The Dee Snider SF Pride Incident

So here’s the story of the Dee Snider SF Pride incident. 
One night at a party Suzanne Ford, the Executive Director of SF Pride, and I were talking about what the message for Pride should be this year. With the relentless march of anti-transgender legislation and transphobia in the rise, how would Pride respond? As we kicked around ideas, Suzanne was very adamant the slogan should be “NO!”  Simply NO! It needed to be short and powerful and very clear. 
She took that idea to her PR team and together they came up with an brilliant concept: “No! We’re Not Gonna Take It!”, the Twisted Sister anthem would be an amazing rallying cry. Dee Snider is a famous liberal rock star, a champion of freedom and individuality, and is on record as an ally for LGBTQIA rights. He’d even told Trump not to use the song. Was it possible to get Dee to sign on to this? If so, it would generate a ton of free publicity to carry the message of fighting transphobia and anti-LGBTQIA hate. He could be our own Kid Rock! 
Suzanne called Snider’s people and Snider loved the idea. He wanted to perform the song on the Main Stage at Pride—which is a big deal to have a cis heterosexual perform at the nation’s premier Pride event. A very big honor, really. 
I was given a chance to design the t-shirts for the campaign. My first design, made with the assistance of AI, was too colorful and expensive to print. So we went with a very graphic two color design. Eventually the final design was a mix of mine and someone else’s (art direction by committee 🙄). 
Everything was set to announce. A press conference would be held, CNN would be there, the Rolling Stone, it was gonna be great. 
Then, just two days before the announcement, Dee tweeted about his opposition to gender affirming health care for trans children. 💔🙄🤬
Now, this has been called transphobic, and for a lot of us it is. Dee claims this is just a “moderate” position. He supports trans people, he just doesn’t agree with this. And of course it’s being used to score points against the “intolerant left”. 
The thing is, this isn’t something to be negotiated. This is doctors following decade-long well-established medical protocols  to best care for trans children and the state has no business policing what children and their parents know best. The trans community stands up for our most vulnerable members. Forcing trans kids to go through the wrong puberty is cruel and dangerous. End of story. Allies who don’t understand that are not being allies.
Short of a complete retraction and apology there was no way Pride could go forward with the campaign. Even then…this is San Francisco, it wasn’t gonna fly. 

A long conversation was held between Dee and SF Pride, an educational discussion of the issue from a trans perspective. It seemed as if Dee got the message, but his public response was disappointing.
It’s a real shame. Video of a giant crowd of queer people screaming “We’re Not Gonna Take It!” would have been amazing to see. 

This isn’t a fight about semantics or who is transphobic and who is not. This is a fight for people’s lives and happiness.

This would have been amazing.
One of the graphic designs for the t-shirt.
My dream design, incorporating some drag energy, was made with Midjourney AI and finished in Adobe Illustrator.

Being seen and heard on Trans Day of Visibility 2017

I have been wanting to start doing more video and this was my first on Facebook to promote the Louise Lawrence Transgender Archive. I was ready to let more people see how I look and sound in the world beyond what they see in my well-crafted selfies. I loved it. My voice is one of my best assets and I love how I sound and act here. I love being me and it shows. People really get a lot out of it when we shine.

The Election

In the run up to the 2016 Election I was one of millions confident that Mrs. Clinton would win. I could not believe otherwise. This is what I posted on election Day in the Pantsuit Nation group. 

After many years of internal resistance I made the decision to transition genders this year at the age of 47. It’s been a difficult year for my family and I and while I am happy in my body and in my world for the first time in forever, life is uncertain and the future looks daunting.

I will vote for a woman President one month before my official name and gender change.

I do this in the East Bay of Northern California, where things are not perfect, but where I am legally protected from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, other public accommodations and certainly in the damn public restroom. Obviously, my tribe in other parts of the country are under siege and we will be among the first to suffer should this democracy fall into the hands of demagogues. Certainly, appointing liberal justices to the Supreme Court is alarmingly important to me.

Further, the recent increased visibility of trans people is in part fueled by Obamacare provisions that make life saving medicine and medical care for trans people easier to get and more affordable.

We are here and more are coming and we could use your help and support.

President Hillary Clinton’s success is vital for our very existence. Full stop.

I’ve been with her since they came after her for not baking cookies and I’ve watched in admiration as she has withstood all of their attacks and come out smiling and fighting and I cheer as she continually hands them their lunch.

Thank you for all of your stories and the hope you are giving all of us. This group has been one of the best things to come from this election.

Alas, I have no pants suit! You’ll forgive me, I’ve still got a lot of shopping yet to do.

Updating: I feel like I woke up this morning with two million new close friends. To step away from a lifetime of male privilege and ask to join a sisterhood in some ways feels like the height of hubris. I’ve learned from you all my life and I’m gratified by the welcome. I know we will dance in the streets tonite!


Alas, it was not to be. I posted again the next day. 

Yesterday I posted in this group in hope, optimism and a sense of shared purpose and destiny. To have that vanish so completely and be replaced by everything we all feel is truly beyond words.

I am transgender and I will not belabor my own fears today or the impact on my trans sisters and brothers, nor my Cis sisters, not my Muslim, Latino, sisters and brothers. We spoke so much about that leading up to yesterday and those arguments did not persuade a shocking number of people. All we can do now is hunker down and prepare to defend ourselves, families and communities and never give up our vision for America.

My first impulse was to stop transition for my family’s sake. My son….my young, sensitive, artistic little Jewish boy whom I must care for and protect…must he also live in this world with a transgender parent?

The joy and optimism that I began my transition with seems unsustainable today.

But being yourself and speaking your truth cannot stop when times get hard. Maybe that is when it matters most.

I took America at it’s word that I was free to be myself.

I will hold her to it.