By Tracy Garza

Last month, the Trans 100 released its 2014 list of a hundred outstanding advocates and leaders from the trans community across the United States.

The release of the 2014 Trans 100 would have been exciting enough on its own, even if I had not been one of the 100 leaders who are included this year. It is really a thrill to see so many people I know (and in some cases also work with) getting some long overdue recognition.

As many longtime advocates know, it is not at all uncommon for many of us to work diligently over years, and sometimes decades, without achieving any kind of formal recognition outside the local scope of the work we do. This is why it is so vitally important that we, as a community, reach out across the country and give some much-needed recognition to lesser-known activists, along with those whose names are already known across the country.

On a more local level, it is also heartening to see that this year’s honorees in the Trans 100 from the San Francisco Bay Area were overwhelmingly trans people of color. Even though in this day and age we are lucky to have highly visible TPOC among our advocates – such as Laverne Cox, Janet Mock and Carmen Carrera, to name a few – there are also many of us who have not yet received even a fraction of the attention.

The attention and recognition that comes with being named in the Trans 100 is vitally important because it is a small form of encouragement that many of us badly need as we face the grim realities of many everyday situations that our communities face, and where violence, discrimination, harassment, lack of access to adequate health care and unemployment are still far too common.

I’m very proud of the fact that my bio includes the names of some powerful organizations from the Bay Area with which I am presently involved, in addition to the Transgender Law Center: the San Francisco Trans March (the biggest trans pride event  of its kind in the world); Lyon-Martin Health Services, one of the best queer-focused clinics in the U.S. and one that serves a considerable number of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals; El/La Para Translatinas as well as the LGBT Advisory Committee of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

I share the honor of recognition by the Trans 100 with all of the wonderful folks who have given me their support over the years; I am certain that most, if not all of them, are eventually going to share the same honor with me and other Trans 100 honorees. We are all working really hard to help our community and share a sense of common purpose when it comes to transgender rights, regardless of the organizations we are affiliated with.