So, what is happening in the Trans community these days? We are still witnessing the horrific murders of our Trans Women of Color here in the United States. We are witnessing an incredible surge in violence, racism and transphobia. The current administration is doing all it can to take away our rights and discriminate against our community and make us invisible. There is a way to change at least some of these issues. Each one of us has to be committed to fight the evil and hate any way we can. All of us can do one big thing: VOTE! On Nov. 3, 2020, if everyone votes, we will all be part of the process to create a local, state and federal government with people who will fight for us. It starts with you and a commitment to engage other voters — then and only then can we move forward to living out and proud and safe.
I have heard many stories about Trans folks going to vote and being turned away due to non-matching IDs and how they look on the ID picture or the gender marker. Too often downright discrimination is the cause and so many people are unprepared to answer to that. I found a couple of good websites where you can hone up on your voting rights and how to deal with poll workers’ efforts to keep you from exercising your rights. Be prepared to answer any objections they pose. But don’t worry if your gender identity or gender presentation doesn’t match your name, photo, or gender marker, as that is not required by law. Consider signing up to vote by mail. In most cases, according to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, California voters are not required to show identification to a poll worker before casting a ballot. Mr. Padilla has joined with Equality California to create, distribute and train poll workers across the state on how to interact respectfully with Transgender voters. Still, many Transgender and gender-nonconforming voters may be registered and appear on the voter roll under a name that does not appear to “match” their gender identity, expression or the name and pronouns that they use. Bring a few different means of identification with you and remind the poll worker that in California your gender marker or presentation cannot be used as a means to disqualify you to vote. Legitimate items are California drivers license, California ID, utility bill, and/or passport. Find more information at https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections for California, and from our friends at the National Center for Transgender Equality, this site has a downloadable Voter Rights page to take with you to the polls: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b1afec2a2772c6f24e0ec84/t/5b909c270ebbe849fbdd1893/1536203815927/voting+while+trans+c4+en.pdf. Another great idea is: Don’t go alone. Find a friend to go with you and be there to support you if you have trouble. Then you can go to their polling place with them. Educate yourself before the election on your rights, but also on the candidates and the issues.
As we approach the Nov. 3, 2020 election, here are some very important dates to keep in mind.
Online: Oct. 19.
By mail: Postmarked by Oct. 19.
In person: Nov. 3
Absentee ballot deadlines:
Request: Oct. 27.
Return by mail: Postmarked by Nov. 3.
Return in person: Nov. 3 by 8 p.m.
Oct. 5-Nov. 2, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.
If you need help to register to vote, you can go to this site: https://registertovote.ca.gov/?t=s or email Naya Velazco at the LGBTQI Center at [email protected]. To check if you are registered, go here: https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/ .
There is also a very real problem some of our community members have already experienced. They checked their voter registration and found out their registrations have been deleted. So please make sure you are registered, and if not, do so right away. That deadline is Oct. 19, 2020. Please check yours. I am going to check again by the 15th and Oct. 18.
How else can you help?? Join either The Center or San Diego Pride and help out with the Get Out the Vote Campaign. We are calling folks and just reminding them to vote. Contact Charles Enciso at [email protected] or Bob Leyh at Pride [email protected]. This just may well be the most important election of our lifetime. Let’s get our rights back!
In other news:
During this time of quarantine, I am sure many of us feel the same: days of nothing to do, feeling lonely, isolated, bored and tired. I know that this can lead to depression, and if you are like me, you fight depression almost daily. Feeling like you have no support, no one to talk to. Many of our community were already struggling and since COVID-19, it may have become worse. If you miss your peeps, or you want some real interaction with people, come to The LGBT Center’s Zoom meetings. Most of the Trans groups participate on the same schedule as when we met in person. Monday Coming Out Trans, Wednesday Night Trans Masculine, Non-binary Discussion, Saturday Discussion and more meet weekly. I attend the Monday night and the Wednesday Night Trans Masculine and we have such an amazing time, chatting, getting support, resources, etc. Contact Naya Velazco at [email protected]. for links and more information.
Join the ladies of the Diamonds in the Rough group as they honor some of their members. Of course, it will be virtual and lots of fun. Here is the Facebook link https://www.facebook.com/events/328072328461184. It’s on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. 6-7 p.m. on Zoom.
I also want to wish the folks at the LGBTQ San Diego County News a Happy 1-Year Anniversary and thank you for allowing me to be a part of this.
Sources: National Center for Transgender Equality: https://transequality.org
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla official website: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections