Woke Culture

San Francisco Mayor Appoints Drag Queen to Head Office of Transgender Initiatives

San Francisco native Honey Mahogany speaks during a demonstration outside of the San Francisco district attorney’s office in San Francisco, Calif., May 17, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

San Francisco Mayor London Breed appointed drag performer “Honey Mahogany” as director of the city’s Office of Transgender Initiatives, which went into effect Monday.

“Right now, across the country, our Transgender and LGBTQ+ culture and community is under attack, but in San Francisco we continue to embrace and celebrate the amazing individuals and organizations who through their advocacy and art have contributed to our history around social justice and equity,” Breed said in a press release. 

San Francisco native Honey Mahogany, who earned degrees from the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley, gained national attention by competing in the fifth season of the television series RuPaul’s Drag Race. In 2020, Mahogany became the “first non-male identified transgender person elected to the body that oversees the San Francisco Democratic Party,” according to the Bay Area Reporter, and became chair of the party in 2021.

Mahogany, who was been an activist for over two decades, is a “founding queen” of Drag Story Hour and was one of three “black trans women” in 2017 to found The Transgender District, a legally recognized Cultural District in San Francisco, according to Breed’s announcment.

Drag Race was a great learning experience for me,” Mahogany said in 2021. “Having to work all day in heels, perform, be funny, be fierce, and face challenges all while being cut down by other queens … it’s basically San Francisco politics.”

“As the transgender community is a marginalized and disenfranchised community — both in San Francisco and worldwide — we are creating an environment that affirms the lives and authenticity of transgender people living in a world that consistently tells us we should not exist,” reads the website for The Transgender District in San Francisco.

The district’s community programs include the “Name and Gender Marker Change Clinics” and the “Transgender District’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator program,” which provides a seed grant of $10,000 to “Transgender and Queer People of Color who aspire to start a business project.”

The Office of Transgender Initiatives, founded in 2017, “advocates for and uplifts the voices and needs of transgender, gender non-conforming, intersex, and 2-spirit (TGNCI2S) San Franciscans by acting as a bridge between communities and local government in the pursuit of equity.”

The office includes the Transgender Advisory Committee. Members of the committee include Yuan Wang,  a self-described “non-binary Chinese-American organizer” who has “provided language justice support to the Sex Worker’s Project,” and Sean Dorsey, a self-described “white, transgender, queer, disabled/Hard-of-hearing choreographer, dancer, writer, educator, and activist” who founded “Fresh Meat Productions” to “invest in the creative expression and cultural leadership of trans and gender-nonconforming communities.”

The Office of Transgender Initiatives has been housed in the San Francisco City Administrator’s Office since its founding. This summer, it will move under the city’s Human Rights Commission, which “works in service of the City’s anti-discrimination laws to further racial solidarity, equity, and healing.”

In 2022, San Francisco launched the Guaranteed Income for Trans People program, which will provide low-income transgender San Franciscans with $1,200 each month for up to 18 months. 

Abigail Anthony is the current Collegiate Network Fellow. She graduated from Princeton University in 2023 and is a Barry Scholar studying Linguistics at Oxford University.
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