In Case You Missed It: See and Be Seen – San Francisco Bay Times

By Joanie Juster–

One of the first lessons I learned as a budding activist so many years ago was the importance of visibility. In the late 1980s, a colleague saw me participate in the annual Harvey Milk and George Moscone Candlelight Walk. The next day he told me how moved he was to see me, a straight woman, walking alongside the gay community. He told me that seeing me walk inspired him to overcome his own fears and come out of the closet. And that’s when I realized that every pair of boots on the ground counts: you never know how talking, getting up, walking will make a difference to someone else. Visibility matters.

TDOV: not just one day, but every day

Transgender Awareness Day is therefore always relevant because the need for visibility – to see trans people as fully human, as valuable parts of our lives, our communities, our society and our culture – is important every day. , and not just in March. 31.

Celebrating and amplifying the lives and achievements of trans people is especially important at this time in the face of an unprecedented barrage of legislative attacks against trans people, and trans youth in particular. Since January 1 alone, at least 38 states have proposed or passed 196 laws that can only be described as hateful and risk causing serious harm. By denying not just civil rights but the very humanity of trans people, these legislatures are doing their best to erase trans people and make them scapegoats for any perceived ills in society. And why? Simply to score cheap political points.

On Transgender Awareness Day, Metro Weekly’s Randy Shulman posted an excellent interview with Olivia Hunt, Policy Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, in which they highlighted the need for allies to speaking on behalf of trans people: “…one of the things that has driven much of this action over the past six years, as these anti-trans bills have grown and grown, is this belief that lawmakers have that they can just get away with it because nobody cares. Vocally showing them that people care is one of the most powerful things we can do.

“When you’re one percent of the population, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone. And getting a broad spectrum of support, especially from cisgender and straight people, and not just support from the broader LGBTQ community, is really key to showing that our lives matter and that our lives matter.

Here in the Bay Area, we may not be able to vote in the states that produce these heinous bills, but we can everything stand up and speak out, as allies and friends, in support of trans people, and let them know we see them and appreciate them.

Read the full article here, and at the end is a link to support the great work of NCTE with a donation: https://tinyurl.com/TDOVally

And now some good news on trans rights

Just when we thought seeing images of Amy Schneider (the trans woman who recently rose to fame on Peril!) speaking from the White House Press Room podium was pretty much the coolest thing to ever happen on TDOV, an email arrived from Olivia Hunt (yes, the same Olivia Hunt from the article previous) from the National Center for Transgender Equality, celebrating that the Biden administration has announced major policy reforms regarding passports, TSA, Social Security, and more that will improve the lives of trans people in many ways. The NCTE and others have been fighting for these reforms for years.
https://tinyurl.com/TransVictory

Take her to the street

After two years of pandemic-induced isolation, it’s good to see people again, not only in restaurants and parks, but also at protests and rallies.

On March 21, HIV activists held an HIV rally and Die-In on the steps of San Francisco City Hall to draw attention to the fact that HIV services had suffered in the two years that COVID has stretched our city’s healthcare system to its limits. Keynote speaker Dr. Monica Gandhi, Medical Director of Ward 86, the HIV Clinic at Zuckerberg General Hospital in San Francisco, drew attention to some alarming setbacks in HIV over the past two years, including the reduced HIV testing by 44% and decreased clinic visits, which interrupted early testing and treatment. Organizers are working to restore funding and services to the city budget.
https://tinyurl.com/289f29dd

And on March 27, housing activists and community members gathered at Harvey Milk Plaza to highlight the precarious situation in which so many San Francisco tenants find themselves, especially older tenants in apartment buildings. controlled rent. While the initial impetus for the rally was due to iconic LGBTQ activist Cleve Jones being evicted from his long-term apartment in Castro by a new landlord who is trying to raise his rent by more than 117% (yes, you read that number right), speaker after rally speaker talked about the need to reform existing laws that make it like the Ellis and Costa-Hawkins law that make tenants so vulnerable to eviction. Worried about your own housing situation? First step: know your rights. There are resources available for tenants; the SF Tenants Union, and its excellent Tenants Handbook, updated annually, is a great place to start, as are Tenants Together and the San Francisco Community Tenants Union.

Support for Ukraine

As business and celebrations return to San Francisco, Ukraine still suffers horrific attacks, deprivation and misery. Faced with such urgent needs, it is heartening to see so many people and organizations mobilizing to raise funds to help the Ukrainian people. Thank you to all: organizers, donors and companies who donate space and goods to make these fundraisers possible. While we have all been strained by two years of pandemic, when the need is so dire, the community opens its hearts and its wallets.

The Rainbow World Fund, a local non-profit organization, has raised significant funds to support the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine. Their emergency fund helps already vulnerable LGBTQ+ Ukrainians, who are at even greater risk of further marginalization and scapegoating. They finance their evacuations from kyiv, Kharkiv and other cities to Lviv and Poland. The funds are used to meet humanitarian needs related to the difficulties of war – food, emergency supplies, medical care, communication, transport, etc. Because RWF is an all-volunteer organization, 100% of these donations will fund these vital actions. . Specify “Ukraine” when donating online here: https://tinyurl.com/346brm8m

Easter with the Sisters

It’s not like you could have missed the news, but the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are bringing their famous Easter celebration back to Mission Dolores on Easter Sunday, April 17. Join the fun, but while you’re at it, why not help out the Good Sisters by donating, or volunteering, or both? They would like love to have your help, because extravaganzas like this don’t just happen at the wave of a wand. Join in, lend a hand, and enjoy one of San Francisco’s greatest traditions. You can donate your time and/or money here: https://www.thesisters.org/

And one last reminder…

COVID-19 is still with us, folks. Keep up your vaccinations, keep washing your hands, keep protecting your health and the health of others. We all want to enjoy seeing each other again, but make sure you do it safely.

Joanie Juster is a long-time community volunteer, activist and ally.

Posted on April 7, 2022

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