More than 1,000 people, some draped in rainbow LGBT flags and others in pale blue and pink transgender pride flags, crowded near Dolores Park on Friday evening for the annual Trans March, kicking off the weekend events for San Francisco Pride.
Members of El/La Para TransLatinas, a nonprofit organization in the Mission that provides services and shelter to transgender Latinas, carried a black fake coffin with photos of trans women affixed on its sides.
Essie Garcia, 25, cradled a burning copal, an aromatic resin used in some ceremonies, just steps behind the coffin.
Garcia and a group of more than a dozen women dressed in black and clutching white roses surrounded the coffin, with some shrouding their faces with black veils.
“The coffin represents all the trans women that are unjustly deceased because they have some of the highest rate of murder and oppression, especially trans women of color,” Garcia said. “We are in mourning for all the folks who can’t be here today, including the people who are detained at the border who can’t show their pride today.”
Participants chanted demands for justice and protection of transgender people, who are disproportionately victims of violence and discrimination, as they marched down Dolores Street toward Market Street.
Women at the head of the march called out, “Ni una mas” — not one more.
“Trans folks can’t just support each other all the time. We need allies out here supporting them, too,” Garcia said.
Friends and partners held hands, their fingers interlacing while walking down Market Street. Members of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band played music for marchers when they rounded Market Street at Elgin Park.
The staccato drumming sound bounced off the brick street corner, inviting hundreds of marchers to stop walking and instead start dancing, demanding “otra” — another song.
A passenger riding a streetcar traveling in front of marchers blew bubbles, showering down on marchers and police following on patrol motorcycles.
Hundreds of signs bobbed above the heads of participants, some calling for support of trans children and others stating “Black Trans Lives Matter.”
Some participants held signs calling for police to stay away from Pride celebrations. Still, dozens of San Francisco police officers walked alongside marchers and lined the median on Dolores Street.
Jessica Mayorgia, 30, said the march holds a deeper meaning for transgender individuals living in the city, saying that transgender people are often in the shadow of what San Francisco Pride has evolved into in recent years.
“We don’t get a lot of days that are just for ‘T,’ you know?” Mayorgia said. “It’s rare that you can get enough trans people in one place because we’re all scared and anxious, and some of us don’t leave our houses a lot.”
Mayorgia gestured to her wife and other women marching alongside her down Market Street.
“This is important for us because this is closer to the roots and history of Pride,” Mayorgia said. “We’re here to yell, ‘We’re trans, here we are.’ Because there are a lot of us, and you have to value what we have to say.”