By Greg Hernandez
Ambassador Carlos García de Alba, the Consul General for Mexico in Los Angeles, credits his career as a diplomat for teaching him to be open-minded and welcoming.
“Traveling the world you understand the beautiful diversity of human beings,” he said during his first-ever visit to the Center’s Trans Wellness Center (TWC) over a Valentine’s Day lunch with more than 30 TWC clients and staff members. “It’s an amazing thing to realize that everybody’s different and that you have to give respect to everybody if you want to be respected.”
TWC, a community-based partnership between the Los Angeles LGBT Center and five other local community organizations, is located less than a mile from Mexico’s consulate in Los Angeles.
The ambassador said he is seeking ways to collaborate with TWC, which has the primary goal of promoting healthcare engagement and reducing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among trans women and men in Los Angeles.
“The most important thing is to understand how difficult, even in modern times, it is to come out and to live as a transgender person,” he acknowledged. “For me, it is very important to understand the deepest part of this because it allows me to connect more with the transgender Mexican community here in L.A.”
García de Alba said his government is improving its policies towards transgender people.
“This has been a very difficult battle, but the situation is evolving and changing faster than you can imagine,” he said.
In 2015 it became legal for transgender people in Mexico City to change their gender identity on their birth certificates. Three other states in Mexico have since followed suit.
TWC program manager Mariana Marroquin gave García de Alba a post-lunch tour of the 3,000-square-foot space that brings together comprehensive services and resources for transgender and gender non-conforming people under one roof.
“You are setting an example for all of the people that need to learn about our lives, about the dignity and respect that we deserve as human beings. I think the transgender community really appreciates that,” Marroquin said to García de Alba.
“You’ve opened your arms to support us and that means a lot.”
To learn more about the Trans Wellness Center, visit MyTransWellness.org.