SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (BCN) - By Bay City News Service
Trans individuals and allies hoisted a pink, white and blue flag into the air Tuesday morning for Santa Clara County's 10th annual South Bay Trans Day of Visibility.
The celebration brought together advocates who have been fighting for trans rights for decades and those who have recently joined a movement to ensure resources and representation in county healthcare, social programs and more.
"We still have a long way to go," said celebration representative Lance Moore, describing daily challenges across the country for trans people, especially women of color. "We're not gonna be held back, we're not gonna be erased, we're still gonna be moving forward."
Alexia Diaz, a trans woman who spoke during the event, described her journey from Oaxaca, Mexico to California in 1999 with a dream of being recognized as a woman.
She was able to obtain citizenship and may soon receive official documentation under her preferred name. She thanked the county for its support, and pushed for continued progress.
"Most importantly, [we should] respect ourselves as a community, so the world around us can respect, accept us, and embrace us just as we are," she said in Spanish, translated by county LGBTQ Affairs director Maribel Martinez.
The trans flag has flown above the Santa Clara County government center since 2016, when the county became the first in the country to fly it. Moore, Diaz, Martinez, Supervisor Susan Ellenberg and a mother of a trans daughter raised the flag together after Tuesday's ceremony.
The event closed with county officials urging local restaurants and public establishments to begin posting "gender neutral" signage outside of single-user bathrooms to comply with state law. The county is providing the signs for free while supplies last.
Trans Day of Visibility celebrations will continue Saturday with art displays, games, HIV testing and trans resources at San Jose City Hall from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Daytime events will be followed by a gathering for adults 21 and older at Renegades bar from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.