October 20th of 2016 marked the official debut of the 1st Annual Trans National Festival, which was co-hosted by Amazon Prime. This celebration lasted for four days and paid tribute to individuals in the trans community through art, film and beauty.
The festival started with a film festival, guest-curated by trans performance artist and producer Zackary Drucker. The festival included a collection of the best new short films, along with rare footage that reflects that trans experience in movies. Both actors and filmmakers presented the pieces, and films included “Diane from the Moon,” which stars Mya Taylor.
There was also a Queen USA Transgender Beauty Pageant, emceed by Curly Velasquez and Candis Cayne. The pageant has been going on for 15 years, and was created at a way to celebrate the transgender beauty culture while making contestants and the audience more aware of transgender issues. Celebrities judges for the pageant includes Caitlyn Jenner, Geena Rocero, Kelly Osbourne and Alexandra Billings.
Contestants competed in the areas of cocktail, swimsuit, and evening wear and also participated in a Q&A session to enable contestants to talk about issues and concerns in the transgender community. One of the issues discussed was the Affordable Care Act, which included trans health care in several places and was a significant step for trans people.
The proceeds from the four-day festival went to the Imperial Court of Los Angeles, which is a private nonprofit 501 (3) California Public Benefit Corporation. The primary goal of the organization is to further and foster relationships with businesses and corporations in the Los Angeles LGBT community.