Kitana Sanchez speaks about her journey and experiences as a transgender woman

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Karina

Kitana Sanchez lectures a Communication class on the LGBTQ+ community.

Kitana Sanchez is a drag queen performer, local activist, column writer for the Hard Candy Magazine and a transgender spokeswoman who visited TAMU-CC as a guest speaker for a Gender Communications  class on Feb. 10.

She graduated from TAMU-CC in 2010 with a bachelors in English. Since graduation, Sanchez saw a need for LGBTQ+ support groups in the local community because there were none. This has pushed her to become the vice president for the Corpus Christi LGBT and has helped her establish the Coastal Bend Trans Alliance.

“I didn’t identify with the gender I was assigned at birth,” said Sanchez. “… I knew at an early age I was different. …At the end of the day, trans is a journey.”

She explained that coming from Del Rio Texas, a city where being openly gay or transgender was not widely accepted, to then arriving at the Island University and being in the Corpus Christi atmosphere is what really helped her become more comfortable in her own skin.

“When I was here, we had the Middle Eastern dance club, which was a belly dancing group and when I came I was still identifying as male,” said Sanchez. “I even asked them, ‘Hey, can I dance with y’all?’ and they were like, ‘Yes, of course!’

“… With those groups of girls, I think that’s where I felt myself more comfortable,” continued Sanchez. “I was amongst sisters. It was a sisterhood.”

“It’s not a gendered dance, but I think a lot of people know that a lot of women do it, so even that sense of womanhood, and femininity in the dance helped mold me a little bit more, to find my inner-self.”

Courtesy of Kitana Sanchez/INSTAGRAM
Kitana Sanchez shares an after-performance post on her Instagram page.

Sanchez also makes clear that she feels very privileged and fortunate to have been able to transition so smoothly, however, “Believe it or not, I have experienced discrimination from own trans community.” She explained how after she graduated, the trans alliance on campus reached out to her for additional resources, but their invitation was not a welcoming one.

“They were like, ‘You’re not really trans,’” said Sanchez, “and I was like, ‘What does that even mean?’ And they said, ‘Well, you haven’t had to struggle like us.’ … I did not expect that kind of backlash from my community.”

She highlighted this memory in her transition because, as she illustrates, it is important to recognize hateful rhetoric in one’s own community in order to correct it and then educate others around you. This way, the community can become more inclusive to all.

“I’ve had this discussion even with a cis-gendered, white women,” said Sanchez. “… She was like, ‘You don’t understand the struggle of this person,’ and I probably don’t, but I am still fighting for our rights.”

“I am not going to put my life on the line,” continued Sanchez. “I don’t have anything on my record and I prefer to keep it that way. …I’m going to speak with my vote, go about it with my pen, write stuff and educate that way.”

As the lecture continued, students were allowed to ask Sanchez a few questions. She cleared up common misconceptions about the trans community. One of which is, “Being oversexualized, especially for my demographic (Hispanic/Latinx),” a misconception she blames on Hollywood. Sanchez said that on the big screen, the trans community is often depicted as an oversexualized person who has the need to always be engaged in the adult entertaining business. This generalizes a whole community and often limits the work of the trans community to just sex work, which is not the case.

Another misconception is that a trans person goes through all kinds of medical procedures. However, Sanchez believes that this misconception is partly due to the media, but also due to the older generation of the trans community. She refers to the older mindset that says a trans woman has to look flawless and a trans man has to look masculine, but this generation pushes the idea that you do not have to have surgeries to be validated as trans.

“You don’t have to go through all these surgeries,” said Sanchez. “If you feel in your heart, and your soul and your mind that you are trans, then you are trans.”

“She did so great,” Vanessa Garcia, “… There were things where I was like, ‘I don’t know what that means,’ but she would make it make sense. I followed along with everything. She was awesome.”

For those interested in finding out more on Kitana Sanchez, find her through Facebook, or go see her drag performances at The Hidden Door, one of the oldest LGBTQ+ clubs in Corpus Christi.