2020 is finally over! What an unbelievable year. Our community saw more hate from the Trump administration rolling back protections in homeless shelters, health care, school sports and so many more. We lost at least 41 Transgender and gender non-conforming people, most of them Transgender Women of Color. The pandemic has made this year hard on our community just like everyone else. But we always survive as we have done for many, many years.
Our community members and allies stepped up to keep services ongoing for us. Zoom became the home of support groups and online get-togethers. I saw a need to stay in contact with each other and it was evidenced by the number of folks who showed up on Zoom and Google Meet and other platforms. This sense of community I believe is incredibly important for all of us. We all need to remember that we are not alone. I think this pandemic has proven to me how good it is to be with our own community.
But now we can look forward to a brighter future. Our new president and vice president will take over on Jan. 21, 2021 at 12:01 pm. They have promised not to leave us behind or ignore us and absolutely won’t create more discrimination. It is my hope that within the first year, we will see Trans military folks able to serve freely and openly, with access to Transgender health care. I hope for us to be put back into all the government documents we were erased from. That all of us have access to good non-discriminatory health care, better access to employment, housing and protections from law enforcement officers who decided that they could kill us on a whim, that all Black and Brown people were open targets for them. I saw our community come together for Black Lives Matter, because we have to. We are all part of so many communities, we must stand with all who are discriminated against, who are held down and pushed out.
I am hoping for a new year where we all stop eating our own. Where people who spend their time creating chaos and dissention and hatred for others in the community, will fade away. We all need to stand on our own two feet and not engage in anything that further fractures our already fragile community. In the famous words of Marge Simpson, “Can’t we all just get along?” I think we can. Will this year bring back our Transgender Day of Empowerment, when we can all be together in person? Will we see more social interaction with each other? Will we be able to put differences aside and get to really know each other? The pandemic has taught me that no one should or needs to go it alone. I isolated for so long, not going out much at all, and after a while it really made me feel alone. The weekly support meetings made a big difference for me from giving into depression and hopelessness. So many of us were in the same boat, we were isolated and scared. I can’t wait to do a picnic in Balboa Park again and actually HUG you all in person.
My wish for all of us is to see new opportunities for work, housing and health care. Opportunities where we help spearhead our own futures. That we no longer sit by and hope for someone else to help us. I think the outgoing administration made me realize that we need to create our own future, we need to create good things for ourselves. We stood up and marched and cried out, we will NOT be erased. Our community has so much unused potential. I see skills that are amazing, ideas and passions. If only we could stop dreaming about it and actually do it. I think we can. I think we can mentor our youth, reach out to our elders, infuse all who want to help create a better San Diego for Trans folks with such excitement that things begin to happen. I see a future where Trans folks are volunteering with many different groups, find your passion and be part of it. I see a future where Trans folks are working with our city to help make things better for everyone. I see community members taking the lead to build a better tomorrow for us. I see talented folks pursuing the arts and sciences, sports and recreation, learning and educating, caring for those less fortunate, making advances in medicine, computer technology, mathematics and more. I see Transgender firefighters, paramedics, doctors and lawyers, business owners and entrepreneurs. That we no longer hide in the shadows but stand tall without always worrying about people treating us differently, badly, marginalizing or physically endangering us. We will be Transgender, we will be well, just people, and we will be neighbors and office mates and innovators. The possibilities are endless, just jump in and grab what you want. That’s the world I see coming. I hope it doesn’t take too long to get here.
I hope that everyone had joyful and safe holidays. That we can find a way to reach out to those we can’t be with, to create our own chosen families to celebrate with. I wish for all of you love. Love, not just from others, but I wish you all love of self. We are amazing people. No one else on Earth has any idea about our life experiences. No one else can say that they were socially part of both sides of the gender spectrum who better understands how different our world is because of societal gender disparities. Who else can say, “I know experiences cisgender folks will never get to have.” Our life experiences are something we can use to find compassion for others, speak out against hate, transphobia, racism, police violence and so many more causes. We bring a unique experience to the world around us. It is not something to be ashamed of or discounted but rather to be celebrated. I wish this for all of you. Have a very wonderful new year.