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Looking Back at The First Annual Long Beach Trans Pride

Many organizations host their pride celebrations in June — LGBTQ Pride Month. But the folks at Long Beach Trans Pride and we here at Daylight believe pride is something that never ends, so why should we only celebrate it once a year? 

Let’s take a look at the first-ever Long Beach Trans Pride and how the event was received in the community. 

What is Long Beach Trans Pride?

Held on Sept. 18, 2021, the first ever Long Beach Trans Pride aimed to create “unity in the community.”

After holding the “Angels on Earth” awards dinner for members of the trans and nonbinary community, Alexa Castanon and Angel Macias were inspired to create Long Beach Trans Pride to empower and highlight the local transgender and nonbinary community. 

Angel fully funded and supported the original awards dinner with her own money. She was so inspired by the recipients’ stories that she wanted to do more to advocate for the community. After that, Angel, Alexa and some of the other trans members of California Families in Focus launched the Long Beach Trans Pride festival.

Why trans pride?

So many LGBTQ spaces focus on those of diverse sexual orientations at the expense of those with varied gender orientations. This is done despite transgender folks paving the way for the rest of the community and getting no recognition for their efforts. 

Events that do focus on the transgender community often hone in on transgender violence and remembering those who have been abused or killed. Long Beach Trans Pride aimed to celebrate and advocate for transgender folks who are still with us and create a space that goes beyond mourning those we’ve lost. 

The festival aimed to create a dedicated trans inclusive space in the fall to provide a gathering point for at-risk members of the community to gather throughout the year, instead of only having those resources provided during the summer. 

We wanted to join the efforts of those organizing Long Beach Trans Pride and supported the festival by providing a table with resources and financial education for the queer community. 

Showing up for the Long Beach trans community

Many transgender folks rely on local LGBTQ centers and pride events for their services and to find community. Instead of expecting them to come to us, our team at Daylight went out to meet them at the festival.

The focus of the event was highlighting those showing up and doing the work in the community, as well as supporting transgender artists and other creators.

The organizers of the festival wanted to get away from focusing on gay men in transgender spaces and show up for our transgender and nonbinary siblings, who often get left out of the equation. Creating this type of space helps these groups feel less alone, and shows them what resources are available.

Several Long Beach Trans organizers have been showing up for the community again and again without getting anything in return. Because many of the team at Daylight are transgender, we felt it was important to support fellow transgender advocates in the Long Beach community. 

Other organizations tabling at the festival created a physical presence to provide other types of resources for the community. Some groups in attendance included Nolan Ross and Company, Reach LA, OC LGBTQ Center, TransLatin@, Colors LGBTQ+ Youth Counseling Center, Stars Behavioral Health Group, Los Angeles LGBT Center, BAI, Gender Justice LA, Long Beach Forward and the AMAAD Institute. 

The day of the festival

The festival was held in the over 200 acres of Recreation Park. 

Headlining the entertainment was Ryan Cassata and the R Band. The festival also featured transgender spoken word artists, resource vendors and other activities.

The proceeds from the festival help support the labor of transgender folks who were showing up for their community before they were getting paid to do so. 

Our table featured a fun spin the wheel game. In order to spin, people were asked to answer financial ed questions with the chance to win prizes, including gift cards, stickers, flags and temporary tattoos.  

In case you missed the event, here’s a sample question: Which group has the hardest time accessing financial services? 

(The answer is trans men, if you’re curious.)

That way those who were spinning could learn about financial services available to the LGBTQ+ community and learn more about Daylight in a peer to peer way. 

Showing up where the community congregates allowed us to hear concerns we wouldn’t have heard before. Those at the festival shared their fears about being singled out, which are very valid fears. Those fears come from a lot of financial discrimination and lack of access to loans and other funding. 

It was a great day, and we look forward to supporting Long Beach Trans Pride for years to come!

Mel Van De Graaff (they/them) is a health and wellness writer focused on helping health practices build their online presence. They’ve been creating health and wellness content for the last four years.

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