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Transgender Education At Heart Of Event That's Part Celebration, And Part Fundraiser On South Coast


It’s a simple question for most people, but for some, it can be quite complex.  Do you use the pronouns he, or she to describe yourself?

Phillippa Bisou Della Vina is President of the Board for the Santa Barbara Transgender Advocacy Network, which works to educate the community about transgender issues.  The organization is holding a major celebration which is part educational event, and part fundraiser this weekend.

Della Vina says the non-profit group represents more than 60 local families with generate creative children, teens, and adults. She says the organization is out in the community trying to educate people about this subject, which is still evolving.

This weekend, the organization, which goes by the acronym SBTAN, is celebrating the Transgender Day of Visibility with a fashion show that’s a combination of fun and education.

The Hearts On Fire Fashion Show at the Lobero Theater will feature a mix of clothing modeled by members of the transgender community, as well as music and comedy. Tiffany Ortega is an artist, and SBTAN board member who is overseeing the fashion show. She says the show is a great way to celebrate the Transgender Day of Visibility, with a number of local clothing shops working with the models to give them the chance to express themselves.

Ortega says aside from being entertaining, the show offers a unique opportunity to help educate people. In addition to the fashion show, the Saturday night event at the Lobero Theater also will feature some art with an empowerment, and anti-bullying message. They are three sculptures with torsos which are not gender specific.  Jana Brody, with the Squire Foundation, says the pieces are works by artist Linda Stein, who is a New York based artist and feminist. 

The event begins with a cocktail party at five, and the program starting at seven. One of the featured entertainers will be comedian Ian Harvey, from the acclaimed television series “Transparent,” which deals with transgender issues.  Ticket information:

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.