Philly Pride broke the news this week that Charlene Arcila had passed away. We had named her Grand Marshal because of her dispute with SEPTA, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, which was taken before the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission, contesting the use of “male” and “female” identifiers being used on trans passes. SEPTA had refused to honor Charlene Arcila’s trans pass because she did not meet the description. Because of her fight, SEPTA removed those identifiers.
Because of our withdrawal from Interpride over the trans exclusion in the bylaws of that organization, we had chosen to showcase the trans community with our 2015 Pride awards. We regret that Charlene passed away prior to her receiving the award, but she was aware of the honor, and was thrilled with Philly Pride for honoring her. Because of the work of people like our honorees this year, the barriers against trans people eventually will be overcome.