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    About Our Cover

    Lahaina was originally called Lele in Hawaiian, which means to jump or fly. The term then referred to the region jutting out from the sea, but now it captures the hopes of many who envision this once-beautiful beach town rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the devastating August 8–9, 2023, wildfire that as of this writing has destroyed at least 80% of Lahaina and led to the known deaths of 115 individuals. Hundreds more are still missing.

    Although Lahaina is over 2,350 miles away from San Francisco, the Bay Area’s ties to the Maui hub run deep and particularly within the LGBTQ+ community. The percentage of adults who identify as LGBTQ+ in the Hawaiian Islands has for decades been among the highest in all of the U.S., according to the census, Gallup surveys, and more. Our community’s history in the region goes back even further, to the pre-colonial era with the Māhū, or third gender Native Hawaiians and Tahitians. While the term as slang has be used pejoratively, the Māhū continue to hold a place of respect within Hawaiian culture and community.

    The Hawaiian concept of ‘ohana, or family, is universal. Just as we may maintain strong emotional ties to relatives who live away from the Bay Area, so too do we often feel connected to LGBTQ+ community members from outside of this region. The problems we face as well, ranging from an aging infrastructure to climate change, are also sadly all too familiar. In helping the survivors of Lahaina, we therefore help to strengthen our extended community and take steps toward addressing challenges that hit very close to home, thinking of the fires that in recent years tore through the California towns of Paradise, Concow, and much more.

    Via the organization Give ( ) and the Better Business Bureau ( ), donors can research and evaluate charitable organizations. Please also consider attending the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s ‘Ohana fundraiser at Lookout on Thursday, August 31, and supporting other local grassroots efforts to help out at this time of urgent need.

    About Our Cover
    Published on August 24, 2023