San Francisco has always been the cornerstone of LGBTQIA+ rights, with Castro Street having historic significance. It is no surprise then, that since recently anti-LGBTQ+ legislature has been passed nationwide banning drag shows and gender-affirming care, activists from The People’s March, the San Francisco Democratic Party, as well as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, organized a protest to turn something negative into a positive and bring awareness to the issues these laws would bring about in the states passing these bills that go as far as banning chosen pronouns and trans rights in schools and public libraries across the nation.
The protest in question was called “Drag Up! Fight Back!” and was focused on supporting and uplifting the trans and drag community. Starting at Civic Center, hundreds showed up to march – some dressed up in full drag with colorful wigs, make-up, and glam outfits with feather boas and headdresses; while others came dressed more casually but had just as much passion and cheer. As they walked towards Union Square, they chanted, “Trans rights are human rights,” and proclaimed that “we are joyful, we are not hateful.” It was a powerful message that they will not be silenced, but rather will continue to be loud and proud through happiness.
Hate crimes against drag queens have been on the rise, and this march was a way to remember those who have been symbols and pillars of strength in the community. Heklina, an infamous and iconic San Francisco-based drag performer who recently passed unexpectedly in the U.K., was honored at the event and therefore was very much so present in a spiritual sense. Many showed up in drag and with flags and signs, celebrating not only each other but pride in being genuinely and unapologetically oneself as well.
The issue with spreading false narratives and discriminating against trans people is that it sets a precedent for what the new normal is, and it goes against and invalidates their entire journey, one which is long and difficult both physically, mentally, and even legally speaking. There will always be those who will not agree and understand, and sadly at times that territory also comes with extremists and hatred though, good does prevail and we need to stand strong to show support to those who are not always able to speak up, without diminishing or taking away from their voice at the same time. Part of life is ever-growing and learning, and that includes listening and fully taking in what these minority groups go through and how fully this discrimination affects them. Though it sounds cliche, the tried and true best way to combat hate is through love, as it is a reminder to us all that it is what will prevail in the end.
If you or anyone you know need further resources, you can check out the following resources:
National Center for Transgender Equality: https://transequality.org
American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/diversity/sexual_orientation/resources/transgenderrights/
The Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/