Counting Down to Creating Change

Counting Down to Creating Change

Daniella Matthews-Trigg

Program Associate

Greetings all!

So there are some very exciting things afoot here at the Network. What with strategic planning, Community Transformation Grants and  Planning for our 8th annual LGBTQ Health Equity Summit we are busy busy! And, for five days at the end of this month, we are going to not only be working hard, but having a BLAST at Creating Change 2012!

Creating Change, put on by the Gay and Lesbian Task Force,  is the ultimate LGBT equality conference. With over 2,500 people, five days and over 250 workshops, needless to say, we are SO EXCITED! The Network will have a booth at the conference, be attending sessions, blogging and tweeting live and networking up a storm! And…(drum roll please…) I would like to introduce our 2012 Creating Change Scholarship Recipient Hector Martinez!

Hector was born in Mexico and grew up in San Diego. He graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Political Science, worked for Grassroots Inc, advocating for marriage equality and civil rights, successfully campaigned for the release of Joseph Bukempo (a gay asylum seeker from Uganda) and his current role is increasing awareness of mental health and wellness to the LGBTQ community of San Diego at Mental Health America. He also is a triathlon runner and does acrobatic yoga. Hector, we are looking forward to meeting you!

And, in this post full of exciting news, we have one more announcement: Sophia Isabel Marrero Cruz, spokesperson for Transexuales y Transgeneros en Marcha (TTM) in Puerto Rico, will also be attending this years Creating Change with us! We met Sophia at the LGBTT Health Summit in Puerto Rico last year.  We recently worked with Sophia  on the action alert around the under counted murders of trans people in PR and Transgender Day of Remembrance. And, we are extra excited, because Sophia will be blogging in Spanish from Creating Change!

Nace un 15 de junio de 1970, en San Juan, Puerto Rico. Se inició temprano en el trabajo voluntario en diferentes organizaciones de carácter religioso y/o cívico. Estuvo consciente de su identidad de género desde muy temprano en su desarrollo, dando muestras de la misma desde la temprana edad de 8 años. Con tres años universitarios decide trasladarse a la ciudad de San Francisco, donde no pudo ingresar a ninguna universidad, ya que el idioma se convirtió en un obstáculo para lograr completar su grado universitario. Es en la ciudad de San Francisco es que descubre su vocación de Advocate y comprende que solo de esa forma podría trabajar para lograr un cambio en las actitudes de la gente. Luego de haber trabajado en varias organizaciones de base comunitaria en la ciudad de San Francisco, retorna a Puerto Rico y comienza a trabajar en Fundación SIDA en el año 1995. Utilizando la estructura y recursos de esta organización de base comunitaria logra formar el primer grupo de apoyo de transexuales y Transgéneros en Puerto Rico. Por su perseverancia y empeño logra que el grupo se convirtiera en la primera y única organización hasta el presente que representa los intereses de esta comunidad en Puerto Rico, Transexuales y Transgéneros en Marcha (TTM), logrando insertarse en iniciativas a nivel nacional que buscan mejorar la calidad de vida de la comunidad LGBTT, entre estas cabe mencionar: Community Disscussion Group Metting (1996), HRSA Pool of Peer and Professional Consultant. (2000), HRSA Transgender Consultation Metting, Washington, D.C. (2005), Comité Anti Discrimen Departamento de Justicia, PR, 2009, Comité Organizador/Programático Primera Cumbre en Salud LGBTT (marzo/2011), East Branch Co-chair Trans Latinas Coalition (2009) entre otras. Desde los comienzos de la Organización ocupo la posición de Secretaria dentro del Comité Ejecutivo, convirtiéndose en la Portavoz de dicha Organización.

Born on June 15, 1970, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sophia was involved with volunteering in different civic and religious organizations from an early age. She was aware of her gender identity from a very age. After three years of college she decided to move to San Francisco, where she could not enroll in any university because of language barriers. In San Francisco she discovered her passion for advocacy and social justice work. After working in various community-based organizations in San Francisco, she returned to Puerto Rico and began working in Fundación SIDA in 1995. Utilizing the structure and resources of this community-based organization allowed her to create the first support group for transsexuals and transgender people in Puerto Rico, Transexuales y Transgéneros en Marcha (TTM). As a result of their perseverance and commitment to the community, the group became the first and only organization up until that time to represent the interests of this community in Puerto Rico. TTM successfully spearheaded national initiatives that seek to improve the quality of life for the LGBTT community in Puerto Rico. These initiatives include Community Discussion Group Meeting (1996), HRSA Pool of Peer and Professional Consultants (2000), HRSA Transgender Consultation Meeting, Washington, DC (2005), Anti-Discrimination Committee in the Department of Justice, PR, 2009, Organizing Committee for the First LGBT Health Summit (March 2011), East Branch Co-chair Trans Latino Coalition (2009) among others. Since the inception of the organization, Sophia has held the position of Secretary on the Executive Committee and has become the Speaker of the Organization.

So, all of you readers out there, stay tuned for blogs from all of us at the Network, and Sophia and Hector, and make sure you follow us on twitter (@lgbtHlthEquity)! We are so excited about attending Creating Change and continuing to create change in our communities around LGBT health equity.

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