Nearly two decades ago, many transgender and queer folk in the local LGBTQ+ community had nowhere to turn for the holidays. And then the Unique Woman’s Coalition (UWC) stepped in to fill the gap in community connection.
Almost 20 years later, the UWC is welcoming the 18th anniversary of Transgiving Celebration on Wednesday, November 21 at the L.A. Celebrations Banquet Hall in Los Angeles.
The Pride L.A. spoke with UWC Founder/President Chela Demuir-Cartier as well as frequent attendee and volunteer LaDonnte Covington.
Chela Demuir-Cartier, UWC Founder and President
The Pride L.A.: What was going on when when you guys started Transgiving?
Chela: When we started TransGiving, there was nothing like it all happening. No community entity had a dinner for our community. In fact most organizations who outreached to our community regularly were closed during the holidays. TransGiving was created as an action response to a need.
What is the need for Transgiving celebrations? Especially with the current climate?
The need for this events hits on different layers, often our community may be estranged from our families and may not have much of a social network, we aim to create that environment. Community is embraced with positive and uplifting energy
What can guests expect at this year’s celebration?
Guest will be treated like Royals, they will be served a full course Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings, be able to sit down and enjoy one another.
What kind of folk attend the event? Families, friends, single individuals, etc.
We’re usually a mixture of community members, loved one’s and allies. This year we being intentional for our dinner portion and having it exclusive to people who identify as Transgender and Gender Non Conforming. We will have a party portion that will follow the dinner and that space will be open to everyone. We definitely have had families including young kids join us, the space is great for all ages.
Is the purpose all fun, vs. educational, fundraising, etc?
It’s purpose is to build and amplify community, create unity and camaraderie
What is the impact/importance of “friendsgiving” or celebrating with those that are not biologically related to you in the LGBTQ+ community?
We’re a community that historically doesn’t get much support, rather it be from our born family or the world around us. Most of the time when we find some support it’s through community and from people who may have many of the same reoccurring themes within their individual journeys and they become instrumental in helping us deal with elements of our lives, these people become our chosen families.
LaDonnte Covington, Attendee and volunteer
The Pride L.A.: How many years have you attended Transgiving?
LaDonnte: About 16 year’s or from the beginning
What is something you’ve noticed consistently about the event over the years?It’s always bigger and better than before.
What is something that is always different?
The wonderful people that attend.
What is your favorite part of the celebration?
Seeing us all together enjoying ourselves as one family.
What is one thing you’d tell a sad/scared/lonely trans person during the holiday season?
I would welcome them to please join our family of love.