At the heart of still in-development Transgender District in the Tenderloin, and right at the intersection where Compton's Cafeteria once stood, activists and volunteers painted a mural on Sunday using the colors of the transgender flag.
The mural, like the block-letter Black Lives Matter murals that have appeared in cities around the country including in San Francisco and Oakland, says "Black Trans Lives Matter" — which has become a rallying cry for LGBTQ people trying to call attention to the all-too-frequent violent deaths of trans people. It was painted by several dozen volunteers in the center of the intersection of Turk and Taylor Streets, a few steps away from the only gay bar left in the Tenderloin, Aunt Charlie's.
The mural design was led by local artists Xara Thustra, Sen Mendez, and Kin Folkz.
The intersection is where the Compton's Cafeteria Riot happened in August 1966, in which a group of mostly trans women and hustlers who frequented this location of the Gene Compton's Cafeteria chain rose up against police harassment — something that would be echoed in a demonstration against police brutality the following year at the Black Cat Tavern in LA's Silver Lake neighborhood, and most famously at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in 1969.
"Thank you to all of our community partners and community leaders for making this vision come to life to commemorate the sanctity of black trans lives, the rich history we hold as we approach the 54th anniversary of the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots and our ability to find joy in the movement, the protest as we band together in community," writes the Transgender District on their Facebook page.
Formerly known as the Compton's Transgender Cultural District, or the Compton's TLGB District, it's the first historic neighborhood district designation of its kind in the U.S., recognizing the history of the trans civil rights movement. The Transgender District was founded by three black trans women, including Honey Mahogany, the drag performer and member of the Stud Collective who works as a legislative aide for Supervisor Matt Haney.
On Friday, August 28, she'll also be co-hosting a virtual anniversary celebration from 5 to 8 p.m., and you can find more info here.
"The mission of the Transgender District is to create an urban environment that fosters the rich history, culture, legacy, and empowerment of transgender people and its deep roots in the southeastern Tenderloin neighborhood," the district's website reads. "The Transgender District aims to stabilize and economically empower the transgender community through ownership of homes, businesses, historic and cultural sites, and safe community spaces."