Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson has honored a Black trans woman activist for International Women’s Day. Wesson, along with the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), named Gia Banks Pioneer Woman of the Year for the City of Los Angeles’ 10th Council District.
“When we recognize women, we have a responsibility to recognize all women,” said Wesson. “Trans women have been and continue to be an integral part of the struggle for women’s rights and I am honored to have Gia Banks as my 2019 Pioneer Woman. ”
The annual Pioneer Woman of the Year Award honors leaders who champion gender equity in the City of Los Angeles. The theme of this year’s ceremony was “Shifting Narratives: The Strength of Survivors.” Wesson was the only member of the City Council to honor a trans woman during today’s ceremony at City Hall.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized and I am so grateful,” added Banks. “It feels so good to welcomed and accepted for who I am and the community of women that I represent.”
West Hollywood Councilmember Linsdey P. Horvath was also on hand and presented Ms. Banks with an award on behalf of her city.
A resident of Baldwin Village in South Los Angeles, Ms. Banks is also known as Legendary Mother Gia Mizrahi, and is a dancer, model, activist and survivor who uses performance to ignite social change.
A former sex worker who survived a brutal attack, today Gia works in the community to help empower other trans sex workers and call attention to the intersectionality and combined stigmas of being trans and a sex worker.
Gia has used her platform and talent to perform LA PRIDE, TransNation, and Alliance for California Traditional Arts. Since 2006, Gia has worked with REACH LA to link the West Coast House and Ballroom Community to both artistic platforms and HIV/AIDS-related services.