Guest Opinion: Reflecting on 2022 as we forge ahead into the new year

  • by Nguyen Pham
  • Wednesday January 11, 2023
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SF Pride board President Nguyen Pham. Photo: Courtesy SF Pride
SF Pride board President Nguyen Pham. Photo: Courtesy SF Pride

2022 was a year of incredible highs and regressive lows, exhilaration and devastation, and many measures in between. As an American, I am alarmed by a widespread backlash created by deliberately discriminatory actions to roll back the human rights of LGBTQ+ people at the state level. In the lead up to November's midterm elections, Republican candidates across the country ramped up LGBTQ+ bashing rhetoric and anti-trans hate messaging, equating gender-affirming health care and medical services with child abuse. From harassment at drag queen story hours to white nationalists arrested at Pride events and to the unfathomably tragic Club Q massacre, regressive policies have had real life consequences.

On a local level, the news has not been quite as bleak — we have seen tangible strides toward addressing injustices against marginalized members of our community. The launch of a guaranteed income pilot program for transgender residents put San Francisco at the forefront of policies that sustain the most vulnerable among us while paving the way for increased inclusion.

As president of SF Pride, I am energized by the steps we are collectively taking to enshrine radical inclusion in everything we do. While we are celebrated throughout the world for the SF Pride Parade and Celebration, we are striving toward making an impact beyond that one storied weekend of the year. Making an impact on a consistent basis is our resolution for 2023.

SF Pride is embracing the concept of living "Pride 365," in essence, expanding the model of Pride beyond that one iconic annual weekend. Programs that translate this concept into actionable reality include our annual SF Pride Ken Jones Awards reception and fundraiser as well as our history-making SF Pride Pro-Am Golf Tournament, which remains the first and only LGBTQ+ golf event endorsed by the PGA.

Diversifying revenue is another priority, with an aim toward individual and community giving to balance out the corporate support that has been a key part of the event's fiscal equation, and in keeping SF Pride a free event for everyone. Activities scheduled to take place throughout the year will support the Pride 365 model, divesting Pride from being anchored to only one weekend in June.

In the face of the onslaught of anti-trans legislation, our organization is focused on showing stronger solidarity against legislative and corporate efforts to harm or erase the communities they are sworn to protect and represent. Giving voice to the voiceless and showing solidarity with critical community causes, including trans affirmation, reproductive rights, and economic justice are all key components of the Board's collective mission.

This inclusivity speaks to the theme selected by members for 2023: "Looking Back and Moving Forward." SF Pride's renewed focus is on honoring those who fought before us, those on whose shoulders we stand today; forging on our path ahead bravely, harmoniously, and in solidarity with one another. As we gear up for our annual marquee event, we are proud to serve as a beacon for the LGBTQ+ community we serve every day of the year.

SF Pride is already well into the planning stages for the 2023 parade and celebration, which promises to be a reimagined experience all around, with emphasis on local voices and talent that bring vibrancy to the Bay Area's arts and culture. Making the event more accessible is another priority as we focus on welcoming people of all income and ability levels.

In 2023, we are very excited about the return of the second fully in-person SF Pride Parade and Celebration since lockdown. We acknowledge and are grateful for SF Pride's role as an important driver of San Francisco's economic vibrancy and vitality, and part of our purview is to reimagine Pride as being truly and radically of, by, and for our communities.

Nguyen Pham, a gay man, is president of the San Francisco Pride Board of Directors. For more information about SF Pride, go to its website.

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