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San Francisco transgender community commemorates Compton's Cafeteria riot with 'Riot Party'

Trans pride in the spotlight at 2nd annual Riot Party in S.F.
Trans pride in the spotlight at 2nd annual Riot Party in S.F. 02:18

SAN FRANCISCO -- The transgender community commemorated a historic event that took place more than 50 years ago in the Tenderloin on Sunday. It would prove to be a milestone in the LGBTQ rights movement. 

Dapper Dan Midas was just one of more than a dozen performers from across the country at the Riot Party - a fundraiser for the transgender district. 

"We wanted to create a space to celebrate transgender and queer artists in the music industry," said Co-founder and president of The Transgender District Aria Sa'id.  "Often times, trans artists are not prioritized and yet a lot of the cultural contributions that we make end up in pop culture with popular artists that we all know and love who sort of borrow from our work. And why not create an event that centers their artwork and their music."

The Riot Party also commemorated the Compton's Cafeteria riot of 1966, the first large-scale uprising of trans and queer people in the US, according to Sa'id. 

"Police would often raid bars, restaurants and clubs that queer and trans people would frequent, and in this case, the owner of the Compton's Cafeteria called the police on many trans and gender non-conforming patrons and the trans folks and queer folks fought back," Sa'id said. 

Many attendees heard artists like R&B singer ASTU for the first time. 

Sara Abrams of Palo Alto is a trans woman.

"It's awesome to see that many non-gender conforming artists out there it's just like, I mean I don't know about all these different artists and things, so it's something I'm learning and hopefully other people are learning about them too and everything. Trans people are everywhere, they do everything that cis people do," said Abrams. 

Proceeds from the event go toward the Transgender District's mission to economically empower the transgender community through ownership of homes, businesses, and safe community spaces.

Kyra Gaines is visiting from Tacoma, Washington.

"It feels so good especially coming from an environment, where I don't get to see a lot of people like me, I just feel at home and just so safe and protected and celebrated and it's just really meaningful and valuable to have a space like this," said Gaines.  

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