BY MYLES VINE
On Nov. 8, the LGBT Pride parade was held in Palm Springs. The first ever transgender presence showed a new interest in transgender rights.
A local organization, Transgender Community Coalition (TCC), walked in the parade this year to gather more support from the local LGBT community. TCC is comprised of both transgender people and allies who carried transgender pride flags and signs that gave information on transgender rights. Leading the group was the director of TCC, Thomi Clinton. “It is uncommon for spectators to join our march,” she said, “I was in the back and watched our brothers and sisters join us from the sides.” As the group continued down the parade route, they were met with much applause from the spectators.
Despite having the broadest protections for transgender people in California, there are still many issues facing the transgender community, according to Clinton. “We are down to three transgender people in the valley that need jobs, and we have no more,” she said.
The TCC’s website sites other issues that face the transgender community such as homelessness, suicide, and violence. “Our lack of visibility gives the community an excuse to ignore us,” said Susan Thronson, secretary of the local chapter of Parents of Lesbians and Gays, a non-transgender ally. Thronson’s work in the local chapter has a specific group called T-Families, which she says reaches out to families, “who are seeking credible information about the transgender experience in a supportive setting.”
Thronson was also a part of the parade celebrations this year marching with PFLAG but was surprised by the spectator’s response to TCC. “At that moment I wished I could have been a marcher with both PFLAG and TransCC,” she said also noting the, “tremendously positive response,” among the people watching the parade.
Yossarian Morgan, one of the transgender marchers in the group, said, “I got chills the entire march, especially when they started cheering us on, like my face got this big stupid grin and I couldn’t help myself”. Morgan noted a feeling of acceptance amongst the crowd, one that seems to contrast with the recent statistics of inequality against transgender people. “People were actually accepting of me and that was amazing,” he said.
Both Clinton and Thronson place an importance on non-transgender allies for support and in particular for school and college communities. “Transgender youth are very vulnerable to bullying and isolation,” Thronson said, noting a need for, “people who get to know us beyond our gender identity and gender expression.”
In addition, Clinton invited allies both old and new to join in on TCC’s gathering for Transgender Day of Remembrance, which took place on Nov. 20, at Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs. “Keep an open mind and understand that even though you may not ‘get it’ you can still be there and support this movement,” said Clinton.