San Francisco could soon be home to the world’s first transgender cultural district, according to Vice.
Following tension between activists and housing developers in the Tenderloin district, Jane Kim—a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors— announced that she will soon announce legislation to establish the district.
The project is being supported by a charity that helps provide housing for the LGBT+ community, people affected by HIV, a trans prisoner support group and a sex-workers clinic. Together, they’ve called themselves the Compton Coalition, a nod to a transgender riot that happened in San Francisco in 1966, pre-dating Stonewall.
The Californian city’s Tenderloin has historically been an area where gay and trans people could congregate before gay sex and drag shows were legal. The new district would be a safe place where the transgender community would be able to access vital services, including healthcare.
Aria Sa'id is the director of the St James Infirmary sex workers clinic and moved to the area in her early 20s.
It's significant that this area of the city can boast the longest standing residential presence of trans people—before the 1950s and after," says Sa’id.
The Compton Coalition announcement marked the end of a fight between advocates and real estate developers —who want to construct a hotel and condominium complex in the area.
But the project still faces significant difficulties as many trans people are unable to afford the rent in the increasingly gentrified neighbourhood.
The Coalition’s ultimate goal is to purchase additional buildings in the Tenderloin that could be used for low-income housing for trans women recently released from prison.
Following what has been a distressing fortnight in the US, compiled with the continued threat of LGBT+ rights being eroded further, Janetta Johnson, executive director of the TGI Justice Project says, “There has never been a better time to resist and to fight the mess that's coming out of Washington, DC, right now."
"We want reparations, restorative justice, and restorative healing for all the years of violence that trans women of colour have faced, and we need a safe place to do it," says Johnson.