Festival History

One Voice Mixed Chorus in Minneapolis produced the first Trans Voices Festival in April of 2004. That same year, the GALA [1] choral festival in Montreal offered its first Trans Festival chorus. That same year saw other momentum in the direction of positive social changes for trans people in general: the National Center for Transgender Equality organized its first Lobby Day on Capitol Hill; San Francisco was home to the first Trans March, held June 25; the Gender Recognition Act becomes law, allowing transgender persons to legally change their sex; the International Olympic Committee decides that “transsexuals” will be able to compete at the Athens Olympics if they have had appropriate surgery and are legally recognized as members of their new sex.

In the years since, trans people have experienced various responses to the positive momentum, from anti-discrimination legislation in some areas to anti-trans “bathroom bills” in other locales. The discussion has been political, not personal or joyous in any way. In 2018, One Voice facilitated the production of a second Trans Voices Festival in Minneapolis. Though a freakish April blizzard shut the festival down early and affected attendance, the experience was powerful – and joyous! Several of us from Portland were there; in networking with each other during the Festival, we decided there must be another one. The rest is in the making now! Please join us in April of 2021!

[1] GALA is an organization that leads the North American GLBT choral movement. It offers many events and services to its members, including a signature event which is a quadrennial music festival. GALA used to be an acronym for Gay and Lesbian Choral Association. Now, GALA Choruses is the organizational name, no longer an acronym, in recognition of the fact that these days, there are far more identities within its member choruses than ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian.’