San Diego’s 4th Annual Trans Pride event re-affirmed the local transgender community’s self-confidence and advocacy. Sean Redmond of Stonewall Citizen’s Patrol, who provided security for the event estimated attendence at over 550 people.

Organizing committee Chair Veronica Zerrer of Neutral Corner attributes a big part of the event’s success to its being “family-affirming”. It honors those families who give love and support to their transgender children, while at the same time challenging those families whose support for their child is tepid or non-existent. Trans Pride drew in not only transgender people, but children and their parents, many other local youth, their families and friends as well.

Andrea Jenkins, a transgender woman from Minneapolis was on hand to lead a poetry workshop and recite some of her work. She interrupted her campaign for City Commissioner in Minneapolis to return to San Diego. She first appeared in January at the LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest. She shared some of her provocative and heartfelt poems and verses onstage. She spoke of trans community pride, connecting with friends, telling one’s story with a whole heart, standing strong for independent expression and the right for people to be who they are, and making life better for the future.

San Diego’s Spanish language group Transgenero 2000 was on hand, their booth prominently displaying the Mexican flag. Transgenero representative Sandra Ramirez said “The flag is just to show where we come from. It unites our being trans and our being Mexican”. Veronica Zerrer added “The Mexican flag is a sign of respect to the Latina Trans community. While we’re dealing with the abuse and murder of Trans women of color in the United States, Mexico’s problem is far worse”.

One workshop was dedicated to writing letters of support to transgender prison inmates. Incarcerated trans women and men are the most invisible members of a hard-to-see community. They face difficult conditions that many can’t imagine. The organization is doing significant work to bring their issues to public attention.

At the end of the event, an estimated 200 people participated in a peaceful march from Balboa Park to the LGBT flag in Hillcrest, the site of the Spirit of Stonewall rally. The march was led by the Flags of the United States and Mexico with the Transgender flag in the center. “There are no borders when it comes to Trans unity,” Veronica Zerrer said. Marchers carried signs that read ‘Proud Parent of a Trans child, and ‘Ban Transphobia,’ among others. Rainbow flags were flown, trans-supportive t-shirts were worn, and chanting echoed up sixth street. Upon entering the Spirit of Stonewall rally the marchers were greeted with a thunderous cheer followed by sustained applause. The San Diego Police Department provided march escort, and a security presence at key intersections. Once again Officer Christine Garcia assisted in march planning and execution.

Many local organizations and professionals were on hand to provide encouragement and resources. San Diego’s trans community was represented by The Neutral Corner Inc, Transfamily Support Services, Transforming Families, Trans Narratives archival and oral history recorder, Transgender Americans Veterans Association and the T-Spot resource clearinghouse.

Social Service and Advocacy organizations included PFLAG, the Foster Youth Mentor Program, Child Welfare Services, the Metropolitan Community Church, the Human Rights Campaign and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. The psych and healthcare community was represented by Darlene Tando LCSW, Jennifer Rickard LMFT, Family Health Centers, and Christie’s Place HiV/Aids education and support. Other groups in attendance included Auntie Claire’s electrolysis and Jaxbug studios. And rounding it all out, Trans Pride’s special guests from both ends of the county: North County’s Gender Advocacy Project, and South Bay Pride.

Seven year-old Vanessa Barilla, served as a co-host of ceremonies at the stage. Her mother Trish said of her, “My daughter is unapologetically authentic”. She adds “Being the mother of a trans little girl inspires me to be a better mother every day…She’s my reason for being”.

Please see more pictures and videos of the event.

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