My heart is with you and every single person who is grieving over the tragic loss of life in Georgia. For over a year the escalation of anti-Asian racism and xenophobia has stoked a rise in violence and bloodshed. This nation cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the fact that words matter. That dehumanizing rhetoric leads to dehumanizing action, and too often, as we’ve seen, with dire consequences. This uncomfortable truth is not new to the APIMEDA community, not new to BIPOC communities, not new to women, not new to the LGBTQ community, not new to any marginalized population.
The previous administration intentionally uplifted racism, xenophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and White Supremacy through words and policy as a political tool, unconcerned with the consequences. Those of us from marginalized communities called for the hate speech to end specifically sighting the violence that would ensue. We’ve been here before. We know what happens. As many predicted, year over year, hate crimes rose. At the deadly center of that hate-fueled venn diagram were our trans siblings, specifically Black transgender women. 2020 became the deadliest year on record for our trans community. Gun violence killed three out of four trans people last year. Words matter.
Right now, scores of anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation have been proposed across the country, and the Equality Act is taking center stage on a national level. Our rights and very lives as LGBTQ people are being debated in the media, legislative offices, and living rooms with ignorant and destructive arguments that seek to strip away our humanity––words being echoed across the nation, reaching young ears and malleable minds. This too cannot be ignored. We know that words matter. We know all too well the death and violence they can bring.
For over 50 years, our movement has countered these dehumanizing messages of shame with authentic messages of Pride in our own existence. Slowly but surely we are winning hearts and minds. We build intentional spaces to lift up visible, vibrant displays of our joy from people and communities that would otherwise be denigrated. We can hold on to our distinct cultural identities, sexual orientations, and gender identities as a part of our beautifully creative individuality. As we again mourn the loss of life taken too soon, we must too recommit ourselves to this intersectional work: Black, APIMEDA, Latinx, Indigenous, LGBTQ, disabled, and more. We must stand in solidarity, finding strength in our differences, building a shared movement and a world that is Resilient.
With Hope & Allyship,
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride
P.S. Learn more about our programs that center the API and transgender communities here.