Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP)



Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) has been a grass roots project from beginning to future. It was organized by hundreds of community members who’ve committed their time and energy to the organization over the past 21 years. In a city that is rapidly changing to cater to the one-percent at every level, CAMP is one of the last remaining truly punk venues in San Francisco. The project is in constant dialogue, continuously involved in a struggle of expression that plays out in a vibrant conversation down its length. Some of this dialogue includes protests against domestic violence, war and aggression, or is in support of transgender activism.

In 2012 a mural by artist Tanya Wischerath honoring trans women activists was just unveiled on Clarion Alley. The mural features images of youth activist Mia Tu Mutch, recently deceased community advocate Alexis Rivera, Janetta Louise-Johnson, and Tamara Ching.

 Wischerath inscribed this dedication on the wall beside the mural:

The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot occurred in August 1966 in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. This incident was one of the first recorded transgender riots in United States history, preceding the more famous 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. Although San Francisco continues to lead in the struggle for equal rights for the LGBTQI community, trans women are often left behind and in the fight for visibility. This mural is a dedication to the work of just a few trans activists out of many who have tirelessly committed themselves to paving the way for a more just, accepting, and righteous San Francisco.

“Painting this was humbling in all respects, and the work these women are doing and have been doing for a long time is bigger than one mural,” Wischerath told the Guardian in an email interview. The mural focuses on activists who are close to the Bay Area community for a more immediate feel, and was inspired by the fierce queens in Paris is Burning, a 1990 documentary of ball culture in New York.

I related this project back primarily to Jessi Gan’s piece, Still at the Back of the Bus. Sylvia Rivera, a combatant at the 1969 Stonewall Inn Riots, played a major role in sparking the contemporary lesbian and gay rights movement. Gan writes, “some formulations of queer and transgender politics assert the signal importance of visibility” (Gan 297). The stonewall riots are representative of trans people “opting to break the silence” in a way that challenges gender normativity. It is celebrated as queer and trans people “coming out” in a quest for “freedom.” The narrative of the Stonewall Riots and of Sylvia Rivera’s experiences as a trans person of color encourages questions relating to visibility and how that visibility is influenced by power and privilege. Tanya Wischerath’s mural is similar to the Stonewall riots in the sense that it gives a positive form of visibility to the transgender activists it celebrates. However, Rivera’s experiences show that queer/trans visibility “is not a simple binary; multiple kinds of visibilities, differentially situated in relation to power, intersect and overlap peoples lives” (Gan 297). Rivera’s story also shows that relations to power as well as location, influence queer/trans visibility. Institutions of power project gendered and racialized meanings onto people, which means that not all spaces will be accepting of various forms of identity.

SF Mural Arts Website


Discussion Questions for “Animals Without Genitals” by Mel Y. Chen and “Lessons From a Starfish” by Eva Hayward

1. The term “animacy” emphasizes the associations between humans and non-human animals. In what ways does the concept of “animacy” influence the way transgender individuals move across space?

2. Think about how we defined the terms “transgender” and “queer” at the beginning of the semester. How does Chen embrace collaborative possibilities of thinking about transgender alongside/across queerness?

3. Last class we talked about the effectiveness of incorporating science and the concept of “animacy” into transgender studies. Does the song “i’ll grow back like a starfish” teach us about transexual embodiment? If so, what does it teach us? Consider Hayward’s description of regeneration as shaping and remaking bodily boundaries.


Intersectionality is a concept often used to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, class oppression, sexism etc. are inextricably bound together. It provides a space for marginalized people to share how these institutions have shaped their lives and encourages us to think critically about how very unique their experiences are. It is critical that we account for the ways in which racism, sexism, and classism influence transphobia and even racialize the extreme violence so frequently perpetrated against gender variant persons.

In Sarah Lamble’s article, Retelling Racialized Violence, Remaking White Innocence, she discusses oppressions found even in Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR), a day observed on November 21 each year to commemorate those who have been killed in the last year (Lamble, 30). While TDOR has raised public awareness about the violence experienced by transgender individuals, Lamble critiques their limited scope in analyzing the factors, which cause these violent acts. This limited scope is also reflected in the two sister websites, The Remembering Our Dead project, which records transgender deaths, and the official TDOR website, which provides educational resources and publicizes transgender vigils occurring around the world (Lamble, 30).  Her argument coincides with the concept of intersectionality because it acknowledges that there are additional factors, besides transphobia, which influence incidents of violence against transgender individuals. If we label transphobia as the single cause of this violence, these websites cannot fully contextualize them within their specific time and place, thus “obscuring the ways in which hierarchies of race, class, and sexuality situate and constitute such acts,” Lamble argues (Lamble, 31). If we refrain from looking at violence through an intersectional lens we also limit the possibilities of resisting racialized gender violence in effective ways. In the case of TDOR, people can more effectively denounce these violent acts by looking at who and how they choose to remember. We live in a society that categorizes victims into being “good” or “bad”. The good are usually perceived as pure, and innocent-typically fitting the characteristics of a young, white, middle class female. This has a direct influence on which cases of violence against transgender bodies are shared and protested. This type of victim becomes “less ideal” and their story more frequently shared by media, and politicians. The “bad”, or “ideal”, victim, usually of color, and of lower class, becomes less visible and their victimization tolerable.

Another article which places into perspective the importance of intersectionality when approaching transgender issues is, Trans Necropolitics, by C. Rile Snorton and Jin Haritaworn.  Snorton and Haritaworn not only look at the life experiences of trans people of color but also the relationships that develop after their deaths. The two writers share the story of Tyra Hunter, an African-American pre-operative transgender woman who died after being injured as a passenger in a car accident being refused emergency medical care. Emergency Medical Technicians at the scene of the accident uttered derogatory epithets and withdrew medical care after discovering that she had male genitalia, and Emergency Room staff at DC General Hospital provided inadequate care (Snorton, 69). The remembrance of Tyra Hunter after death has promoted a larger project, which the writers describe as being the reincorporating of transgender bodies of color under a more legible sign; in this case, the representation of Tyra as  “spectacularized gay male body” (Snorton, 69). We talked a little in class about what it means to be “legible” and we defined it as being how we are, if at all, read and seen and understood. The “good” that came out of Tyra’s death is that the intersections of sexism, transphobia, and racism, became the context of an abundance of political activity, her name living on as T.Y.R.A. (Transgender Youth Resources and Advocacy), a Chicago based program which supports transgender youth of color (Snorton, 70). Even in death Tyra’s life is a strong source which reaches out to various LGBTQ institutions, much like TDOR, compelling them to look at the ways in which racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of oppressions are connected and influence the violence perpetrated against transgender people of color.

Overall, it is important that we acknowledge the different levels of oppression experienced by transgender individuals of different backgrounds. If we are to engage in an effective struggle against violence, we must resist reductionist identity politics, and instead pay attention to the specific relations of power that give rise to acts of violence. Transgender bodies of color are marginalized within the margins through sexism, racism, and other means. They have experienced discrimination from multiple ends and these institutions of oppression must be core factors in the fight against transphobia and violence against transgender people.

Jasmarie Murry-Introduction


My name is Jasmarie and I am a Junior majoring in Africana Studies. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s posts throughout the semester and listening to all  future presentations! So far the class has already proven to be incredibly insightful and i’m really enjoying the conversation and participation that is happening. Hope you all have a spectacular weekend!