In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Queering the Island invited TAMU-CC alumni and LGBTQ+ activist Kitana Sanchez to speak about LBGTQ+ activism, advocacy and empowerment. The discussion was put together by Dr. Sarah Salter and Dr. Sandrine Sanos on Wednesday, Sept. 26, in the University Center, room Jetty 123.
Sanchez came to TAMU-CC in 2007 and graduated with a Bachelors of English in 2010. Since then, she has been an advocate for transgender rights in Corpus Christi, marched in local marriage equality marches and holds a number of titles including “Corpus Christi New Comer” “Queen of Fantasia” and “Ms. Corpus Christi USofa.” For Sanchez, advocacy has been an important part of her life.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sanchez spoke about two key figures who participated in the Stonewall Inn riots of 1969, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Rivera is a founding mother of LGBTQ+ activism, known for throwing one of the first bottles during the riot. She was an American gay liberation transgender activist and self-identified drag queen. In many ways, many viewed Rivera as the Rosa Parks of the LGBTQ+ movement.
As an LGBTQ+ activist, Sanchez emphasizes the importance of remembering those who came before her as activist or allies of the LGBTQ+ community so that they never will be forgotten in history.
“It is important to remember the struggles of those who came before me,” Sanchez said, “and those who came before them. What they fought for so that the LGBTQ youths today could have a brighter future.”
Sanchez currently works with a progressive event coordinating company which provides opportunities of employment to transgender women. In addition, she is the vice president of the local LGBTQ+ chapter of Corpus Christi. Together, Sanchez and the organization have worked tirelessly to better educate the Corpus Christi community on LGBTQ+ issues.
A current project she works on is the support group for the #behuman campaign. Formed by the Coastal Bend Trans Alliance, this is a support group for trans and non-conforming individuals. The group has no federal funding, all funds are raised through fundraisers and benefit shows.
“Money raised goes to changing documents or anything we can help trans individuals with in their journey,” Sanchez said.
The Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation Houses the organization. If you would like more information, visit, http://www.cbwellness.org.