From humble beginnings as a social group that met in the homes and backyards of founders such as the venerable Joanie Sheldon, TransGender San Francisco (TGSF), formerly known as the Educational TV Channel (ETVC), has grown into one of the most respected transgender organizations in the country. In 1982, the organization then known as ETVC was formed by a small group of friends to end the isolation that most transgender people were experiencing in those days. They resolved to put forth major gatherings in public venues, a move unheard of in that time of isolationism, hiding and secrecy for safety’s sake.
Success was immediate as the recognition of civil rights and liberties for the LGBT population was gathering momentum. ETVC began a period of rapid growth so that by 1989, ETVC became incorporated with adopted official by-laws and boasted a membership of more that 400 members. Meeting in such legendary locations as the Chez Mollet, Kimo’s and Eichelbergers, ETVC found a voice to represent the transgender community proudly. In early 1994, our organization realized a significant milestone as we earned our 501(c)3 non-profit status to become one of the largest and one of only a very select few non-profit organizations geared toward the transgender community in the world. As such, we were a significant proponent of the transgender civil rights ordinance enacted in late 1994 by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
As society became more educated about the transgender community and as our organization became more all encompassing in terms of our membership, ETVC decided to adopt a name that more globally asserted our identity as a premier organization welcoming to all – TransGender San Francisco (TGSF). This move in 1998 signified a recommitment for our organization to boldly embrace our missions of community outreach, community education and social support for our entire membership while fostering solidarity with the communities around us.
TGSF’s membership reflects the diversity of all reaches of society, the Bay Area, and the nation at large. TGSF continues to honor the principles that originally set ETVC in motion. From welcoming and educating people just recognizing a transgender nature, to nationwide support on their InfoLine, to a monthly newsletter, to being one of the designated organizations along with San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission to educate the entire San Francisco Police Department regarding transgender cultural competency, TGSF is a substantial institution in our San Francisco Bay Area community.
TGSF has been and will always welcome anyone from any part of the gender spectrum and those who love and support them, and will continuously work towards transcending the attitudes of society from mere tolerance to full acceptance.
The long-term success of TGSF is due to the support of their membership, sponsors, and affiliated organizations a few of whom are advertised in this program. As an all-volunteer organization, TGSF owes much of its achievements to all of those who take the time to honor the precepts that started this organization a quarter of a century ago.