Race, Trans* Identity, and Nation in Los Angeles: La Fiesta de Los Angeles of 1894 and the Anti-Masquerading Ordinance of 1897
In the 1890s, Los Angeles transformed itself for a civic festival that sought to mark American Westward colonization as complete. La Fiesta de Los Angeles of 1894 and the Anti-Masquerading Ordinance of 1897 demonstrate a particular cultural obsession with classifying, ordering, and othering along gendered and racialized lines. La Fiesta’s first parade actualizes the ordered display of Chinese, Japanese, Black, and Indigenous people, codifying settler and white-supremacist notions of racial progress. Furthermore, the masquerade ball, which closed out the event, reified anti-Trans* sentiment and led to a series of laws that criminalized Trans* people. My research seeks to explore the impacts of these two events on Los Angeles—the surveillance, policing, and incarceration of Black, Japanese, Chinese, Indigenous, and Trans* people and communities. In addition to producing a senior thesis in American Studies, the Center for Race and Gender is supporting my project to edit the Wikipedia pages for these two events. I aim to interrupt harmful narratives and practices on the site, create public-facing dialogue, and build momentum for future scholarship.