An interview with the Transgender District
A few weeks ago, I spent an hour with the women of the Transgender District. I must confess that I’ve been a longtime fan of their work. Founded in 2017 by three black trans women, “the district” – as it’s affectionally known – is the world’s first legally recognized transgender district.
In 2019, I was lucky enough to meet the current director, Aria Sa’id, at a benefit for another trans-serving organization. We sat on the steps after the event ended, talking about our big plans for when we’d get where we were going. It has been a true gift to see both of us lead, and I have her to thank for setting an incredible example for what it means to be a keeper of culture.
This month, to commemorate LGBTQ+ history month, I asked Aria if we might interview the Transgender District’s Director of Social Justice & Empowerment Initiatives, Jupiter Peraza, and the Director of Culture Affairs, Juniper Yun.
Through Jupiter’s work, in August 2021, the City of San Francisco became the first to recognize Transgender History Month. Working with Aria and San Francisco’s Office of Transgender Initiatives, Jupiter stood side-by-side with Mayor London Breed when the proclamation was passed this August.
Juniper, a poet and storyteller in her own right, leads the District’s Cultural Affairs and will direct the vision for the District’s next round of the Visual Storytelling Project. We chatted about storytelling, trans futures, and the sometimes forgotten histories of Latinx1 & Asian-American trans women.
I can’t help but come away from our conversation with excitement for queer women’s futures, and trans futures, specifically. The ability to envision both the past and a new future seems to be the unique domain of those who live in liminal space, and these two schooled me on the possibilities that are yet to come. To quote Juniper, “We are creating our history as we speak.”
Listen to our extended interview above, and check out the District at @thetransgenderdistrict or www.transgenderdistrictsf.com.
1 Correction: In the interview, transgender activist Bamby Salcedo is misreferred to as Bamby Salceda.