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Transgender Candidate of Color Running for San Francisco Democratic Party Chair Breaks Barriers

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- A local figure who came to wider fame as a drag star was breaking barriers in Bay Area politics Thursday after she announced her candidacy to be the next chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party.

Now known as a transgender activist, political figure, businesswoman and singer, Honey Mahogany first gained recognition as a drag performer when she was an undergraduate student at USC.

She later attended grad school at UC Berkeley, where she co-founded an annual drag competition in 2008, regularly performing at lesbian clubs in Oakland.

Five years later, Mahogany was one of 14 contestants chosen to compete for the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race in 2013.

Now it looks like Mahogany could end up being the first transgender person of color to lead San Francisco's Democratic Party. She announced her campaign for the chair Thursday.

"I learned this from the sisters: sprinkle a little glitter on it," said Mahogany.

Adding some sparkle, sass, and flair has always been a part of Mahogany's style.

"To have a transgender black woman represent the SF Democratic Party sends a clear message as who we are as a city," said current Party Chair David Campos.

Mahogany is used to being in front of an audience. The co-owner of The Stud said performing in the world of drag -- "being fierce, funny, and cut down by other queers" -- pretty much sums up San Francisco politics.

"I'm proud to have the support of my community, to have the opportunity to take on the mantle. And I hope that this is just the beginning and that we'll see many more people like me here in the future," said Mahogany at the public event announcing her candidacy.

"It's checking off the box of black person getting into this office, a trans person getting into this office, a drag queen, a queer person," said San Francisco drag queen Juanita More.

"She's going to bring so much energy creatively and inclusion to the democratic party," said SF Board of Supervisors member Matt Haney, who Mahogany has worked with as a legislative aide.

What began as a drag name -- based on the two Revlon makeup colors that come closest to her skin tone -- now represents much more than that she says, a color spectrum, a sweetness and strength.

"It's time we nurture a society where we are led by us," said Jupiter Paratha with the Transgender District.

"We have someone who knows what it means to represent so many communities that have been discriminated against and left out of the political process for so long," said San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

The official vote by the San Francisco Democratic Party committee members is next month.

Current party chair David Campos said no other candidates he knows of has indicated running against Mahogany.

Mahogany told KPIX she also wants to run for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors one day.

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