A year happens weekly at PGN. Each week stories centering the LGBTQ community come to light, and at the end of 52 weeks, it’s hard to step back and see the year as a whole. But 2019 had its milestones, large and small. It marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and saw the onset of a presidential run by a gay candidate. Four states passed conversion therapy protections. Mayor Jim Kenney signed a package of inclusivity bills, proposed by Helen Gym. Amber Hikes left the Office of LGBT Affairs for the ACLU. Mazzoni unionized, the Gloria Casarez Residence opened and much else.
This year also held grief. Philadelphia lost our own Tameka “Michelle” Washington, and the country lost 22 transgender folks to violence, most of them trans women of color. We lost Dawn Munro, Tony Lombardo, Alicia Simmons, Ted Faigle, Barbara Hammer, Barbra Casbar Siperstein and many others.
We have made it through three years under the Trump administration rolling back our rights, but we have fought hard to shore up local protections across the state. We’re experiencing an impeachment. We’ve seen victories in federal courts and fear pending decisions of the Supreme Court.
This community has shown resilience, strength and kindness in the face of many adversities. Every day, I am thankful to be a part of a community that is so generous and thoughtful, politically engaged and passionate. I also want to be a part of a community that moves forward, extends itself more, continues to connect and realizes that not all under the LGBTQ umbrella are faced with the same challenges.
Let’s look toward the margins of the marginalized. White cis folks do not face the same challenges as trans and nonbinary folks of color. Sexism plagues women and many nonbinary folks in our community. Transmisogyny impacts trans women very specifically, pair that with racism, and find even more barriers to equity. HIV does not impact all equally either, men having sex with men and transwomen still represents those most highly impacted. We are all faced with unique challenges, and it is our job at PGN to report on each of these individual struggles as well as those we struggle with together.
In the new year, I look forward to listening to and learning from this community. Whether in celebration of excellence or mourning, PGN will continue to deliver the LGBTQ+ community the news they deserve.