This time of year I’m always reminded of the fear, pain, and depression that many in our community face as the holidays approach. Many of us feel the weight and emptiness of familial rejection and isolation. Far too many of us, especially our youth, fear holiday gatherings where relatives will be outright hostile.
While I personally know all too well the hardship that the holidays can bring to our community, I am also grateful for and inspired by our resilience. It is a thing of beauty to watch our community come together in support, as we always do, with innovative approaches to friendship, family, and love.
The annual Scott Carlson & Dan Ferbal Thanksgiving Community Dinner gives us a space to come together and dine with found family. World AIDS Day allows us to pause and reflect on those taken from us too soon as we recommit to the work of fighting the virus and stigma. Come Home for the Holidays provides an opportunity for us to celebrate the diverse cultures and traditions within our local community with our LGBTQ-serving organizations. Marching in the Toyland Parade with Pride is a way for us to proudly celebrate the season with our kids, friends, and family in the light of day.
Our community is strong and brave. We know how to pool our passion and resources to ensure that none of us is left behind. Whether you are with family of birth or choice, join us at one of this season’s community events, enjoy an intimate Friendsgiving, or enjoy our local LGBTQ businesses staying open on holidays to give LGBTQ people places to connect. I’m inspired by our community’s resolve to heal and love one another, as we welcome each other into our 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.