Why Lavender Phoenix?
Our new name, Lavender Phoenix, is a commitment to our past and to our future. It is an homage to Lavender Godzilla and Phoenix Rising, the first newsletters created by-and-for our trans, queer, lesbian, and gay API elders in the 1980s here in the Bay Area. In them, our elders challenged isolation, connected and celebrated each other, and kept each other safe. They offered spaces to build real relationships; they organized potlucks to gather over home-cooked food; and they grieved community members and chosen family lost to the government’s neglect at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis. They committed to each other and our community’s future, even when it seemed impossible. We are proud to call ourselves Lavender Phoenix because it reminds us of the generations of trans and queer APIs who fought for us to thrive, and the generations we are fighting for too.
Organizing as Lavender Phoenix will mean so much more than just the words we call ourselves. Choosing Lavender Phoenix means an everyday commitment to remember our history, and all those who dreamt and fought to make our lives possible. It means that every decision we make should reflect the abundance, interdependence, and safety we want to see in our world. For us, Lavender Phoenix is a name, it is a prayer, and it is a promise.
Why a New Name?
In these years, our work has transformed. We’ve shifted from responsive advocacy to revolutionary grassroots organizing. We’ve grown from a small team of volunteers to a member-led organization with five full-time staff members. We’ve emphasized the leadership of young trans people, built powerful networks of grassroots fundraising, and rooted ourselves in abolition and healing justice. We no longer see “equality” as our direction: instead, we are building a future with justice, liberation, and our evergreen values of abundance, interdependence, and vulnerability as our North Star.
In 2018, our Core volunteer leaders realized that our name no longer reflected our values, our purpose, and our direction. We immediately embarked on a years-long journey with our friends at Resource Media to choose a new name. We chose Lavender Phoenix after a two-year process that involved over 200 original ideas and a community-wide vote.