Hero of Pride

Julia Legaspi

Julia Legaspi

In 1980, Julia “Jhigs” Legaspi immigrated from her hometown of Cavite City, Philippines to San Diego, California with just a few dollars and hopes to pursue the American dream. Two years later, Julia opened her beloved “Jhigs’ Hair Studio” in the heart of Mira Mesa where it has become a community institution and will soon celebrate its 40th year in November.

On top of her advocacy as a small-business owner, immigrant, and Filipina, Julia is also a well-respected leader and advocate for the LGBTQ community. Her passion is to ensure transgender individuals – especially transgender persons of color – have the same rights that everyone else does and that they have a seat at the table. Through her activism, Julia became the first transgender person appointed to a San Diego commission serving on the Equal Opportunity and Human Relations commissions as well as advisory boards of Mayor Dick Murphy and San Diego Police Cheif David Bejarano. This distinction made her the third transgender person appointed to a public office in the United States.

During the AIDS crisis, Julia was on the front lines ensuring that many in our community passed away with dignity and care. This advocacy led to educating others, including serving on the board of several Asian American and LGBTQ organizations. In her work as a Human Relations Commission Commissioner, Julia enacted change by being part of the groups that pushed for the elimination of the “Cross Dressing Law.”

To this day, Julia continues her advocacy work serving on a number of boards and commissions including the City of San Diego Human Relations Commission, County of San Diego Leon L. Williams Human Relations Commission, City of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria LGBTQ Advisory Board, County of San Diego Sheriff’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, and San Diego AIDS Memorial Task Force.