July 25, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Trans Pride LA Celebrates 25 Years with Honors and Insights at Los Angeles LGBT Center

Gottmik, Love Bailey, and Texas Isaiah Celebrate Resilience and Activism in the Community

The Los Angeles LGBT Center celebrated the 25th anniversary of Trans Pride LA (TPLA) with a two-day event that drew over 1,500 attendees. Highlights included the return of the Trans Town Hall at the Renberg Theatre, featuring “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” Season 9 contestant Gottmik, artist and activist Love Bailey, and renowned photographer Texas Isaiah.

Sydney Rogers, a.k.a. Miss Barbie-Q, program manager of the Center’s Transgender Economic Empowerment Project (TEEP), hosted the Trans Town Hall. Love Bailey, known for her successful advocacy against anti-LGBTQ+ policies in Temecula, CA, received the Community Hero Award. Texas Isaiah, acclaimed for his intimate portraits of Black and transgender people, was honored with the Visionary Award.

Gottmik sat down with journalist and podcaster Tre’vell Anderson for the evening’s keynote conversation. Here are some highlights from their discussion:

Gottmik on the top surgery look from RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars: “I think I just did it in a really beautiful and refined way, so it freaks conservatives out because it’s so gorgeous. You can’t deny that. They’re freaking out like, ‘What are you doing to our children?!’ It’s too beautiful! And, baby, it is beautiful, and your children are just fine knowing that they can do whatever they want with their bodies.”

Gottmik on his hopes for the transgender community: “I think trans people are the most magical people in the world. From day one, we fight just to be ourselves—just to start from ground zero. Trans people are forced to grow up really fast and learn life lessons quickly. So we end up being the dopest people in the room. Trans people should be the leaders of everything if you ask me.”

Gottmik’s advice for TGI youth: “There are a bunch of trans kids out there who are looking to us to be strong and to fight this fight—to pave the way for them. I find strength in that, and I hope everyone who listens to me and sees my art feels that same energy of being able to stand up for just being us. It’s really powerful to walk into a room and say, ‘Hey, I’m trans, and I am not going anywhere. Get into it or get lost.’”

Love Bailey on her activism in conservative Temecula: “Nina Simone said it best: Artists’ duties are to reflect the times. If we’re given this privilege and this platform and we don’t advocate for change against the oppressor, what are you doing with your life? What are you doing with your existence?”

“There’s a lot of hatred towards our community. [But] it really is a call to action to find your inner strength, to find your inner goddess. It’s a daily struggle. But we have found our community, our chosen family, and we feel empowered taking up space in a Republican town.”

Texas Isaiah on photographing trans people: “Photography—although historically it has been a tool of violence—I think it is also a space for us to curate self-actualization within our beauty and within how we exist in the everyday. Because we are the first ones to wake up to ourselves, and I’m a firm believer that the most important person to tell oneself that they are beautiful has to be you.”

In addition to the Trans Town Hall, this year’s TPLA celebrations included a welcome mixer, a line-dancing lesson by Stud Country instructors, and the Trans Pride Festival on Saturday. The festival featured over 40 market vendors, a portrait studio by photographer Devyn Galindo, a Trans Pride Talent Showcase, and more.

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