update this blog in far too long, and here we are at the end of June already! That means that I’ve now been on hormones for more than 16 months! June is also the month with San Francisco’s biggest holiday: Pride! So many things have happened since my last post: I went to Prague and Paris (I have lots of pictures and feelings to share about this!), I was a counselor at the first-ever Autostraddle A-Camp, I turned 25, I recorded a podcast with Bailey Jay, I filed my legal gender change paperwork (my court date is in July!), I had my belly button pierced, and I dyed my hair! I’m really excited to write about all the things but since Pride just happened, I’m going to start with that first. :)

before: light(er) hair!

after: dark hair!
Pride in San Francisco is a three-day event: Trans March on Friday, Dyke March on Saturday, and the main Pride parade on Sunday morning. Trans and Dyke March are both really powerful, intimate gatherings of beautiful queers in Dolores Park (the largest in SF’s Mission Neighborhood), followed by a march down Market Street to City Hall. The Sunday parade, by comparison, is really polished and commercial and caters to a much more mainstream audience. It’s an important part of San Francisco tradition, but it lacks the rawness and sense of community that make Trans and Dyke March so special. I actually didn’t end up going to the main parade this year, but the previous two days of Pride more than made up for it.

Trans March officially began at 3:30pm on Friday, but my girlfriend and I had to work so we didn’t make it to the park until 6. It had been cold and cloudy for most of the day, but the sun began to burn through the fog by the time we arrived. The event was started in 2004 as a response to the murder of a Latina trans woman (dozens of trans* people, nearly all of them women of color, are killed every year). It was a way for the trans* community and its allies to join together in the face of violence, discrimination, and indifference. Eight years later, the strong political edge remains, since trans* people are still fighting for the basic rights that others enjoy.

my gf and i at trans march!
One of the best parts about Trans March is the people watching. My friends and I spent the evening enjoying the many amazing bodies, outfits, and gender presentations on display in Dolores Park. For example, I saw a middle-aged trans woman dancing around in her underwear with the biggest smile on her face- this was probably one of the rare occasions when she could do this and feel safe.  I saw shirtless trans guys proudly showing their scars from top surgery, and another person who appeared to be presenting as male, except for their B-cup breasts protruding from their open jacket. Throughout the night, I recognized a lot of people, either through tumblr, Dimensions (the public health clinic for queer/trans* youth that I go to), or radical queer dance parties like Ships in The Night. My girlfriend, who interned at the Transgender Law Center last fall, also saw many familiar faces.That’s one really cool thing about the trans* community: it’s small enough that it feels like everyone knows each other.
After more than an hour in the park, we lined up to march on City Hall. As we walked, we passed by dozens of people cheering us on, as well as a number of confused-looking tourists looking on from nearby bus stops. Hopefully we helped fulfill their stereotype of San Francisco! A light rain had started to fall by the time we reached the end of the march, so we ducked into a nearby BART station and headed home for the night. I had a great time at Trans March, and it’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since my first one! Here’s short video of the evening:
I woke up earlier than I normally would on a Saturday morning, because it was time for day two of Pride: Dyke March! My girlfriend and I stopped by the farmers’ market near our apartment and loaded up on snacks before BARTing back to Dolores Park for an afternoon of queer ladies, sunshine, and celebration. Despite the day’s cold forecast, I wore my new polka dress because I’ve been kind of in love with it since I bought it earlier this month. And it turned out to be much hotter than predicted so my outfit choice was perfect! The park was packed; it was way more crowded than Friday’s march. My friends and I met up with a group of Autostraddlers and their friends and we all spent the day together. A number of the girls there were also at A-Camp in April so it was great to see them again! As the day went on, nearly everyone became half-naked and covered in glitter. It’s impossible to go to Dyke March and not have this happen! We all had a great time- so much fun, in fact, that we completely missed the start of the actual march! Sad times. By the time we realized what had happened, the majority of the marchers had already left and we decided to grab dinner at a nearby Salvadorian restaurant to drown our disappointment in pitchers of Sangria (which they were out of!). Oh well- I still had a great time :) Here are some of the highlights of the day:

my friend and i at dyke march!

fun times in dolores park

Event though I didn’t make it into the city for the last day of Pride today, I don’t feel like I missed much. I went last year- and I think it’s really cool that parade is such a popular and family-friendly event, but it doesn’t really speak to my experience as a young queer trans girl in 2014. Oakland Pride, which is happening in September, is much more fun in my opinion :)
I have a long day at work tomorrow so I should probably wrap this up, but hopefully many other posts will be on their way soon! I have a lot of things that I’ve been meaning to share on this blog, so if I haven’t posted here in over two weeks, shoot me a tumblr ask and tell me to get writing!  (Also, as a sidenote, I update my tumblr way more frequently.)
In honor of Pride, I’ve chosen music by one of the queerest bands around: The Magnetic Fields. My girlfriend has been a huge fan for years and while it took me a while to warm up to them (maybe I needed to come out of the closet first), I absolutely love these songs:

Amanda Lepore, Thomas Beatie, Marci Bowers

(Source : annikapenelope.tumblr)


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