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The T.E.A. Awards to celebrate the transgender and non-binary communities on Wednesday evening

The T.E.A. Awards to celebrate the transgender and non-binary communities on Wednesday evening.
Photo credit:
Prizila Vidal

As part of Transgender Awareness Week, a group of community activists are organizing a new event, the T.E.A. Awards and Trans After Party, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 20 at Gossip Grill. The acronym T.E.A. stands for Trans Exceptional Advocates in relation to the awards, and also happens to be similar to the acronym T.E.A.S. which stands for The Empowered Art Society, a group that is co-producing the event. 

The event, which will include art, performances, HIV testing, and more, takes place on the same evening as the more somber Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), held annualy in locations around the world on Nov. 20. Locally, vigils and marches will be held at both the San Diego LGBT Community Center and at the Oceanside Library (presented by the North County LGBTQ Resource Center) to pay homage to the transgender individuals who have been murdered over the past year. More about TDOR is here.

Longtime trans and HIV community activist Prizila Dajia Vidal, says she came up with the idea for the TEA Awards about two years with other longtime community activist Brooke Sullivan. When asked why she wanted to create such an event on the same day as TDOR, Vidal said “I wanted to create an event to honor and celebrate the trans community that is here today. For many, TDOR is a very sad, emotional, traumatic event so I wanted something of a ‘pick-me-up’ to follow that the trans community could come to and feel appreciated.”

The Empowered Art Society (TEAS) is a group of underground artists who perform pop up art show through out Hillcrest. CEO & Founder Kelsey Engler, who also serves as Vice Chair of the Hillcrest Arts Committee is serving as the event coordinator along with Vidal. Engler said that her vision for the event is to “recognize and honor all those who have struggled with acceptance and to acknowledge everyone in the community who has made a difference.” She continued by saying that “without acceptance, there is no community.”

While everyone (21 years and older) is welcome at the event, the celebration intends to honor the transgender and non-binary community. The organizers intend to remember those who have come before, celebrate those who are making contributions today, and support others by donating proceeds from the optional door cover and silent auction to two transgender serving organizations: Trans Family Support Services, and the North County LGBTQ Resource Center

The majority of the festivities will begin following the march and ceremony held at The Center in order to give participants time to attend those important community events, and then be able to spend time in community after the event. Features of the TEA Awards include performances by popular groups including The Family Jewels, San Diego Kings Club, and the Fluidity Go Go Dancers; along with a silent art show, art vendors, free HIV & STD testing (7-10 pm) provided by Good To Go (all who take a test will receive a token for a free drink), and more. The Awards Ceremony will begin at 8 pm, followed by an open stage hour which will be hosted for anyone who wants to show off their performance skills of any type. A prize will be given to the winner of the open stage session.

Vidal and Engler are very passionate about this event and hope to see lots of trans, nonbinary, and ally community members there. “As a trans person, I feel that this is a good way to bring our community closer in a time of need,” Vidal said. Engler added that “we want to bring transgender awareness to our community and celebrate our freedom of self expression and support those who have the bravery to make the change in our society.”

As for the two beneficiaries of the evening, Vidal and Engler both had high praise for the work of both TransFamily Support Services and the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. “Both TransFamily Support Services and The North County LGBT Resource Center offer support to our trans youth in San Diego County and stand for transgender equality in the workplace,” said Engler. “We hope to provide more opportunities for transgender individuals and empower youth in their future endeavors.”

While the event is free, participants are encouraged to RSVP for a free ticket. Those who choose to may also make an optional donation to the beneficiaries during the online RSVP process or at the event. Tickets and additional information can be found at sdgln.co/TEA.

The event is scheduled from 7 pm to 12 midnight, with the Awards Ceremony taking place at 8 pm at Gossip Grill, located at 1220 University Ave. in Hillcrest. Participants are welcome and encouraged to attend at any point during the night.

For more information contact Engler at thempoweredart@gmail.com or Vidal at prizila86@yahoo.com.

Top left photo: Prizila Vidal

Bottom left photo: Kelsey Engler