Thursday, April 10, 2014

Q&A with Alexa Rodriguez LHP April's Newsletter InformateDC


Q&A with Alexa Rodriguez

LHP April's Newsletter InformateDC



Alexa, could you tell us a bit about yourself? Where are you from? What motivated you to come to DC?
Well I’m a 37 year old transgender woman, and I’m originally from Usulután El Salvador. I arrived to Maryland, on January 2009. 12 years ago I converted and have been an activist looking out for the rights of HIV+ people and the Trans community. That’s what I’ve been doing here almost the entire time I’ve been in this country.
What motivated to come to DC was the fear of living in my country, then and now, with transphobia. Since I was an activist I was afraid to continue in my native city, since the authorities and laws in my country don’t really protect us. Even if there are protections written on papers, they don’t protect us. Here I found liberty after been awarded political asylum because of my sexual identity.

What are you doing now?
After working as a volunteer, and meeting a lot of beautiful people in the area, today I am the Youth Center Transgender Program Coordinator at Empodérate! Youth Center, from La Clínica del Pueblo.

How did you decide to work at Empodérate! Youth Center?
After doing a lot of training thanks to Identity Inc. (my former job), and Empodérate!, and receiving a lot of support from my own community, La Clínica del Pueblo opened this new position in the center. I was chosen among many people who applied for the position, which I now very thankfully hold; I plan to give all of me for the betterment of the Trans community.

Which are some of the services offered by Empodérate!?
Empodérate! is a youth center for Trans and Gay Latinos between the ages of 18 to 29, including their partners and friends.
We offer:
·         HIV testing every day:  Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Tuesday and Thursdays from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM. The testing is completely free and confidential.
·         Weekly meeting for Gay or Bisexual guys and Trans girls.
·         Individual counseling.
·         Social activities
·         Leadership retreats
·         Movie nights
·         Dance and sewing classes
·         Sport activities and physical conditioning
·         Monthly birthday celebrations
·         Community participation
·         Reference services

How does it feel to be an example to the HIV community? or, How does it feel to be an example to other Transgender people with HIV?
Well I feel honored, because a lot of the HIV+ girls don’t feel comfortable talking to me, and in some way my personal and professional experience allows them to move forward when they lose hope. I always talk about my arrival to the clinic as a client for the HIV+ services, and how now I’m part of the staff. I’m proud of being able to serve my community after the clinic served me. 

What would you say to your 21 year-old self?
At that age I was diagnosed with HIV. I would tell myself that life is beautiful, and that we have to live it responsibly. That we shape our own destiny, and we should never give up. There is always someone ready to help.

How does it feel to work with Latino LGBT GLBT History Project?
It’s a great opportunity to let my ideas flourish. Even if sometimes I have very crazy ideas, they are always heard.  I felt welcomed since the moment I started collaborating with José Gutierrez, and also today under the leadership of David Pérez. I always feel that they listen and respect me. The call is for all of us and anyone that wants to join. The doors are always open to all Trans girls.

How was living in El Salvador?
It was very exciting to working for the LGBT HIV+ community. I grew a lot as an activist, and I learned a lot from my HIV+ sisters and brothers. They are still in my thoughts and life plans.
At the same time, the uncertainty of not having the government’s and the authorities’ protection made me live with fear. Today there are a lot of organizations that have done a lot, but there is a lot more to be done. I have to put my two cents from where I am, so that someday we can live free in El Salvador. 

Given the opportunity, how would you work with the Gay community?
Work to unify all of the communities, I believe that unity makes strength...!
And keep creating always more youth leaders so that they can continue our work.




Thursday, January 17, 2013

LGBT Latino Youth On Why the First-Ever Latino Institute is Important

By Ivan Aguilar, a Maryland-based youth advocate, a volunteer for the Latino LGBT History Project, and DC Latino Pride planning committee member

(Cross-posted from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Blog)


My name is Ivan Aguilar. I am 21 years old and I live in Maryland. As someone who is a youth and who works with youth, I’m tremendously excited to attend Creating Change and the first-ever Latino Institute.


Mr. Empoderate 2012-2013 (center)

Not only will it be a learning experience that will benefit me greatly, it will definitely have a major impact on the youth I work with. As Mr. Empodérate 2012-13 (Mr. Empower Yourself), I work as an HIV prevention educator for gay and transgender youth at the Clínica del Pueblo Youth Center in Washington, D.C. Many of us, including myself, are from communities where accessing quality education, jobs and health services is an incredible obstacle. And although I, like so many other LGBT Latinos, have enormous amounts of love and support from our families and friends, many still face rejection because of our sexual orientation or gender identity.

This is why the Latino Institute is important to me. There are many advocates like myself around the country — in urban and rural areas — doing all we can with limited resources to create a better life for LGBT Latinos/as and our families, and this Institute will help take our work to the next level.

I want to be a better advocate and a better mentor to the LGBT youth I work with, and my hope is that they pay it forward so that we can create a larger community of advocates working together to make a difference. After the Latino Institute, I will surely be better equipped to do that than ever before.

For more information on the Latino Institute at Creating Change, please visit the fully bilingual Institute website.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gay Latino Attacked in Columbia Heights

Our friend and GLBT History Project supporter, Denny Ventura, was the subject of a hate crime over this past weekend. His story was originally featured on the "Straight/Queer Alliance Against Hate" blog:

As I was walking up 16th st I turned into Meridian Place like I always do because thats where I live, I noticed a group of black males I didn’t pay attention to them until I overheard one of them say “get him” when I heard that I looked back and saw that one of them was getting close to me and then said: “Don’t run cause I’ll get you anyway” I felt worry and decided to run up the st to my building on the transition to my house I could hear that one guy call me fag, spic and assured me that I was not going to get away.
Once I got to my buildings front door I looked back at him and told him to step away because there were cameras and if he did something he was going to get caught, so I reach back for my keys and tried to open the door when I realized he was standing behind me, when I turned around he started punching me on my face and head as I tried to protect and defend myself he threw me down the stairs and when I got up he continued beating me and pushed me into a trash can, I was on the floor when he grabbed a messenger back that I had (which was then founded a few blocks away with all the items intact) and ran towards 14th st… I got up and went back to my apartment where i noticed how bad i was bleeding and how my teeth where up in my gums, I had to laid on the floor because I felt dizzy and once i felt better called 911. When the police officers and ambulance got to my house I was still bleeding , dizzy and in pain. I was examined and filed a report then was taken to the hospital. At the ER the investigator showed up and asked a few questions if anything which is still what has me in awed since I expected him or the police to ask me more questions, to be more helpful or at least try to contact the building’s manager to get the security camera footage. I am more than thankful with the staff at the Washington Medical Center they too cared of me properly and made me feel more than secure.
 
If you have any information regarding this incident, please call the Metropolitan Police Department. Let's help bring Denny's attackers to justice and make DC streets a little bit safer.

 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

We're Out and We're Proud. Here's Why.

When open LGBT people meet each other and are getting to know one another, it isn't long before the topic of conversation steers toward coming out. It is a bond that those who have bravely decided to live openly share. It is something we wear as a badge of honor, for all those who have made the announcement understand the gravity of the decision to do so.

So, on this National Coming Out Day, the GLBT Latino History Project is excited to feature some of our supporters who live out and proud. Below they share their stories, why they decided to come out and why it's vital that all LGBT people take that important step out of the closet.  These brave men and women represent some of the best of our community and we are grateful to them for sharing with the world.

Why are you proud to be out?

Cristhian Alonsso Lazaro



Lives in Washington, D.C.
Orginally from Trujillo, Peru
I was stressed and tired of lying. I wanted to come out. I was tired of pretending to be someone else . I wanted to be out and be me.




Carlos Valdovinos

I'm out because i needed to breath, I wanted to love and I wanted to live!

Born in Los Angeles
Lives in San Francisco
Member of the San Francisco Aguilas organization


 

 

 

 















Ivan Aguilar

My name is Ivan. I am 21 years old and currently living in Maryland. People knowing my sexuality has been one of best things that I've done . Being accepted from friends and family and having their support is one of the blessings that I have. I can't ask for more :) We're all equal and should be respected for what we are and for what we like. I am happy to say that I have accomplished so many goals in life. One of them has been working with "Empoderate," a youth center for youths. I am happy to say that I am their king for this year. Remember to be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.

 

Alexa Elizabeth Rodriguez












Ms. Alexa Elizabeth is originally from Usulután, El Salvador where founded Mi Nueva Familia, a working group for people living with HIV and Transgender women. She also worked with the PanAmerican Social Marketing Organization (PASMO) as a health educator.  In 2010, Alexa arrived in the United States and continued her work as an HIV/STI prevention educator with groups such as Mariposas, Empoderáte Youth Group, Casa de Maryland and Virginia Department of Public Health. She currently is a promoter for Miss Maryland Latina, an advisory committee member for the Latino GLBT History Project an avid advocate for Transgender Latina equality and the recently crowned Miss Latino GLBT History Project 2012-13.

La Sra. Alexa Elizabeth Rodríguez es de Usulután, El Salvador, donde fundó Mi Nueva Familia, un grupo para las personas que viven con el VIH y mujeres transgéneros. También trabajó con la organización Panamericana de Social Marketing  (PASMO), como un educador de salud. En 2010, Alexa llegó a los Estados Unidos y continuó su trabajo como educadora en prevención del VIH / ITS en los grupos Mariposas, Centro Juvenil Empodérate, Casa de Maryland y el Departamento de Salud de Virginia. Es promotora de Miss Maryland Latina, miembro del comité del Proyecto Histórico de la Comunidad Latina GLBT, una defensora de los derechos de la  comunidad transgénero latina y la recientemente coronada Miss Latina GLBT History Project 2012-13.

 

 

Roger Ortiz

Political Director
HONOR PAC
Los Angeles, CA



















I'm out for those that can't be. I'm out in politics to assure we are a force to be reckoned with!

 

 

 

Jonathan Morales

There are so many reasons to "come out," but the most important one is so you can be true to yourself. I'm so much more happier out than I ever was in the closet, hiding from my friends and family. Those that accept me, I embrace them; those that don't, well I hope one day they change their mind. There is nothing wrong about being gay.


Lena Hernandez


"Be the change you wish to see in the world."--Gandhi
I am proud to have done many things, seen many things, and be many things. Among them, I am PROUD to be a Lesbian. My hope is that by living as an example others will be inspired to do the same.


 Alejandro Contreras


Current City: Washington, DC
Hometown: Guadalajara, Jalisco

It is important to me to be out because I stay true to myself. Because what you see is what I am. I enjoy every single day, every move I make & every step I take.

Es súper importante para mi vivir en forma plena mi orientación sexual. El sentirme feliz y aceptarme tal cual soy me hace una persona integra; y me deja disfrutar cada instante en mi vida.

 

Ariel Cerrud
Unit Director
Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area

Working with youth is a privilege I get to have every day. Being out as a young queer Latino professional has always been important to me because it allows those youth the ability to see that you CAN be true to yourself and succeed in whatever career they set out to pursue.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

LHP invites members to screen award-winning documentary on police raid of LGBT community

Director shares story of how police aggression at Gay bar resulted in LGBT advances

The Latino GLBT History Project, The George Washington University and One In Ten are proud to announce the Washington, D.C., premiere of the award-winning docu mentary, “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge,” at the Marvin Center Amphitheatre, Wednesday, Sept. 5, from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Prior to the film, there will be a meet and greet with the director from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Fol lowing the end of the film, there will be a question and answer session with Camina.

“We’re excited to show case the work of Gay Latino Director Robert L. Camina. This new documentary is collecting awards around the country for its honest portrayal about an act of police ag gression toward the LGBT community in Texas that ended up being a catalyst for positive change,” said LHP President David M. Pérez.

On June 28, 2009 (the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Raid in New York City), Fort Worth police and agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission raided the Rainbow Lounge, a newly opened Gay bar.

During their 40 minutes in the estab lishment, multiple people were detained or arrested and a young man was sent to the ICU with a fractured skull and bleeding in the brain. Many accused officers of target ing the gay community.

Allegations of police brutality flooded the internet. Police reported that during the raid, multiple patrons alleg edly grabbed them in a sexually interested manner and “pretend to have sex with them from behind.”

They also accused one patron of grabbing a male officer’s crotch. The Fort Worth Police Chief defended his officers’ ac tions against the patrons and made public re marks and allegations that many considered homophobic. Following the sordid allegations and outrage, many changes would occur in the city and Fort Worth would become a leader in LGBT equality.

“The audience will see history unfold as this film documents the con troversy from the per spective of witnesses, activists and politicians who helped changed the city,” said Camina, who also wrote and pro duced the 103-minute film. “The documentary is narrated by television icon, Emmy-nominated actress and author Meredith Baxter, star of ‘Family Ties,’ ‘Family’ and ‘Bridget Loves Bernie.’”

“GW’s commitment to both LGBT and Latino diversity and inclusion inspires us to fea ture this important film and host gay Latino Director, Robert L. Camina. We are proud to participate in this important community event in partnership with the Latino GLBT History Project,” said Timothy Kane, Director of GW’s LGBT Resource Center.