Transforming Youth through Representation:
People think we wake up one day and decide to be trans. These types of misconceptions help fuel a sense of alienation and lack of acceptance by family and community members for many Latinx youth.
When I was 2 years old, I came to the US from Mexico. I’ve grown up in Oakland my whole life and went to Oakland Public schools.During my freshman year of high school, a program coordinator from La Clínica’s Casa CHE Youth Brigade visited my class to invite students to a program that sought to empower youth and address the issues that existed in our community. I joined enthusiastically, and it became a life-changing experience.
I felt genuinely understood by the coordinators because they come from our same communities. They know what it means to come from a low-income background, as well as from immigrant and Latino households. Through them, I learned about important LGBTQ people of color in history. I learned about bullying and violence prevention and fostering respect for LGBTQ youth through language and behavior. I learned self-acceptance and self-respect. I learned leadership and I learned how to be a role model for other youth.
I’m currently finishing my General Education requirements at Laney College but I’d go back to my middle school on Mondays to pay it forward before the pandemic. I share knowledge with the students about the important figures from our community and our history. Thanks to La Clínica’s Community Health Education program and the Youth Brigade coordinators who were a role model for me, I am now a role model for others. There is nothing more meaningful than that.