California State Assembly Declares August ‘Transgender History Month’

On a recent Wednesday, the California State Assembly took an unprecedented step by designating August as “Transgender History Month” – the first initiative of its kind in the country.

Starting from 2024, California will stand as the pioneering state to officially commemorate August in honor of the history and achievements of transgender individuals.

The brain behind this legislation, Assemblymember Matt Haney from San Francisco, expressed his pride, stating, “Introducing a bill that establishes the nation’s first statewide Transgender History month is an honor.” Haney went on to emphasize the importance of truth-telling: “Our best defense against misinformation and prejudice in California is to illuminate the truth. We need to bring forth the stories of transgender Californians who have made an indelible impact on our state.”

The resolution, brought forward by Haney, sheds light on various pivotal moments:

  • The initial suppression of gender diversity among indigenous Californian cultures by Spanish and subsequent Anglo settlers deeply influenced the state’s history.
  • The Gold Rush period in California witnessed a significant number of individuals leading transgender lives in the 1800s.
  • San Francisco’s Tenderloin area has been recognized as a hub for the transgender community since the late 19th century.
  • August holds special importance for the trans community, marking the commemoration of Compton’s Cafeteria Riots. These 1966 riots, which unfolded in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, are among the earliest LGBT civil rights movements in the U.S. Furthermore, this district is now celebrated as the world’s inaugural transgender cultural district.
  • By recognizing August as Transgender History Month, the state encourages an environment of research, education, and acknowledgment, highlighting the pivotal roles of transgender Californians throughout history.
  • Echoing the sentiments of the resolution, the Democratic representatives announced, “From this point forward, every August will recognize Transgender History Month in California. While the state has been instrumental in championing the transgender liberation movement, it’s essential to address the current erasure of transgender and gender-nonconforming Americans amidst ongoing societal debates.”

In a statement to CBS News, Jorge Reyes Salinas, the communications head for Equality California, emphasized, “Given the continual challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, particularly the transgender sector, designating August as Transgender History Month serves as a powerful affirmation that California remains resolute in its support.”

It’s worth noting that several Californian cities had previously acknowledged August as Transgender History Month back in 2022.