Updated: May 20, 2019
Deja Lynn Alvarez is looking to become a City Council member of Philadelphia. If elected, she would become the first openly-trans candidate to be elected come the May 21st election.
Bullying - Sex - Activism
Deja interviewed with The Inquirer to tell her story. Deja Lynn Alvarez was born in Chicago, the year she asked to be kept confidential and her former name is still MIA. Alvarez moved to Detroit where spoke on how she was bullied due to her "flamboyant" ways. She began to take an unusual turn from what you would think a potential city council member would be.
“I started hanging with an older crowd. I started doing drugs. I started drinking, running away from home, doing all these things. Then I met a guy, and he brought me up to Philadelphia for my first time,” she recalled. “I saw people like me. I knew that’s who I was. I saw trans women walking around the street. I didn’t know why they were walking around the street, but here they all were gathered. I’d never seen anybody else like me.”
In Philadelphia Deja could not find a job and so she became a sex worker. It was when she did that that she found her passion for activism. In 2000, Deja was harassed by a policemen. This was not unusual as she was constantly harassed, however Deja became so vocal on the matter that the Philadelphia police agreed to do training sensitivity.
"That was kind of where it began," said Alvarez.
Deja Lynn Alvarez is one busy woman. On her website you can find all that she has done. To name a few she was/is:
System navigator with Club 1509, an HIV prevention program funded by Philadelphia’s department of health
Commissioner on the Mayor’s Commission of LGBT Affairs
Member of the Pennsylvania HIV Planning Committee
Co-founder of the Trans Wellness Program at Mazzoni Center
Awarded the Jaci Adams award from Philly Pride
Person of the Year from the Philadelphia Gay News
Alvarez is looking to help small business, individuals and the overall community. On her site, she writes, "Like many Philadelphians, I’ve utilized our city’s services. I’ve been a part of the system, both as a recipient and as someone who has worked on the inside.
Philadelphians deserve so much more, but our systems hold us back as a city. Inefficient management of city programs prevents both citizens and small businesses from taking advantage of the opportunities our city has to offer, and because of this, both people and businesses suffer."
She is looking to offer training to recovering philadelphians to get them back into the workplace. She is also looking to moderate taxes to help small businesses grow and create a community of educated and trained individuals to increase the workplace. In confidence she writes, "By improving government efficiency and strengthening our economy we can - within seven years - slash unemployment, eliminate street homelessness, improve our addiction crisis, and make Philadelphia look and feel like a world-class city."