Jaci was an unparalleled leader in the Philadelphia transgender community, and her impact on the recognition and rights of trans people in our city was enormous. Born into nightmarish circumstances, gone from home while still a child, living on the streets and surviving however she could, Jaci nevertheless rose above all of it to lead numerous efforts to assure that transgender people were treated with the dignity and respect they deserved.
Both in her role at FIGHT and as an individual, Jaci personally mentored dozens of young trans women, as well as being a leader for a broader community of trans, gay and questioning men, gender-non-conforming people, and straight allies. She saw to it that many got the opportunities that she never had, for decent housing, education, and the support of friends and advocates. She had a global knowledge of the service system in Philadelphia enabling her to direct anyone in need to exactly who could help them. And when people needed more personal help, which they were often reluctant to ask for “officially”, she could provide assistance outside of conventional channels. Because of Jaci Adams, the Police Department in Center City and now citywide transformed its practices in working with the trans community.
Because of Jaci Adams many agencies in Philadelphia have developed and maintained programs serving the trans community. Because of the influence of Jaci Adams over many years, all of us grew in awareness and understanding of a vibrant and creative community.