Weekly Newsletter // November 19th, 2019

The mission of Our Gente is to encourage and recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex and asexual youth by providing a safe, supportive environment during our monthly social support groups, community trainings, and community events facilitated by the Queer/Trans Youth Collective. The purpose of this newsletter is to keep the members of our community informed about upcoming events and engaged with LGBTQ+ issues both locally and nationally. We hope that this can become a great resource for young LGBTQ+ identifying individuals in the Monterey County area!

Epicenter Thanksgiving Week Hours

We at The Epicenter and Our Gente want to wish everyone a fun, warm, and safe Thanksgiving holiday. The only day we will be open during Thanksgiving week will be Tuesday, November 26th during normal drop-in hours. To reiterate, we will be closed every day of the week next week except for Tuesday, when we will be open from 12PM to 6PM.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

To raise awareness of Transgender Day of Remembrance, the Be Yourself Club at El Sausal Middle School has planned a full week of lunchtime activities, putting up posters like the one above, an art activity imagining oneself as a different gender, and creating a giant reusable LGBTQ+ Pride word search.
Wednesday, November 20th marks the 20th year since the first Transgender Day of Remembrance. This day is observed to commemorate and memorialize the lives of those lost due to transphobia and anti-transgender violence and hate crimes. Gwendolyn Ann Smith held the first Transgender Day of Rememberance in 1999 after the murder of Rita Heister, a transgender woman, in November of 1998 in Allston, Massachusetts. A candlelight vigil is usually held where the names of victims who lost their lives that year are read out loud.

This day is an important one, especially in this social and political climate where we’ve seen the continuous murders of trans-womxn— particularly womxn of color— in recent years. Now more than ever, visibility and resilience is crucial. Transgender Day of Rememberence serves as both a day to pay respect and mourn the loss of lives due to hate and ignorance, as well as a day to stand hand-in-hand with transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, in power, to show that the community will always persevere.

As Smith put it,
"Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people—sometimes in the most brutal ways possible—it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice."--Maritssa Vargas

QTYC Recruitment

Our Gente is currently recruiting officers for our Queer/Trans Youth Collective. Our goal is to develop the future of local LGBTQ+ leadership through peer-led education and sharing. QTYC officers are essential to the development of Our Gente programming, ensuring that our events are truly made for youth, by youth. These volunteer positions require a commitment of only a few hours a month and are compensated via small stipends based on participation and attendance. For more information, please contact jacob@epicentermonterey.org.

Latinx LGBTQ+ Film Festival

We have a date! The 5th Annual Latinx LGBTQ+ Film Festival will happen February 8th & 9th, 2020. We are currently developing our film screening schedule, and we're so excited to bring you even more quality film celebrating the intersection of LGBTQ+ and Latinx identity!

If you are interested in joining our planning committee or volunteering during the festival itself, please contact jacob@epicentermonterey.org for more information.

Hunky House Dance Church

Our friends at An Open Closet will be receiving a percentage of the door proceeds from the Hunky House Dance Church, an all-ages dance event happening at Wave Street Studios in Monterey on Wednesday, November 20th at 6PM to 10PM. Click here for more information about this fun dance event!

LGBTQ+ Research Study

Dr. Shannon Snapp at California State University, Monterey Bay is doing a study called LGBTQ+ Casual Sex: Foundational Investigations for Improving Health and Well-being of Vulnerable Populations. In this study, they hope to understand the hookup experiences of LGBTQ+ young adults in order to better support LGBTQ+ young people and their sexual health. They are looking to interview LGBTQ+ identifying community members that are 18-24 years of age. They are especially interested in having genderqueer, nonbinary, and transgender individuals take part in the study. Interviews will take approximately 60-90 minutes, and participants will receive $20 worth of merchandise of their choice from Amazon.

If you are interested in participating in this study, please email SYPPlab@gmail.com.

Our Gente is a program of The Epicenter.
Visit our website at epicentermonterey.org.

The Epicenter's drop-in hours are 12 PM to 6 PM, Tuesday through Friday of every week.

This issue of our newsletter featured contributions from
Jacob Agamao, Mark Beering, Aya Deborah Chato,
Dr. Shannon Snapp, & Martissa Vargas.

If you are interested in contributing content to this newsletter,
or participating in the Our Gente program,
contact jacob@epicentermonterey.org.

To subscribe to the Our Gente weekly newsletter,
send an e-mail to ourgente@epicentermonterey.org
with "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject header.