Hello everyone, I hope you all are doing phenomenal today! My name is Aleta, and I am 22 years old and from the Central Valley of California. I was born in San Jose, California and moved to Los Banos at 5 years old and was raised there until I left for college. I am artistic, sensitive, and love baking Ghirardelli brownies and eating them with vanilla ice cream while watching Ted Talks. I am also a transgender student at CSU Stanislaus and am double-majoring in Ethnic Studies and Theatre. I also enjoy engaging in events put on by the Ethnic Studies Department, cooking, and spending time with my mom.
My biggest obstacle right now is attending school and gaining more theatrical training while having to deal with my father who is still mourning me as a dead son. My parents assisted me greatly with financial aid for the first few years of my college education, and that particular aid and not knowing my identity at the time left me with no agency or voice to love who I am because of feeling like I owed them something. It first started during my childhood as my father and I did not get along at all, as he is very conservative and I am much more sensitive and artistic. He constantly tried to meld me into the form of Mexican masculinity, which I never was. As I began to explore theatre in high school and college, I knew I was where I belonged and began realizing who I am. I was first exposed to it in a collegiate play called “Balm in Gilead” where I played a cross-dressing prostitute named David in October 2016 (I know now how problematic that act was in and of itself). Having read “The Danish Girl” beforehand and being present in the clothing, I felt myself finally at peace and being whole with myself. As a result, I began wearing nail polish, investing in more femme clothing, and growing out my hair in February 2017. My father could not take me undergoing the beginnings of my transition and since then, we have had many tense arguments and cannot be in the same spaces together. He is still assisting me financially to a certain capacity, but our relationship has never been the same since. After that, I have been tiptoeing on a delicate line of trying to maintain a relationship with him while understanding simultaneously we may not ever be able to make one due to his boundaries. Therefore, my problem consisted of trying to build a relationship with my father after coming out. This also included being involved in two different fields that I would learn to find the bridge to impact our trans youth today.
In solution to my previously described problem, I realized that I could not build community in a place where I would not be respected or honored for being true to myself. As a result, I continued to undergo my coming-out process since I came out to my parents in February of last year and slowly began presenting as myself with slight changes (nail polish and growing hair out). I also learned to channel my energy in an empowering way by being cast as Rosa Flores in a student-run staged-reading of “Lydia” by Octavio Solis in April 2017. I officially began presenting full-time within my preferred identity in August of that year and navigated both higher academic, societal, and familial spaces as myself. I also immersed myself in the field of Ethnic Studies and activism in that time by being involved as a production and communications manager in a social justice broadcast show that is currently running on my campus called “wokeinthecv” (we have our own YouTube channel). I also attended the AJAAS (Association for Joteria Arts, Activism, and Scholarship) professional conference in October of that year and networked with over 100 queer and trans people of color. In the following month, I was invited to attend a Latinx theatre festival in Los Angeles called “Encuentro De Las Americas” where I also got to meet over 150 professional Latinx artists and watch LGBT-inclusive and intersectional work. Upon my return from the conference and festival, I helped establish the first annual Trans Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil and newly charted Queer and Trans People of Color Collective. Though the collective is primarily centered around queer and trans people, we accept anyone who relates with our mission and values of being a space for healing, communal care, and solidarity across multiple marginalizations. I am also getting prepared for applying to grad school in Ethnic Studies and Theatre and summer training for acting. Lastly, I am assisting my collective members to start events on campus in the coming days.