“There is always room for hope as we begin another run around the sun”
Despite our best hopes, 2021 still had many rough moments. More people fell victim to the COVID-19 virus. More business’s succumbed to the fluctuating economy, we lost our share in Hillcrest for sure. On a good note, many businesses did survive. Mo’s Universe, Burger Lounge, Rich’s, Flicks, #1 on Fifth, and Martinis also reopened. We are lucky so many survived.
Trans and Non-Binary folks now have more recognition across the US than ever before. According to Wikipedia there are 20 states plus the District of Columbia that recognize the Non-Binary gender marker. The US Passport Agency will soon begin allowing the Non-Binary gender marker on US passports. The first passport with a Non-Binary marker was issued to Dana Zzyym. Lambda Legal sued the US Department of State on their behalf in 2015 for denying a passport to them. Dana uses Non-Binary gender pronouns. Finally, the first passport with the X marker for Non-Binary (or third gender) was issued to them on October 26, 2021. As we roll into 2022, we should see more Non-Binary markers on US passports.
In California you can change your gender marker to X for all your identification cards and your birth certificate without a doctor’s letter or the mandatory court order for gender change.
Locally we had our first in-person event at the Diamonds in the Rough Annual Banquet. The event was held at the Fair at 44 in City Heights. Awards were given to 17 local Trans and Non-Binary folks for their passionate and important work they are doing in the community. We had a great turnout and lots of fun.
In November we had our flag raising at the start of the Trans Visibility Week with speeches from local activists. The event was organized by Naya Velazco from the San Diego LGBT Center. She is doing outstanding work as the Coordinator of Project Trans. I created Project Trans in June of 2013 and I am so proud the program continues to grow under her unique skill set and passion for the work she does. On November 20,2021 we held our Day of Remembrance at the County Administration Building. Many thanks go out to Board Chair Nathan Fletcher and his staff for making this possible. The entire building was lit up in pink, blue, and white for the event. Our speakers included Mayor Todd Gloria, Council Member Stephen Whitburn, and keynote speaker Josie Caballero. We had an amazing turnout for the event and remembered all those we had lost to anti-transgender hate and violence.
Many of us attended the San Diego LGBT Center’s Home for the Holidays on December 11th. There was food and entertainment and grocery giveaways. I was happy to see so many of our community members there. Being able to give a hug or a fist bump in person was so uplifting for me. It definitely made the season brighter.
Now it’s 2022 and with any luck, it will be a much better year for everyone. Let’s manifest that COVID-19 and the Omicron variant will diminish and people can feel safe and healthy. I am hoping everyone will get vaccinated and wear their masks when out and about. We lose too many people to violence and neglect; we don’t need to add this virus as another cause of Trans and Non-Binary folks dying. San Diego Pride will be hosting a vaccination clinic on January 22, 2022 from 2 pm to 6 pm at their office at 3620 30th Street in North Park. It’s Free to all. Need a booster, get it there. Make sure you go to their website and RSVP for the clinic: sdpride.org. Thank you, San Diego Pride!
Other events we can look forward to are San Diego Pride being live this year. If all goes well there will be an in-person Pride Celebration on July 9th-17th, 2022. Hopefully the San Diego LGBT Center will open sometime this year. Their recent renovations created more space for in person groups to be held there.
For all Trans and Non-Binary community members there is a picnic the 3rd Saturday of every month from 2-5 pm. It’s being held at Balboa Park, on the corner of Juniper and 6th Ave. We have had a pretty good turnout so far, and again, it’s so nice to see each other in person,
I am looking forward, if possible, for more events to happen this year. Hopefully we can have our annual Day of Empowerment in April and be able to give out scholarships to many of our siblings who are attending college or trade schools. I will have more information about this event at a later date.
For myself I am hoping to have better health this year and less surgeries. I plan to continue to volunteer wherever I can as it keeps me busy but mainly because it always lifts my soul to be helping others. It’s also a great way to meet new people and maybe new friends. I am wishing that everyone stays healthy this year and life can get back to some semblance of normalcy. I wish for everyone to be able to have a happy and prosperous year with homes to live in, good health, excellent healthcare, and stable employment. I know my wishes might be overzealous, but I will wish them anyways. There is always room for hope as we begin another run around the sun. Happy New Year!