HARVEY MILK WOULD BE PROUD –
Nov. 9, 2023 – Tracie’s story is one of gender transition, performing as a showgirl, sex work, addiction, sobriety and activism. It would be impossible to capture it all in one column. Thankfully, she’s shared her story in a number of ways, including for the University of Minnesota’s Tretter Transgender Oral History Project.
She grew up as the “invisible youngest child” in St. Louis. In 1969, the same year as the Stonewall riots, she began to live her truth. By 1971, she ended up in San Francisco. During her time there, Harvey Milk was elected to the Board of Supervisors and tragically assassinated. The history of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement was being written and she was focused on finding community with other “femme queens” in the queer nightlife scene.
Eventually, Tracie relocated to San Diego and life on the street led to her being arrested. She avoided prison but served six months in county jail. That served as the wakeup call that led to her journey of sobriety. Thanks to Stepping Stone of San Diego, one of the nation’s only alcohol and drug treatment programs specializing in LGBTQ+ care, she was able to get the affirming support she needed. That eventually led to a new identity: advocate.