On Transgender Day of Visibility, a call to fight rise of anti-trans legislation
SAN FRANCISCO -- Members of the transgender community came together on Friday for an International Transgender Day of Visibility panel discussion at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco to raise awareness about the struggles for those who live abroad as well as trans people trying to come to the U.S.
"We want to see ourselves in positions like anybody else, we deserve an equal chance -- an equitable chance -- at leading, at being a part of city government, at being leaders of organizations and corporations," said Joaquin Guerrero, a trans-rights advocate who spoke at the event. "I've gone through a lot of things, you know, having immigrated twice in my life and then transitioning in my late 20s."
Guerrero is from Mexico and moved to Canada before coming to the U.S. He now is on the Homeless Oversight Commission for San Francisco's Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. The panel discussed the worsening situation across the country as more than 385 bills have been introduced by state legislatures restricting LGBT rights, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
"I'm able to use that experience of positivity and growth and healing and success to where I am now and model that for other people who are currently really struggling under this anti-trans legislation," Guerrero said. "It wasn't until I had my gender-affirming surgery that I felt like I started living my life at my full potential."
Friday's event was organized by Parivar Bay Area and other local LGBT nonprofits. The focus was also on the global south, which includes nations in Latin America, Asia and Africa which share similar socio-economic struggles and political obstacles.
"Much of what is happening right now is an effort to intimidate trans people to make us believe that there is no place for us in this world," said Jupiter Peraza, one of the organizers of the event who now works for Parivar Bay Area. She has taken on other responsibilities in the community, including working for the city's Transgender District. "We are not going to be frightened, we are not going to be intimidated."
Citing recent attacks toward the trans community, Peraza says the climate has deteriorated in just a year. She believes it is now more important than ever to elevate voices who can bring hope and comfort to those why may be scared to show their true identity.
"I am working to preserve my peace and that I am always looking to myself and my community with love, appreciation and gratitude."
As the culture becomes more politicized, these trans leaders say reminding each other of their resilience helps them to move forward and prepare for the fight ahead to gain more rights.
"I know that there are hardships happening right now and that we will continue to fight but also we will continue to experience joy and find that joy in each other," Guerrero said.
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