Celebrate National Transgender Day of Visibility at 5pm on March 31st at UCSB’S MCC with the Jennifer Leitham Trio and Trans Art Auction, Featuring Photojournalist Richard Ross
This year Santa Barbara celebrates the International Transgender Day of Visibility for the first time. The multi media event will take place at 5pm on March 31st in the Multicultural Center at UCSB. Santa Barbara’s thriving community of transgender children, families, and friends will be celebrated with live jazz by the Jennifer Leitham Trio, a screening of the movie “I Stand Corrected” and an art auction with art by local trans artists and photojournalist Richard Ross. Proceeds go to the Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network’s Trans Youth programming.
Santa Barbara has a long tradition of mourning transgender victims of violence on the Transgender Day of Remembrance each year on November 20th. However, this is the first year that Santa Barbara celebrates the Transgender Day of Visibility. The Transgender Day of Visibility was established in 2014 to celebrate transgender people and advance awareness of their lives and contributions to their communities.
Local attorney Lisa Gillinger says: “We’ve been talking about celebrating the Trans Day of Visibility for years, how important it is to celebrate the depth and breadth of our lived experiences and our valuable contributions to our community, not just our tears and fears. I’m surprised and thrilled that people are getting behind it with enthusiasm. It’s all these wonderful families saying yes, let us celebrate! It’s a small gesture in a lot of ways, but it’s a mindblower for me. Our community has matured. This event is a punctuation of that.”
The March 31st event includes includes the work of photojournalist Richard Ross, whose recent photos of Santa Barbara’s transgender and gender‐fluid youth will be auctioned that evening. Renowned Jazz bassist, vocalist and composer Jennifer Leitham will be leading her band The Jennifer Leitham Trio as well as hosting a screening of the documentary of her career: “I Stand Corrected.” Lisa Gillinger says, “Jennifer is just a treasure and her trio is an amazing group; they just play up a storm. People are going to stop in their tracks.”
The beneficiary of the event, the Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network’s Youth Group, was established one year ago to provide a supportive space for local parents of transgender and gender fluid children. Beginning with three parents, the monthly group now hosts over forty Santa Barbara families. This year the TransYouth group celebrated summer with a beach barbeque and the winter holidays with a party for trans community members from age 3 to age 70.
Local parent Kathy Abad says, “When we found out our child was transgender we were confused. We didn’t know what this meant. When we met with other parents we were still reeling, but we formed a group that is so supportive, educational and most of all hopeful. We now have tools to help with obstacles we have had at school with teachers and other students. This has led to us being a lot more educated and empowered to work with our child’s school on policy implementation which will not only help our child but also future transgender students.” Fund for Santa Barbara Executive Director Marcos Vargas adds, “We applaud the Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network for making our community safer and more just.”
The Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network (SBTAN) educates individuals and organizations on best practices for transgender & gender expansive clients, patients, students, congregants and families; creates and develops spaces, actions, and policies that advance the welfare of transgender and diverse gender nonconforming individuals, their families, and allies in California’s central coast communities. Join us at sbtan.org.