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StoryCorps: A transgender pioneer reflects on her path to activism

Felicia Elizondo. Courtesy of StoryCorps / resized and cropped.


ADVISORY: This story contains mature content.  

In the 1960s, the Tenderloin was a center for the LGBT community in San Francisco. But even there, they faced discrimination and harassment, often from the police. Felicia Elizondo first came to the Tenderloin from San Jose as a teenager in 1963. It was there that she took part in the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in 1966, one of the first transgender riots in the country.

Elizondo, now 69, calls herself "a screaming queen, a pioneer, an icon, a legend, and a diva." In the San Francisco StoryCorps booth, Elizondo talks about the path that led her to become an LGBT activist.


FELICIA ELIZONDO: We had been beaten up, thrown in jail, arrested for obstructing a sidewalk, murdered and raped.

This interview was facilitated by Yosmay del Mazo. If you'd like to interview someone in the StoryCorps booth, click here.

This story originally aired January of 2016.