Here’s a story we love to hear: beloved drag diva becomes star on RuPaul’s Drag Race; comes out as a transgender woman; climbs political ladder in the cutthroat world of San Francisco politics!
It should be a movie.
Honey Mahogany, the San Francisco native who came to national attention when she competed on RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2013 continued to make news long after she left the show as a beloved performer and community member in the Bay City working as a fierce activist for all the various communities she represents. The UC-Berkeley graduate has been using her skills working at San Francisco City Hall for the last 3 years and now she seeks to become the Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party.
More via press release:
San Francisco – Honey Mahogany, who currently holds a vice-chair seat in her local County Central Committee, has announced that she will be seeking the role of Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party when current Party Chair David Campos vacates the seat to pursue his new role as Vice-Chair of the State Party. Mahogany is a black trans person and would be the first black person to lead the San Francisco Democratic Party in modern history as well as the first trans person in the United States to chair any local Democratic party.
“As a young kid growing up in San Francisco, seeing a trans person lead the Democratic party would have been so meaningful” said Mahogany. “San Francisco is a beacon of progress for so many other cities in America. With me as Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, we have an opportunity to show the rest of the country that San Francisco lives its values; that we embrace our trans brothers and sisters; and that we support black trans leadership.”
Honey was born in San Francisco to East-African political refugees. Honey’s father worked as a cab driver and Honey’s mother raised two children while putting herself through school and working full-time. Honey graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep before attending the University of Southern California, and then UC Berkeley where she graduated with a Master’s in Social Work.
Mahogany began making a name for herself as a drag performer and singer in San Francisco’s nightlife during the late 2000’s. She garnered international attention in 2013 when she became the first drag performer from San Francisco to compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race. “Drag Race was a great learning experience for me,” said Mahogany. “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.”
Mahogany is known locally for her activism and advocacy. She served as President of the Harvey Milk Club—the LGBTQ Democratic Club founded by Harvey Milk two years before he was assassinated—where she led the club at a time when there was a highly contentious mayor’s race after the death of Mayor Ed Lee. In 2017 she co-founded the Transgender Cultural District, the world’s first officially recognized transgender neighborhood located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, and in the same year saved San Francisco’s oldest queer bar, the Stud, from closure by forming a worker-cooperative with other drag queens, DJs, and bartenders and creating the countries first co-operatively owned gay venue. In 2018, Mahogany was appointed to the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, and then in 2020 won election to that body and earned a vice chair position, making her the first black trans person elected in the State of California.
Mahogany has worked in San Francisco’s City Hall for the last three years serving as a Legislative Aide to Matt Haney, the progressive elected official who represents San Francisco’s Downtown area. During her time in City Hall, Mahogany has helped pass legislation creating universal access to mental health care in San Francisco, helped establish a Department of Sanitation & Streets in the city, fought to save San Francisco nightlife, helped coordinate a COVID-19 response in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, and advocated for more police accountability for excessive use of force.
“I continue to be inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement that has led people across the country to come together, stand up against injustice, and make their voices heard,” said Mahogany. “My hope is that my work and leadership will help bring people together in San Francisco at a time when this city needs it most, and that having a black trans person as head of the San Francisco Democratic Party will make a statement about San Francisco’s values at a time when state legislatures across the country are pushing through so many anti-trans laws. ”
If elected as chair Mahogany wants to focus on helping a city that was already struggling before the pandemic. “A Republican hasn’t been elected in San Francisco in a really long time—thank god—so that means that the Democratic Party has an opportunity here to show the rest of the country what a Democrat led city can do,” said Mahogany.
“Homelessness, lack of affordable housing, rising overdose deaths, and violence against our Asian elders are all issues the party needs to help tackle. I’m ready to get to work.”