California Becomes First State to Declare ‘Transgender History Month’

Vote this week will dedicate the month of August to that purpose.

California State Capitol
California State Capitol (photo: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock)

California became the first state to declare a “Transgender History Month,” after the state Assembly voted this week to dedicate the month of August to that purpose.

The recognition of Transgender History Month is meant to “create a culture led by research, education, and scholarly recognition of the contributions of transgender Californians,” according to the text of the resolution, which was sponsored by Assemblyman Matt Haney, D-San Francisco.

According to the resolution, transgenderism existed in California since before European colonization. The resolution refers to the state as the historical “epicenter of the trans liberation movement” and says that transgender history is being erased through “recent culture wars” in which they “are being dehumanized and politicized.”

The month of August was chosen to commemorate Compton’s Cafeteria Riots of 1966, according to the resolution. The 1966 events culminated in a violent transgender-led riot against cafeteria workers and the police, based on alleged harassment and mistreatment. The city outlawed cross-dressing until 1974, but the Tenderloin District, where the riot took place, was later legally designated as the world’s first transgender cultural district.

“As long as there has been a California, there have been transgender people here contributing to their communities, making history in expanding civil rights, and helping to build a California that is more inclusive and prosperous for everyone,” Haney said during a press conference.

“That is the history today that we are very proud to celebrate and that California will celebrate and uplift from this year and every year as we declare the first state to have an official transgender history month here in our state,” he added.

Honey Mahogany, who chairs the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, said during the news conference that the recognition is meant to “tell the truth and educate people about who we are and what we need.”

“All across this country, we have been seeing attacks on the trans community, but it’s not just in other states,” Mahogany said. “Even here in California where we have a sanctuary state, where we have, overwhelmingly, Democrats representing us in the capitol, we are still seeing acts of violence, still seeing attempts at legislating against our community.”

Many of the legislative battles related to transgender issues have focused on parental rights, religious freedom and the protection of minors. Just this week, a California judge temporarily blocked the Chino Valley Unified School District from enforcing a policy that required staff members to keep parents informed about whether their children are identifying as transgender.

California lawmakers are also considering new laws to restrict parental rights concerning transgender issues.

One bill would change custody laws to force courts to consider a parent’s recognition of a child’s gender identity or expression when determining the health, welfare and safety of the child. The two chambers passed different versions of this bill and have not yet agreed on the final language.

Another proposal would allow minors aged 12 or older to receive transgender medical services if a mental health professional determines that parental involvement is inappropriate. This bill would also allow the mental health professional to place the minor in a residential shelter service if he or she is “mature enough to participate intelligently in the outpatient services or residential shelter services.”

More than 20 states have recently passed laws to prohibit doctors from performing transgender surgeries on minors. Many of those states have also prohibited doctors from administering drugs to facilitate a gender transition in minors.