🏳️‍⚧️ Joy 🥰️ Safety 🛡️ Peace ☮️ [CW: Gun violence]

Dear Pride Family,

We deserve joy. We deserve safety. We deserve peace. 

I hate that I feel that I need to say that, but the reality is that the rise in legislative attacks against our community, in particular, our transgender and drag community is taking its toll on our physical safety and mental well-being. 

Some of this hate might seem far away as the majority of the over 450 anti-LGBTQ bills have been entered in legislative bodies outside of California, yet the inciteful language used by anti-LGBTQ extremists and media outlets is having devastating impacts here in San Diego. The targeting of our events, specific community members, nonprofit organizations, and elected officials who are LGBTQ or supporting our community has escalated over the last few years. The issues here at home and across the world have been driving up the fear and anxiety of people in our community regardless of age and are taking a toll on our youth; especially our youth growing up in unsupportive households.

In a moment where anti-LGBTQ extremists are spinning lies about gun violence and our community, I feel compelled to remind us that in an average year, over 10,300 hate crimes in the US involve a firearm. That’s 28 every day. LGBTQ people are nine times more likely to experience violent hate crimes. Our community overall is twice as likely to be the victims of gun violence. Since January 2017, 221 transgender people have been killed with a gun, 68% of those victims were Black women. 81% of homicides of Black trans women were committed with a gun.

Knowing these statistics isn’t intended to make us feel better, it is meant to arm us with facts in the face of hateful lies and rhetoric.

In the face of this, let’s continue to celebrate and invest in our community.

Tomorrow is Transgender Day of Visibility. For those of us who feel safe enough to do so, please be out, loud, visible, and proud. Trans and non-binary allies, please visibly show your support!

Next week is Transgender Day of Empowerment. Please join us there and help us celebrate and empower our trans community.

At Transgender Day of Empowerment, this year’s recipients of the Tracie Jada O’Brien Transgender Student Scholarship will be awarded. You can invest in our next generation of trans leaders and community by donating directly to the scholarship fund here.

In 2022, in light of the rise in anti-LGBTQ legislation primarily targeting trans youth, San Diego Pride named our Trans Youth as our Community Grand Marshal and they lead our Parade as we returned to full-scale events after COVID-19 shut us down for 2 years. 

We are excited to announce that in 2023, the Drag Community has been named this year’s Community Grand Marshal and will lead our Parade! Our drag community has always stood at the front lines for us, and in this moment of extreme persecution, we need to show our drag siblings that we stand with them, together.

Our joy is insubordinate. Our visibility is defiance. Our unity is how we find safety, peace, and Thrive!

With Pride,

Fernando Z. López
Pronouns: they/them/theirs
Executive Director
San Diego Pride

P.S. If you’d like to learn core organizing skills to help you get more directly involved in how we fight back, consider registering for our Pride Power Summit happening April 28-30!


About Fernando

Fernando Lopez was the Executive Director of San Diego Pride. Lopez’s years of LGBT advocacy, nonprofit management, public education, diversity consulting, media relations, guest lectures, and organizing have made them a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.