Dear Pride Family,
We should not have to be killed to be seen.
The soul of our community dimmed with the brutal murder of O’Shae Sibley, a beacon of art and activism. While joyfully voguing at a Brooklyn gas station with his friends, celebrating our culture and life, hate robbed us all of his life, his future, and queer brilliance.
His death isn’t a one-off. So far this year, at least 15 transgender people have been killed in the US. A recent report from the California Department of Justice stated that hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation bias rose 29% and those based on anti-trans bias rose 55%.
The ongoing surge in anti-LGBTQ legislation and rhetoric is not just a threat to our rights or our culture; it is an outright assault on our very lives. In these increasingly difficult times in our movement, O’Shae’s death is part of a larger systemic wave of hate, and his memory must be met as a clarion call. Our arts, our dance, our voices are acts of defiance, resistance, and hope.
I was inspired to see communities across the country, including here in Hillcrest, fearlessly take to the streets to vogue, to dance, to laugh, to claim the free and open air in defiance of our erasure and to honor the memory of O’Shae Sibley. This is what we know how to do. We take our darkest moments and alchemize them into joyful revolution. That queer resilience and innovation is needed now more than ever.
We should not have to be killed to be seen. It should not take legislation meant to silence us for us to be heard. It should not take acts of erasure for us to invest in our history. It should not take threats to our drag siblings for us to rally behind them as vital leaders in our movement.
We won’t be forgotten. We won’t be broken. It’s up to us.
Every person reading this has the ability to invest your time and attention to queer art, culture, lives, history, health care, and, education. We have to ask for it when we don’t see it. We have to consume, support, and invest in it when we do. We shouldn’t have to wait for a fight to show up for each other. That said, the fight is now. So for all those that we’ve lost, let’s invest in what we have and fight for a world where do not have to be killed to be seen, one where all of us can Thrive!
Fernando Z. López
San Diego Pride