Center Action Network

Together we CAN make a difference.
Real life stories evoke a far more powerful response in most people than facts and figures. They touch on our humanities; they help people remember that when decisions about a certain issue are being made, those decisions affect real lives. They give us a voice by explaining where we stand and how we got there. Every time somebody shares their experiences with us, we get to see what is possible. You have a story that is as unique as you are. Reach out and share it.

(Written by Tanya Witt for Center Action Network)

Dan and I met through mutual friends in 2014. Quiet, gentle, intelligent, with a dry sense of humor; Dan is firmly embedded within the Long Beach LGBTQ community and loved by many. As both a client of and donor to the Long Beach LGBTQ Center, Dan shared her life story with me and explained why the Center holds great significance for her.

Read more: Just Call Me Dan

My name is Karen Fierro, I am twenty-two years old, I am queer, undocumented, and unashamed. I currently serve as the Community Assistant at the Tacoma Rainbow Center, a local LGBTQ resource center in Pierce County, Washington. I benefit from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) but not for much longer. Rarely are the intersectionalities of sexuality and documentation addressed; however it is impossible to have a conversation about my story without turning to these complexities. I was part of the first wave of young people to apply for DACA in 2012. DACA for me meant a short term solution when I was most desperate to find clarity in my life.

Read more: I Am Queer, Undocumented, and a DACA Recipient

President Trump says that Transgender people serving in the military will distract the force from fighting and winning wars. He says people like me are a burden that harms readiness. Let’s be clear, the only thing that will ensure success - or failure - on the battlefield will be the side that fights better – or more appropriately - adheres best to the principles of war, and which one does not. I spent nearly twenty-three years in the Army, all of them knowing I was Transgender, and unable to do anything about it. I could have been a better officer had I the opportunity to transition. But that could not happen in the age of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” So, partly to cope with the gender chatter going on in my head, I focused on being a good officer.

Read more: Story from a Transgender Soldier

Persad Center

My story of coming out was one that required me almost ending my life before having the courage to face the truth. Since I was 17 I have been in mental health counseling. While I had some of the more common difficulties anxiety, depression, and codependency, it was not till I looked at my drug and alcohol recreational use that I realized I needed a clearer view.

Read more: Jaden Raerhys From Pennsylvania
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