By Rogelio Alvarez
Guest speaker Carmen Carrera spoke about her experiences and challenges she faced as a transgender woman at the LGBTQ and Ally resource fair on Monday.
The fair is part of the first annual East Los Angeles College Pride Week, hosted by Adelante First-Year Experience Program.
“I’m glad that alot of students showed, even classes showed up to the event. The keynote speaker was amazing,” Adelante scholar ambassador Joe Gama said.
Carrera, a model and former participant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, said how it was important for people to not feel defined by what other people think about them. She shared how she sought validation through herself and not other people and encouraged the audience to take advantage of the resources available.
“I feel like it’s very empowering because being a latina is very hard because I get judged by the color of my skin. I can imagine how hard it is for people who identify as a different sexual orientation,” ELAC student Ingrid Rodriguez said.
The resource fair gave off a welcoming environment by having attendees write their names and preferred gender pronoun on nametag stickers provided by the Human Rights Campaign. Many people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and queer community preferred to be referred by a different pronoun.
The Human Rights Campaign provided stickers, candy and a postcard signup with facts about the dangers transexual teenagers and children face in their daily lives.
Among the other organizations present were California State University Fullerton LGBT Resource Center, Southern California Alcohol and Drugs Program, Embracing Identities Program Services, Sunrise Community Counseling Center, Los Angeles LGBT Center LifeWorks, Angel Step UP Domestic Violence Services, ELAC Dream Resource Center and the Translatina Coalition.
“It’s important to teach people that we’re also human beings, that we’re also loving and have big hearts. We all breathe the same air. We all live on the same planet,” Translatina Coalition volunteer Gladys Trujillo said translated from spanish.
Trujillo also shared her advice for students who are struggling to come out to their friends and family.
“My biggest advice to them would be to believe in themselves, to fight for the person they want to be and to study and be able to identify as the person they want to be. From there they’ll see that they belong to this world,” Trujillo said.
Translatina Coalition and other organizations offered counseling services, food distribution, safe sex education, job placement and other services.
Gama and other members of the Adelante FYE recruited the organizations to participate in the resource fair.
“We would call them, email them and for some of the resources we actually went to the actual place to get more information, and to see if they can dedicate some of their time to come on campus,” Gama said.
ELAC Pride week continues until tomorrow. A Trans Awareness Luncheon is today from noon to 1:45 p.m. and a presentation on domestic violence in the LGBTQ community hosted by Angel Step UP Domestic Violence Services.
Gama said he’s excited for the rest of the activities being offered by ELAC Pride Week.
“I was shocked when I found out ELAC didn’t have a pride week, but it’s always good to be the first one because this is what’s going to lead the way for our campus to keep holding these events for LGBTQ students and also allies on campus,” Gama said.
ELAC Pride Week concludes tomorrow with a Queer People of Color Platica presented by Dr. Aguilar-Hernandez, from noon to 1:45 p.m. A Pride Week Drag Show and Closing Dances will also take place from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.All events are being held in the F5-201 Multipurpose Room.