HANFORD — The subject of this month’s Source LGBT+ Center pop up meeting was transgender visibility, coinciding with this year’s Transgender Day of Visibility, which fell on March 31.
Alix Carranza, a transman from Hanford and member of the Source’s Youth Leadership Academy, was the key speaker at the meeting Thursday evening at Kings County Behavioral Health.
“I … told my story about the struggles of accepting myself. Even when I knew who I was, I was afraid to come out because our town [had] not been very LGBT-friendly to me as a young teen,” Carranza said in an email to the Sentinel.
Carranza came out as trans in 2015 at the age of 24 and began medically transitioning a year later.
The Source opened two years ago in Visalia with the goal of advocating for LGBT rights in the community, as well as providing resources to those who need them. The nonprofit organization provides the local LGBT community with education, peer support and services that would not be available otherwise.
In partnering with Kings County Behavioral Health and the Suicide Prevention Task Force, the Source is creating a presence in Kings County with their meetings every second Thursday of each month.
“When they first told me they were coming to Hanford I was so excited! I was ready to jump on board with any help they needed. In Kings County there were no resources for me,” he said. “Having the Source here has inspired me to do things like sharing my story as I did [Thursday] night. I am hopeful that more people will make it [out] and we will have answers for them.”
Carranza said that one of the ways The Source has helped him is by teaching him how to speak up for trans rights and how to do so in a professional manner, especially when talking to government officials.
The activist started a YouTube channel that covers his transition as well as other topics like what subjects are considered impolite to ask a trans person and how to deal with coming out to your parents.
“I talk about the issues of not having a supportive parent and how sometimes even though someone gave you life, it’s important to make your own life because you are the one living it. Parents always have this vision for us and what they sometimes don’t understand is that we also have a vision for ourselves,” Carranza said.
The YouTube channel can be found at https://goo.gl/x5Zv6X.
Another topic at the meeting was how people who do not identify as trans can be trans allies. Carranza points out that while society has moved forward concerning same-sex couples in recent years, that there is still plenty of room to talk and educate about the transgender experience.
“We are regular people, your neighbors, we walk down the street next to you and serve you food at restaurants — and you would have no idea,” he said.
The next transgender resource group meeting at the Source’s permanent facility in downtown Visalia is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17.
The next Source meeting in Hanford is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, May 10, at Kings County Behavioral Health, 450 Kings County Drive, Suite 104.
For more information about upcoming Source meetings and events, visit http://thesourcelgbt.org or call 559-852-2444.