In 2013 we were approached by a group of women–led by community organizer, Kelcie Kopf– that was interested in creating a trans-inclusive LGBTQ-women centered event in San Diego. Knowing full well at the time that LGBTQ women’s spaces were disappearing all over the country, we eagerly said “Yes,” and provided the infrastructure and resources needed to support the vision of these women. Several months later She Fest was born.
When San Diego’s Dyke March dissipated, San Diego Pride made a commitment that no less than 50% of our entertainers at the Festival would be female-identified and that we would have no less than one trans entertainer on each stage each day. While inclusive representation should be a minimum bar we should all set for ourselves, having intentional trans-inclusive / LGBTQ-women centered spaces is still a social justice issue and must be supported.
The sixth annual She Fest is this weekend. It’s wonderful to see how this event has evolved into a powerfully meaningful year-round program for our women’s community. The all-volunteer committee is truly an exercise in leadership development and community building as, all throughout the year, they now plan fundraisers, educational events, participate in outreach and visibility events, support “get out the vote” efforts, and put on an amazing signature celebration by and for our LGBTQ women’s community.
If you have never been to She Fest, I hope this is your year. Come and join us as we celebrate and support the talents and contributions of women while fostering meaningful connections within and between the LGBTQ and larger San Diego communities. All are welcome to take part in this space and our collective Legacy of Liberation.
Fernando Lopez is 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 him a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.