I am so grateful that vaccines are bringing hope back to the holidays as many of us begin to feel safer gathering with our friends and family this season. With that said, 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 only made worse by our separation from found family out of necessity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
My gratitude to the LGBTQ-owned small businesses and staff who work to stay open today helping our community be in shared space. The annual Scott Carlson & Dan Ferbal Community Thanksgiving Dinner will look different this year, and still my love and appreciation to the dedicated volunteers from the Imperial Court de San Diego, Rob Benzon Foundation, and The Center who are working to provide holiday meals to our community.
Next week Mama’s Kitchen will bring us together on World AIDS Day for the 30th Annual Tree of Life Ceremony which 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. In two weeks, Come Home for the Holidays at The Center provides an opportunity for us to celebrate the diverse cultures and traditions within our local community with our LGBTQ-serving organizations.
I am thankful that our community is strong and brave; that you all have carried us through yet another truly difficult year. I love that we know how to pool our passion and resources to ensure that none of us is left behind. However you celebrate the season, know you are welcome to join us at any one of this season’s community events, enjoy an intimate Friendsgiving, or support our local LGBTQ-owned businesses. I’m inspired by our community’s resolve to heal and love one another, as we welcome each other in and keep each other Resilient.
Fernando Zweifach López Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs Executive Director San Diego Pride
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 them a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.