Kimberly Sawyers, Mission’s trans auto mechanic

Kimberly Sawyers, Mission’s trans auto mechanic

San Francisco Vehicle Operates, a 3,000-square-foot motor vehicle fix and upkeep shop with a baby-blue storefront, is hard to overlook if you stroll down Valencia Road. The shop, situated at 21st and Valencia streets in the heart of the Mission, is owned by Kimberly Sawyers, who is also hard to forget: She’s a 38-12 months-outdated transgender automobile mechanic with shorter pink hair. 

Sawyers enjoys her occupation as a community mechanic.

“I can not stroll down any avenue in this community and not go, ‘you need brakes, you will need to simply call me for an oil change’,” she says. 

“It’s so fun strolling around the neighborhood, since I see all my customers, and I see all the individuals that I operate with every single working day, and they are all suitable here.”

A garage with two cars on a lift and a vintage car on the ground.
Inside of San Francisco Vehicle Functions. Photograph by Xueer Lu. Dec. 19, 2023.

Nonetheless, it was in no way simple for Sawyers to live as freely as she does now, sporting her name, Kimberly, on her function uniform whilst functioning an automobile mechanic store.

Rising up in Clovis, a conservative city in close proximity to Fresno, Sawyers realized she was queer at a younger age.  

“Lots of hefty Christianity, conservatism, you know, ‘marriage is one particular person, one particular woman’,” Sawyers recalled. “It’s like a very little piece of Oklahoma fell out of the sky in the middle of California.” 

When she experimented with to occur out to her spouse and children at the age of 13, she ended up with 3 broken ribs and a black eye. “The maximum-close use of anyone there is, is to be varsity, like football stud,” Sawyers said, recalling the hyper-conservatism she grew up in. “If you’re everything other than that, you are variety of useless.”