Jacqueline  Forsyte

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.