Transgender Awareness Week

Gwendolyn Smith

A trans activist, writer and web manager. Gwendolyn founded Transgender Day of Remembrance in 1999 following the brutal murder of Rita Hester, a Black Trans Woman. It evolved from a web-based project initially into what is now recognised as an international day of action. Each year candlelit vigils are held and the names of those trans lives slain in that year are read out.

Prior to founding Transgender Day of Remembrance, she was noted for running one of the first community forums on AOL for Transgender people during the 1990’s.

Marsha P Johnson

Marsha P Johnson was a trans a woman, an activist, a drag artist and a sex worker. She played a prominent role in the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and went on to co-found STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), an organisation that that supported gay and trans individuals who had been left homeless. In 1992, she was reported as missing for 6 days before police later found her body. Her death was recorded as a suicide, but many of her friends would argue otherwise due to the commonality of violent attacks on gay and trans people.

Theresa Sparks

Sparks was one of the coordinators of the nation’s first Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Her activism saw her gain appointment to the Police commission in 2004, followed by being elected as President of the San Francisco Police Commission in 2007.

“Our community is organized, its strong, its paying attention and it needs to ensure a place at the political table, now and for future generations of transgender leaders”


Cooper’s Donut Riot 1959

Coopers was a well know hang out spot for trans and gender diverse people to meet, which made it somewhat of a target for regular police raids. Patrons would be subject to abusive and intrusive gender checks by police to confirm a person’s sex and arrested if they weren’t wearing at least 3 items of clothing that pertained to their legal gender.

The riot itself began after 2 police officers attempted to arrest a handful of patrons. One patron protested at a lack of space in the police car. Onlookers began throwing food, drink and garbage at the police officers until they left without making any successful arrests. People took to the streets to riot against the routine harassment by the LAPD, but they were met with back up police units that blocked off the entire street for the rest of the night and made several arrests.

Compton’s Cafeteria Riot 1966

Compton’s Cafeteria Riots, San Francisco, 1966. A popular queer gathering spot in the Tenderloin District, it was a constant target for police to harass and violently arrest trans and gender non-conforming individuals. It is said that the event began after a trans woman threw her coffee in an officer’s face after he made an unwarranted attempt to arrest her, sparking the riot.

As the fighting spilled out of the cafeteria and into the streets, Police called in for reinforcements. Plate glass windows were shattered, along with a police cars windows and small newsstand nearby was set on fire. The next evening the LGBT community joined a picket line outside of the cafeteria which wouldn’t allow any trans people back in. The aftermath of the riot sparked a network of trans social, psychological and medical support services which culminated in the creations of the National Transsexual Counselling Unit (NTCU), the first peer-run support and advocacy organisation in the world.

Self-control crumbles in McVitie’s relaunch campaign

McVitie’s has unveiled a campaign proclaiming McVitie’s as "the nation’s favourite biscuit", as part of its masterbrand relaunch.

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