San Francisco Might Get the World’s First Transgender District

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Last November, we reported on San Francisco’s plan to pave over LGBTQ historical landmarks while constructing a condo and hotel complex. These landmarks, which reside in an area known as the Tenderloin, became the focus of preservation activists who opposed the construction. Yesterday, City Supervisor Jane Kim proposed a compromise which would allow construction to proceed while preserving the landmarks in a newly created transgender historical district.

Her proposal would create a zone called the Compton’s Transgender, Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (TLGB) District, a multi-block area which would be the world’s first municipally recognized transgender district. “Compton’s” refers to Compton’s Cafeteria, a site within the zone where a 1966 transgender-led uprising against queerphobic police went down.

Here’s a map of where the Compton’s TLGB district would span:

san francisco transgender district 1, map
image via
Jane Kim and Janetta Johnson

The pro-preservation activists—who banded together as the Compton’s District Coalition—praised Kim’s plan, stating that the condo and hotel developers even agreed to donate to a Compton’s District Stabilization Fund “to provide grants to the transgender community” and are “allowing historians to map and document the underground spaces running below their project before the demolition.” These underground tunnels between buildings reportedly allowed LGBTQ people to escape during police raids, although their actual existence remains unsubstantiated by media.

Coalition co-founder Janetta Johnson, who is also Executive Director of the Tenderloin-based Transgender Gender-variant Intersex Justice Project, said:

“Transgender folks were forced by the police to live in just a few blocks of the Tenderloin. If any gender non-conforming person tried to leave the neighborhood they would be arrested, robbed, abused and put in jail. The Compton’s Coalition hopes to create healing spaces in the district by reclaiming sites of violence and giving them back to the community.”

Kim reportedly introduced legislation for the compromise yesterday; it will be voted upon at a later date.