Dear Pride Family,

Around this time last year, San Diego was making news around the country, because of a so-called “controversy” perpetuated by right-wing media. A young girl cried wolf- calling against the right of a trans woman to use the women’s locker room. Right-wing media stirred itself up into a national frenzy that eventually led to heated protests and a dramatic Santee City Council meeting about who should and shouldn’t be allowed to use public locker rooms. 

The initial news media didn’t name the transgender woman in question, but she came forward to address the mischaracterizations and stand up for her community.  Christynne (Chrissy) Lili Wrene Wood came forward as the Black transgender woman in the locker room and invited supporters to stand up with her.  At the time that her presence and identity were suddenly called into question, she had been taking that same YMCA aqua aerobics class for years. 

Chrissy recently told her story –– in her own words, in the Union-Tribune. She reminded us of the weight of the anti-Blackness buried in this allegation and controversy, drawing a clear line between this incident – when the words of a young white girl questioned this Black woman’s right to be in the same locker room – to the events preceding the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955. 

This not-so-distant history was on many of our minds, and as we’re making our history now, we’re also changing the story we tell about Black trans folks. This includes writing new endings about how we as a community show up for our Black siblings. In this case, Chrissy’s community showed up in force, led with love, strength and joy by Chrissy herself. 

The image of Chrissy at the Santee City Council meeting will never leave me. She wore a colorful dress and bright makeup. She knew all eyes were on her that night. She was prepared and ready. The energy of the room was dynamic, and the chambers overflowed long before the meeting started. 

About 80% of attendees that night supported Chrissy. We waved trans flags and held signs (handmade by her aqua-aerobic sisters) declaring our love for her.  Chrissy’s speech was strong, bold, and deeply personal – and centered her joy and her community. She was brave and met that moment with a deep well of strength.

In the face of considerable hate and manufactured controversy, Chrissy maintained an unshakable strength and never lost her joy.  She infused unwavering faith into the community rallied around her. In 2023, San Diego Pride presented her with the Spirit of Stonewall Champion of Pride Award for her indisputable status as an icon and a pillar in our community. 

I think about Chrissy a lot as we move forward in our work, especially when it feels impossible. She recognized the fear and moved through it anyway. She continues to stand up not just for herself but for her entire trans community, especially our trans youth. She does all of it with an infectious level of joy and hope. 

As we hit the midpoint of Women’s History Month, we invite you to join us in celebrating the women who are making history now with us. We have so many phenomenal trans and queer women in our community who transform the fear and hate they face into love, who create spaces for queer and trans joy and celebration. They stare down transphobia and racism and feel called to take action to protect not only themselves but their communities. 

I don’t experience the same kind of weight and threats that Black queer folks, and especially Black queer trans women experience. As a white woman in organizing spaces, I know that the organizing and power building work that Black femmes do for the community is often unpaid, underappreciated, and co-opted by more visible white folks. That’s unfair. 

That’s a part of the story we need to actively re-write and correct. I call on my fellow white folks and non Black people of color to actively appreciate the Black folks and Black women in your circles. Search for ways you can pick up some of the burden of fighting homophobia and transphobia. 

One way you can do that is to support Trans Day of Empowerment (TDOE), an event and scholarship fundraiser formed by another powerful Black trans woman in San Diego, Tracie Jada O’Brien. Donate, attend, and share the word about Trans Day Of Empowerment, and do the same for other community efforts led by Black women. 

Thank you, Chrissy, and thank you to all the trans, lesbian, bisexual, and queer Black women and women of color that are making history now.

With Pride,

Jen Hibberts (she/they)
Organizing & Outreach Coordinator


About San Diego Pride

San Diego Pride raises funds primarily through festival ticket and beverage sales, and through sponsorships, and exhibitor fees. These funds support San Diego Pride’s community philanthropy which has distributed more than $2.5 million in advancement of its mission to foster pride, equality, and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities locally, nationally, and globally.