Dolores Park in the sun. Photo by Will Jarrett.

Hundreds of trans, queer, and gender non-conforming folks came together at Dolores Park this morning for an intergenerational brunch, kicking off a day of celebrations that culminates in a march at 6 p.m. this evening.

With pop pumping out across the park, trans people and allies, young and old, met beneath gazebos to share vegan tacos and pancakes.

Despite the buoyant mood, today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade, which will roll back abortion protections for tens of millions across America, was not far from many attendees’ minds during the festivities. Their response was defiant.

“We’re not going to let anyone kick us around,” one person shouted.

Some also expressed worries about how recent developments in local politics might impact trans communities. The Transgender Cultural District, which became the first legally recognized trans district in the world when it was created in 2017, was split between supervisorial districts five and six during San Francisco’s recent redistricting saga.

“I’m very worried, and I’m taking note that there is a political transformation happening in San Francisco,” said Jupiter Peraza, director of social justice initiatives for the cultural district, who campaigned against the new district map. She mentioned the recall of progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin as another example of this change.

Peraza said that she had always regarded the Bay as a sanctuary for queer folks, but that she feels less sure nowadays. “If we are feeling less safe in the Bay,” she said, “imagine what folks feel like in other parts of the country that are much more conservative.”

Still, many at today’s brunch, organized by Openhouse, a group that advocates for LGBTQ+ seniors, and the LYRIC center for LGBTQQ youth, reveled in the openness of San Francisco.

Marissa, 28 (left) and Leo, 18 (right). Photo by Will Jarrett.

“I live in Salt Lake City, Utah,” said Marissa, who is in San Francisco for the first time.“There is a small trans community out there, but religion is a big thing, and that can make it difficult.”

Marissa said that the pandemic helped, initially, with coming out as trans.

“It was nice to be able to focus on myself,” they said, “but now I’m in a place where I want to meet other people.”

Marissa was encouraged to come to the city by Leo, a march veteran. Leo’s parents work in music production software with Marissa, and when Marissa came out as trans on Facebook recently, they were keen to extend an invitation.

“It was hard at the beginning for my parents to come around,” said Leo, who lives in the Bay and came out as trans at 15. “But they are very supportive now. My parents are awesome.”

Emiz in line for tacos. Photo by Will Jarrett.

For Emiz, who has lived in San Francisco since 2016, the march is an opportunity to “show yourself for what you are, not hide yourself. It is something to show you are not alone.”

Emiz is primed for all-day celebrations, and will be marching later this evening.

Organizers anticipated that up to 300 people would come out to enjoy the free food, sunshine, and community this morning. Tonight’s trans march will be the biggest since the start of the pandemic, which forced many events to take place online in recent years.

Bettina (left), Eddy (middle), Lee Anne (right), and George (back). Photo by Will Jarrett.

Lee Anne, 55, “decided to get out” of “extremely conservative” Anchorage, Alaska, about 33 years ago, and has called San Francisco home ever since.

Although the city is more accepting than Anchorage, Lee Anne said, she has still encountered plenty of transphobia and homophobia.

“I ignore it. You have to be strong,” said Lee Anne. “I think to myself, ‘That is your attitude, not mine.’ It has nothing to do with me.”

JoJo serving drinks in Dolores Park. Photo by Will Jarrett.

José “JoJo” Ty, who runs the Fluid trans cafe in the Tenderloin and was giving out free drinks in the park, remained optimistic that the trans cultural district will continue to flourish, regardless of recent political developments.

“It’ll still always be the Tenderloin,” he said. He added that the trans march was the best part of Pride because of its community-led, grassroots organizing, and that the brunch was the best part of the march.

Anjali Rimi, Bay Area president of trans immigrant organization Parivar, said that the march was both a joyful occasion and a reminder that there is a long way to go for trans acceptance. During the march, Parivar is planning to display the flags of countries, like Pakistan and El Salvador, where high numbers of trans people are killed because of their identities.

“It’s about visibility, power, togetherness,” said Rimi. “But it’s also a celebration of our victory.”

This afternoon, the festivities will continue with a resource fair and performances from 3 to 6 p.m. At 6 p.m., the march up Market Street to the Tenderloin will begin.

You can find out more about the resource fair and the march on the Trans March website.

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DATA REPORTER. Will was born in the UK and studied English at Oxford University. After a few years in publishing, he absconded to the USA where he studied data journalism in New York. Will has strong views on healthcare, the environment, and the Oxford comma.

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