San Francisco moves toward honoring site of ‘Compton’s Cafeteria’ riot


San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim Tuesday¬†introduced legislation to create the nation’s first transgender, lesbian, gay and bisexual cultural district in an area that was home to a historic protest by transgender women in the 1960s.

The Compton’s TLGB District, which will include parts of the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods, is intended to commemorate the existence of a transgender community in the area dating back to the Gold Rush as well as the 1966 Compton’s Cafeteria riots.

The riots, which were triggered by a clash between transgender women, police and the employees at the café at Turk and Taylor streets, predate the better known Stonewall riots in New York City and are considered the first such uprising in the United States, according to advocates.

The legislation was introduced today as part of a brokered deal that will allow a large development at 950 Market Street to move forward without further challenges.

The project, which will replace vacant commercial buildings and a parking garage with 242 condos and 232 hotel rooms as well as retail and parking space, was appealed by the Compton’s Coalition, a group made up of members of The Q Foundation, St. James Infirmary and the Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project.

The appeal argued that the project should undergo a full environmental impact report to determine its impact on historic resources in the area, including the demolition of a building that housed The Old Crow, one of the city’s first gay bars.

Honey Mahogany, one of the organizers of the Compton’s Coalition, said:

“The block slated for demolition was the site of historic TLGB bars dating back to the 1930s. … We couldn’t just let them be torn down without trying to preserve our history.”

The deal reached with developer Group I includes a payment of $300,000 into a fund to help create the cultural district and support transgender-serving businesses and nonprofits in the district. The developer has also agreed to let historians photograph and document the buildings before demolition.

In return, the appellants withdrew their appeal.

Kim said Tuesday:

“The lower Tenderloin is the most important neighborhood in America for transgender history, culture and civil rights. … By creating the Compton’s TLGB District we are honoring this vibrant community built by transgender people, and are sending a message to the world that trans people are welcome here.”

Kim said she will also convene a task force to examine policies around the preservation of TLGB spaces.

The developer has also agreed to donate land at 180 Jones St. and contribute funds toward a 60-unit affordable housing project on the site, for a total contribution of $18.1 million.

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