Hope you all are having a great summer so far. San Diego Pride was a huge success as we finally got to come out and celebrate us. I want to thank all the organizations and community folks who participated in the new Pride Trans Village. It was the culmination of a small area I created with Pride back in the early 2000’s. We had the largest area we have ever had for Trans folks and room for over 20 Trans specific vendors and community artists and businesses.
Thanks to the LGBT Center’s Project Trans for taking the lead on organizing the village and thanks to the Pride staff who also made sure our area was a success and donated all of the logistical support. So many people stopped by to chat and find resources. Everything from medical services to housing. We had a few local artists and Trans support service providers and medical providers, including the amazing Dr. Jill Blumenthal, Dr. Jennifer Anger and Dr. Amanda Gosman, along with support staff from UCSD Medical Center. Next year I hope the area can also include more Trans artists such as musicians, singers, and spoken word. Who knows, maybe you are a budding comedienne, magician, or other entertainer, so start practicing now for Pride 2023!
Other community news. The Center’s Project Trans has new leadership. Achi Vasquez is the new Transgender and Non-Binary Services Manager. I have known Achi for few years, and she is a passionate, energetic, and fierce advocate for our community. I know she will do an outstanding job leading Project Trans and bring new ideas and resources to our community. I am looking forward to working with Achi in the future as she creates new opportunities to assure our community has enriching programming and community resources. Also new to Project Trans is Paris DaSilva. For the first time since its inception, Project Trans now has 2 full-time staff. This addition has long been needed, as the amount of Trans and Non-Binary community members has sure grown twofold since I started Project Trans in 2013. Paris will also be an outstanding advocate and leader for our community. She is passionate about helping the community and brimming with great ideas for community engagement. Welcome, to Achi and Paris!
Another new resource for us is the Transgender Health and Wellness Center, which recently opened an office in San Diego. According to their website the organization opened its first office in Palm Springs as a 501C3 called Transgender Community Coalition, whose purpose was to raise funds for a Transgender Day of Remembrance Memorial Statue in Palm Springs. The organization grew and realized they had more work to do. They became the Transgender health and Wellness Center and have grown exponentially since then. They now have 2 offices in Riverside County and in San Diego as well. They offer services like electrolysis, legal help, insurance navigation and more. Find out more on their website at https://trans.health/.
Also, for our Latino/Latina community we have TransFronteras, a new organization whose mission is to help and shelter Trans Women and Non-Binary folks as they cross the Mexican border into San Diego seeking asylum. The organization is run by Frannya Tuchman and an amazing crew of volunteers. So many Trans and Non-binary folks are coming to this country after being incredibly mistreated in their home countries. There are tales of death threats, abuse, and torture, to be Trans or Non-Binary in some countries can be a death sentence. If you wish to find out more or help or donate to this very important organization, you can email Frannya at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, a word about support for each other. Times can be rough for our community. With so many other states passing law after law taking away the rights of Transgender and Non-Binary people, laws against parents of Transgender youth being criminalized for supporting and accessing lifesaving health care for their child, finding so many ways to dehumanize us that it’s not surprising that many people might feel anxious and scared. This is absolutely normal given the hate and vicious climate that permeates our country at this time. That being said, I want to share a message to all of our community about hope.
We know that things are constantly changing, nothing stays the same forever. That change we so desperately need to happen can only happen if we as a community become involved with the rest of the world. For those safe to do so, come out and be proud of who you are. Be proud of all the obstacles you have overcome to be you. Do not let others tear you down or make you feel bad about yourself and less than; if any of us lets that happen, it’s a win for the other side. That is their objective, to have power over you. You have to avoid giving them that power. Even if you don’t feel strong enough on the inside, let your outside stand tall anyways. One of my favorite sayings, “Fake it till you make it!”
My ingredients for living a full, happy, and honest life are these things: 1. Be You all the time and never let anyone put you down for that. 2. Embrace all your communities. We are not single-issue people any more than anyone else is. 3. Ask for support from those around you and be willing to give support to those around you. 4. Be part of the solution, otherwise you just might be part of the problem. 5. If you want something go and get it, be resourceful, don’t give up and believe in yourself. 6. Take action. Make sure you participate in the democratic process, like voting. Make sure you help make your world better rather than just complaining about it. Take the initiative, reach out to others, share ideas, plan something and see it through.
Every time I follow my recipe, I feel better about myself. I feel empowered, I feel brave, I know that I contributed even if in a small way in making this world a better place, and most important of all feel happy.
If you feel overwhelmed, if you feel afraid, if you are discouraged as I often get these days, don’t go through this alone. Hold each other up and help others feel safe and valued. Don’t be afraid to confide in friends or even co-workers that you are teetering on the edge of that dark abyss of depression. Trust me, most folks have been there at some point in their lives. Being strong means asking for help. Each one of you is a wonderful unique vibrant and special member of the human race, and we can ill afford to lose even one of you.
In love and solidarity