Amigas Latinas

We are a nonprofit based in Chicago, bringing LGBTQ Latinas support, advocacy, and education fiercely and unapologetically since 1995. We'll bring you all the best events going on in the Chicago area--fierce and proud.
knowhomo:

LGBTQ* How To’s/Things You Can Do
Trans* Inclusiveness At A Local Level
(from The National Center for Transgender Equality)
Work toward passing local laws 
Work to make homeless shelters in your area more accepting  of trans people. See our information on trans homelessness here. 
Work with your local police/prisons or Emergency personnel  to increase understanding of trans people. 
Get involved in or start a local support group. 
Participate is local civic committees, clubs,  boards and  commissions. This makes your community better and helps  build expertise and  credibility that can be useful in transgender  activism. 
Vote! Policymakers who support trans issues  and those who  are hostile both come into office because people vote. In  order to increase the  number of trans supportive policymakers in  office, trans people and our allies  must vote. Register to vote now by  clicking here. 
Volunteer on Political campaigns and in local  political  parties. People who work on campaigns often have enhanced  access to elected  officials. An office holder who knows that  transgender people helped her get  elected is likely to view us  differently than one who does not. 
Run for political office yourself. There have  been very few  openly transgender elected officials. We will never have  sufficient clout in  public policy until there are more. 
Get other transgender people involved. Honor  people’s right  to participate in their own civil rights. And of course  you can use the help.  No movement can thrive without a constant influx  of newly motivated and  mentored activists. 

LOVE this list! We promote inclusion—fierce and proud.
We’ll have GENDER NEUTRAL bathrooms at our gala this weekend, so folks can be comfortable and know that we will have a safe and affirming party. :)

knowhomo:

LGBTQ* How To’s/Things You Can Do

Trans* Inclusiveness At A Local Level

(from The National Center for Transgender Equality)

  • Work toward passing local laws
  • Work to make homeless shelters in your area more accepting of trans people. See our information on trans homelessness here.
  • Work with your local police/prisons or Emergency personnel to increase understanding of trans people.
  • Get involved in or start a local support group.
  • Participate is local civic committees, clubs, boards and commissions. This makes your community better and helps build expertise and credibility that can be useful in transgender activism.
  • Vote! Policymakers who support trans issues and those who are hostile both come into office because people vote. In order to increase the number of trans supportive policymakers in office, trans people and our allies must vote. Register to vote now by clicking here.
  • Volunteer on Political campaigns and in local political parties. People who work on campaigns often have enhanced access to elected officials. An office holder who knows that transgender people helped her get elected is likely to view us differently than one who does not.
  • Run for political office yourself. There have been very few openly transgender elected officials. We will never have sufficient clout in public policy until there are more.
  • Get other transgender people involved. Honor people’s right to participate in their own civil rights. And of course you can use the help. No movement can thrive without a constant influx of newly motivated and mentored activists.

LOVE this list! We promote inclusion—fierce and proud.

We’ll have GENDER NEUTRAL bathrooms at our gala this weekend, so folks can be comfortable and know that we will have a safe and affirming party. :)

(via theartoftransliness)

The In Between

Hola tod@s! Yes, I write updates at almost 3am. :) Our president always nudges me about my late posts. I am a creature of the night!

The only decent thing to watch at this hour is the Food Network, which then makes me hungry, and then I start to search through the kitchen. I will be good tonight. I will… be… I think I have chocolate somewhere.

Okay! Back to what I’m actually writing about!

I am coming up into my third-ish month of working at Amigas and it’s been a hoot. I seem to always start work at places during their busiest times of the year. The gala is coming together nicely, with all of us pulling together the final details in the last week. But with all that planning and coordinating, I really just wanna see it all pulled together! Open bar, appetizers, dancing… I need a night like that!

Our admin assistant and I get together every other week to plan and coordinate various things so we’re not running around everywhere, lost in chaos. This week we met in a Thai restaurant in Boystown. Over steamed pot stickers and pad thai, we organized ourselves and started taking notes. Eventually we hoped over to a cafe, where I had the most delicious drink, and the waiter addressed us as “ladies.”

Now, I usually don’t mind being called something feminine. If I wanted to pass 100% in traditional terms, I could do that. But I like my nail polish and other things that are usually taken as female specific gender markers, so I understand that this happens. Just before this, my coworker had apologized to me for using incorrect pronouns at our last meeting. What worried me was how worried she was about offending or hurting me.

I posed this question to her: You’ve known me for three months. Imagine how the people who’ve known me all my life are doing with pronouns. So, I told her that there was no harm done at all, and that I’d hardly noticed the pronouns she had been using. I will notice incorrect pronouns if the person is using them intentionally to harm or irritate me. But in every day situations like this, amongst friends?

I appreciated her concern and hindsight—I wish more people had that—but I didn’t feel like it was necessary. I wasn’t offended at all but people have this perception that if you mis-pronoun a transperson, they will never speak to you again. Now, it depends on the person of course, but for myself, I usually don’t say anything until the third or fourth time. And at Amigas, this has happened more than once.

At our Gala meeting one of our commitee members was speaking about my idea and said “she” but quickly said “excuse me, he.” And she went on from there, without skipping a beat.

I’m in this in between phase of my transition where my characteristics are very androgynous. At first appearance I don’t seem like either gender. This is the stage where it’s 50/50. And I’m taking full advantage! I love being queer and I love confusing people—making them think. I painted my nails last week and everyone at work has only said the nicest things about them.

There are many ways in which I’m grateful to be working at Amigas. It’s a place where I feel safe and affirmed—taken for who I am. Even though I didn’t see the need for an apology from my coworker, I appreciated that she even thought of it and had the courage to bring it up. And now she follows my cues whenever people mis-pronoun me: she waits to see my reaction and follows suit. Because sometimes, it’s not a big deal, or at least, it’s not a battle you want to fight. Sometimes correcting the person would take more effort and time than just letting it go.

So even though this is a little confusing for the people around me and myself included, it’s comforting to know that people at work are very tuned into trans issues. When I suggested gender neutral bathrooms at our gala no one questioned me or its necessity. Even if I’m the one and only trans person there, it’s still worth it to have.

Tomorrow I’m proudly representing Amigas at a Trans coalition meeting in Chicago. We will discuss prison policy reform for trans persons, and Amigas will be supportive of whatever policies that benefit and protect trans people.

Okay, it’s time to head over to dream land. Have a good weekend Amig@s!

Letter From Our Board President

Hi Amigas,

I hope you are enjoying the lovely weather we have had over the past few days.  Given all the 100+ days of last week, we are thankful for a break. 

Amigas has been super busy!  We serve on both the Citywide LGBT Coallition and the LGBT Immigrant Coalition.  We’ll also be at Orgullo’s Latina/o Pride and Fiesta del Sol this weekend.  Plus, we are hard at work to secure a fantastic new space for the fall!  We are excited about our upcoming move with Affinity and Black Women for Reproductive Justice.  Our new space is going to be fabulous!

Most of all, we are planning our annual GALA on August 6th!  We are excited to celebrate our 16th anniversary, honor our Siempre Latina Community Awards, and dance!

Need more reasons to attend? Here are top three reasons:

1. We are moving!!  Our new rent will be over 200% more than we currently pay.  But we’ll have a conference room, programming space, and office space for our staff!

2. Want to support young LGBTQ Latinas who are committed to higher education? So do we!  That’s why Amigas Latinas has an annual scholarship that is awarded at the annual Gala. 

3. Remember Stargaze?  Remember the friends, laughter, and dancing?  Then come to the Gala at the National Museum of Mexican Art!  We’ll have fantastic food, open bar, yes open bar, and fabulous djs!!  Plus, we’ll have a live performance of Jarochicanos Xicago! It’s like Stargaze in Pilsen!

Please support your fellow Amigas and purchase your tickets at Brown Paper Tickets.
https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/187008

See you August 6th!
Rosa

Performing LIVE at our Gala—which is in 10 days!
I still don’t have my mask, but my companion for the evening has one that will blow your mind! I’ll bask in its elegance all night. :)

Performing LIVE at our Gala—which is in 10 days!

I still don’t have my mask, but my companion for the evening has one that will blow your mind! I’ll bask in its elegance all night. :)

Queer Chicago Events July 28th-31st

Okay, I’ve got your weekend line-up! Join us for the queerest events in Chicago!
Thursday, 7/28: Civil Unions & Beyond: Marriage Equality & the LGBTQ Latin@ Community.A forum to ask all the questions you’ve been thinking about! Join professionals and organizers from around Chicago to guide you through CU’s. You’ll learn what you can do with a CU and what you can’t. There will also be performances by LGBTQ Latin@ youth! 6 p.m. in the newly remodeled Institute for Puerto Rican Arts & Culture.

A reception with appetizers will precede the discussion, and local LGBTQ Latin@ artists will perform pieces related to queer/Latin@ identity.
Friday, 7/29: Fiesta del Sol  Join us for the largest largest Latino festival in the midwest bringing live entertainment, local art, diverse cuisine and more. Located in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago IL. Attendance: Over 1 milllion people each year! 1400 W Cermak, 5-10pm. Amigas will be there from 7 to 9pm with BUTTONS, stickers, bracelets, and GALA TIX! Visit us at the Lambda Legal Booth!
Saturday, 7/30: 6TH ANNUAL LATIN@ LGBTQ PRIDE PICNIC The 6th Anniversary LATINA/O LGBTQ PRIDE PICNIC will be held on SATURDAY JULY 30th in Humboldt Park on the corner of Humboldt Blvd and Augusta. (Look for the rainbows!) This FREE community event WELCOMES all—ALLIES, FRIENDS, FAMILY & PETS — who are looking to love, celebrate, be proud, laugh, chill, eat and play! Let’s Celebrate our ORGULLO with community—RAIN OR SHINE! AMIGAS will be there at about 6pm, ready to be fierce and proud! We’ll have buttons, stickers, gala tix, bracelets, and FRISBEES!
Sunday, 7/31: Chunky Dunk! Come join body-positive folks in creating a body-positive space on Lake Michigan. Swimming! Fun! Fierceness! Beach is accessible. Event is free, fun, and open to the public. Hollywood Beach also known as Kathy Osterman Beach or Gay Beach is located in the Edgewater Neighborhood of North Chicago. The group is a fierce, fun, informative body positive group started by queers thinking how fat phobia, classism, racism, ableism, homo/transphobia, and sexism intersect and overlap…and how we gotta get LIBERATED from them all! Hollywood Beach is located in between Ardmore Avenue and Hollywood Avenue off of North Lake Shore Drive.
Amigas are in Action this weekend! Come out, be fierce & proud, AND GET YOUR AMIGAS SWAG + GALA TIX!


Run Ins

Like many college students, while I was going to school, I also worked a few part-time jobs. I will admit that my experiences at those jobs weren’t completely horrific, but I did find out that the world of professional office supplies was not for me. It’s not so much that I learned what I wanted to do, but what I didn’t want to do.

When I started working at a deli, located in the basement of a larger department store, I barely knew how to make coffee. Strike that, I didn’t know how to make a pot of coffee. At my house we’d always brewed individual cups with a kettle and Nescafe. I didn’t have any experience pouring sodas in mass quantity, chopping vegetables in a manner that didn’t take twenty minutes per vegetable, or washing dishes by using an industrial machine. Total newb.

My first day of work at this job was on the worst possible day of the retail year: Black Friday. Thrust into a chaos I could not have apprehended nor prepared myself for, the food service industry ate me up and spit me out. I couldn’t believe or accept the fact that I had to do the same thing the next day and the next day after that.

Three years later, I was still there.

Sometimes you make things work out, out of necessity or sheer ganas. The people around me—strangers in the beginning—became a second family. Not only was I close to the people in my department, but I got to know the entire store. From juniors, to misses, to men’s formal, to children’s, to housewares… anyone who ate at the deli, I became to know.

One lady has always stood out. She worked in the basement as well, so she had more access to the deli than other people around the store. It was great to sit at the counter with her, swapping stories in Spanglish. She would always come up to the deli counter and ask me, “How are you nene? Como va?”

A reoccuring subject of her stories was her teenaged daughter, who had been going through a few difficult years. A few years older than her daughter, I listened and offered the best advice I could. What she recalled to me about her daughter seemed to me very typical of a young person these days. Space, everyone needs space at this time. Whenever I saw this coworker, I would ask her about her daughter. She seemed like such a caring mother. Genuinely concerned and reaching out, as she had done with me at work. I could tell her anything without being judged. When I studied for exams or wrote essays at work, she’d come over, give me a hug, and as always ask me, “How are you nene?”

When the day came for me to quit, I had a very specific set of people I knew it would be difficult not to see on a consistent basis. She was one of them.

Eventually, life led me here, working with Amigas Latinas. There are some ways in which a nonprofit and food service/retail are similar. But the work I do at Amigas isn’t for me to put a sleeve full of money into a mysterious slot at the end of the night. It isn’t all measured by sales, profit, or upselling. When I stay up until two in the morning working on flyers for this, planning events for that, etc. I feel like there’s a bigger purpose. My coworkers are comadres and jefas that genuinely care about the experience of learning and the value of doing. It’s nice. More than nice.

So here I come to the entire point of my article. Sometimes I still find myself back at the old store. I say hi to everyone and catch up here or there. But this past weekend was totally different. I was there to buy part of my gala outfit. After an hour of searching through the 70% and 50% off racks, I stood in the middle of the jewelry department, waiting for a friend.

Out of nowhere, I spotted her. I called out to her because my apperance is different from when I last saw her. She gave me a warm hug and without missing a beat, asked, “How are you nene?”

We got to talking, admist busy shoppers, and she confided in me that she’d been having a tough time with her daughter. Her daughter had come out to her as a lesbian recently, and she was struggling with it. Not in terms that she had a problem with same-sex relationships (I’d always been out to her about my relationships and she had been supportive). What she was struggling with was a very real reality for many parents of LGBTQ individuals: “I don’t want my daughter to have a hard life.”

These are the moments that fuel us here at Amigas Latinas. These are the stories, the experiences, the times that remind us there is a need in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. Not only do LGBTQ Latinas need support and advocacy, but so do their allies and support networks. My coworker had always been open minded and nonjudgemental, but she understood that not everyone was like her.

"I don’t want people looking at her like she’s different. I don’t want her to miss out on anything." These were her legitimate concerns. I hugged her then and there, because not everyone has a mom or parent or guardian that cares like that.

From there on I was able to tell her about the variety of mujeres I work with, and how they are all strong, successful, and happy LGBTQ Latinas. I was able to tell her that she’s not the only mother in this situation, that her daughter has so many positive role models right here in Chicago. I told her to please, come to the gala because you will see us at our best: when we are celebrating who we are—fierce and proud.

I will continue to work with her and her daughter to make sure they both have the support, resources, and networks that they want and need. Not only does Amigas have a great network of members, but we also have wonderful partnerships with other organizations.

In the little over three months that I’ve been here at Amigas, I’ve learned a lot. More than can fit in one blog post. And yet this moment really tied it all together. A lot that I’ve learned I was able to apply with someone who really needed it. She was in tears by the time we parted ways. Grateful for somewhere to go, people to talk to who could relate to her experiences, she left hopeful. So did I.

Life takes you on some pretty strange routes and detours. But this moment made me stand in awe of how all those routes and detours came together.

It’s amazing to know that you are supported and cared for, and likewise to provide that support and caring. This story is what I love to hear. I can help! Amigas can help!

Alright Amigas, Amigos, Amig@s. Til later!

aaron-in-transit-deactivated201 asked: Thank you so much for reblogging my post about the merch shop. Very much appreciated!! :)

you are most welcome! i love it when we get creative to fund our transitions. i’ll have to pass this onto my boyfriend. :) best of luck!

fuckyeahftmsofcolor:

Hey guys! Aaron here. So I’ve got a merch site that went live as of tonight - T-shirts, hoodies, messenger bags, buttons - all original designs by yours truly, and all proceeds will go toward my and my husband’s legal and medical transition, from name changes to top surgery.

Check it out, show your support if you can (and look sexy doin’ it!), and reblog to help us spread the word. Our first cause, name changes, will be about $600-700 for the two of us, so every little bit is a huge help.
More designs forthcoming - Soffas, trans bears, trans femmes, and trans latin@s, keep your eyes peeled! And if there’s anything you’d like to see, shoot me a message - I’m more than open to suggestions or custom requests.
URL: aaron-in-transit.spreadshirt.comMy blog: aaron-in-transit.tumblr.comMy husband: sir-alec.tumblr.com

 Check out this great effort! When the going gets tough, the going get creative—and fabulous! Creative aspects of our communities, solving and overcoming obstacles.

fuckyeahftmsofcolor:

Hey guys! Aaron here. So I’ve got a merch site that went live as of tonight - T-shirts, hoodies, messenger bags, buttons - all original designs by yours truly, and all proceeds will go toward my and my husband’s legal and medical transition, from name changes to top surgery.

Check it out, show your support if you can (and look sexy doin’ it!), and reblog to help us spread the word. Our first cause, name changes, will be about $600-700 for the two of us, so every little bit is a huge help.

More designs forthcoming - Soffas, trans bears, trans femmes, and trans latin@s, keep your eyes peeled! And if there’s anything you’d like to see, shoot me a message - I’m more than open to suggestions or custom requests.

URL: aaron-in-transit.spreadshirt.com
My blog: aaron-in-transit.tumblr.com
My husband: sir-alec.tumblr.com

 Check out this great effort! When the going gets tough, the going get creative—and fabulous! Creative aspects of our communities, solving and overcoming obstacles.