Over the decades, the anti-LGBTQ establishment has used “protecting youth,” marriage equality, military service, and bathroom bills as wedge issues to divide our country, drive radical anti-LGBTQ folks to the polls, and even disunite our own community. It’s an election year, so we’re here again. 2022 has already seen 238 anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation filed, 154 targeting our transgender siblings. We are fighting back.
Trans inclusion is part of everything we do because it is who we are. Here at San Diego Pride, 54% of our staff identify as trans and/or nonbinary. While I am the organization’s first nonbinary executive director, we were one of the first organizations to intentionally include the “T” in LGBTQ in the 90s, a change that took harsh criticism at the time. For two decades the Pride Festival has included a Trans Pride Village with resources and programming designed by and for our trans community.
From Laverne Cox keynoting our Spirit of Stonewall Rally, to trans performing artists like Mila Jam, Jake Zyrus, Kim Petras on our Mainstage, and our transgender veterans and servicemembers leading our Parade, we counteract these divisive and dehumanizing anti-transgender initiatives and narratives by elevating voices, stories, and the exceptional talent of our transgender and nonbinary community.
All that said, we need more transgender people in positions of leadership and power. We must continue to invest in our transgender youth and adults to help them excel in the classroom and lead in the board room. Over the last several years San Diego Pride has greatly expanded our youth leadership development programs and funding for the Tracie Jada O’Brien Transgender Student Scholarship, two programs that help to prepare the next generation of trans leaders. Tomorrow, during Trans Day of Empowerment, we will give out 25 scholarships to trans students attending everything from community colleges to Ivy League schools, bringing the grand total to 147 scholarships. Our collective fight against anti-trans issues and policies doesn’t always mean direct confrontation. It also means playing the long game, investing in our trans youth, showcasing trans-joy, uplifting trans-brilliance, and cultivating generations of trans-excellence. Trans liberation is within reach if we work for it. In response to these attacks on trans youth, as we return to our first Pride Parade in 3 years this July, we are thrilled to announce that this year’s Community Grand Marshal is our Trans Youth. They will lead the Pride Parade this year. They are our present and future. I can’t wait to see you all there as we uplift trans Justice with Joy!
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.