“Tone it down”

Dear Pride Family,

With the ever-growing legislative and violent attacks on our community, many are rightfully afraid, and some of our alleged allies are taking the moment to back away from us. Some inside and outside our community are asking us to “tone down” our visibility and advocacy. We will not.

Over the last few years, as right-wing extremists have been maneuvering and honing their anti-LGBTQ attacks, our community has been increasingly aware of how LGBTQ people are being intentionally excluded and erased from even traditionally progressive spaces. We aren’t invited to the BIPOC spaces. We are being excluded from demographic analysis that helps to inform policy decisions, so we are in turn excluded from better LGBTQ-inclusive policies being made.

“These aren’t LGBTQ issues,” we hear.

In the last week I’ve been told by LGBTQ organizational leaders from non-LGBTQ organizations that they’ve been told to “tone it down,” “don’t be so obvious,” or other similar discriminatory statements coupled with the threats of losing donors, funding, and volunteers if they don’t. It’s just so clear that our fight is far from over even in spaces that purport to be on our side.

This last Sunday, the Union-Tribune, which has come a long way in supporting LGBTQ voices, lived reality, and journalistic integrity decided to publish an Op-ed from an anti-LGBTQ Pastor alongside LGBTQ-affirming faith leaders. Our existence isn’t up for debate. Period. I am Jewish. I am Mexican-American. Would the UT of today publish faith leaders promoting anti-Semitism or anti-Mexican commentary for the sake of “both sides?” I doubt it. So why is it ok to do so for the LGBTQ community?

This isn’t a moment to take our gains for granted. The number of calls and emails we get about discrimination happening in our regional schools, public accommodations, and employment is increasing every week. 

San Diego Pride is answering this rise in anti-LGBTQ sentiment and erasure from allied spaces in concrete ways.

This year we have been working with our regional community partners to ensure we are turning out local residents to address the rise in attacks head-on at City Council and School Board meetings across the county. We will continue to invest in that work.

Next week is the one-year anniversary of when we launched our Pillars of Justice, a deep examination of intersectional movement-building work, through an LGBTQ lens. These pillars are Disability Justice, Economic Justice, Environmental Justice, Gender Justice, Health Justice, Racial Justice, and Reproductive Justice. Our team is working to ensure we are not erased from these conversations.

Next month we are hosting our first Pride Power Summit, a weekend-long conference for people committed to LGBTQ justice hoping to learn grassroots organizing skills, build community connections, and get directly engaged in the movement of intersectional social justice. If these attacks aren’t going to stop, we’re going to invest in arming our community and allies with the skills and resources we need to fight back.

We live and exist in every community. We come from every walk of life. Every issue that impacts the common good is our issue. We will not shrink ourselves. We will not return to the closets, prisons, or silence of our past. We will invest in ourselves and each other in pursuit of a day where all of us can Thrive!

With Pride,

Fernando Z. López
Pronouns: they/them/theirs
Executive Director
San Diego Pride


About Fernando

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.