I heard about the Center in 2017 not too long after I moved to California. Coming from a town in France where we did not have any LGBTQ+ safe spaces to be ourselves and thrive, I thought: “This is exactly where I want to work.”
I applied a couple of times but was not hired at first. Still, I participated in AIDS/LifeCycle and experienced a tremendous amount of love and support and heard so many empowering stories from my community. It opened my heart so much and pushed me to keep on applying with the new mindset: “I want others to feel as supported as I was when I rode and know that they are not alone.”
I know I’ve done my job right when someone signs up for AIDS/LifeCycle who has never ridden a bike or done fundraising for anything. People have it in them—we are just the cheerleaders and archeologists who help them unearth their awesomeness!
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified how resilient and strong the Center’s staff is and how nothing will bring us down. I am always so proud to tell people that, during this past year, the Center has actually created more services.
In October 2020 AIDS/LifeCycle switched to a virtual event called TogetheRide which has meant finding new ways to keep the “Love Bubble” alive while being apart. This time has allowed some of my colleagues and myself to start working on more DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) focused missions. Our desire is to create a more safe, welcoming space within AIDS/LifeCycle where people can feel respected, heard, and supported regardless of race, gender, sexuality, ability, status, socioeconomic class, body type, or age.
When I first joined the Center, I was still part caterpillar. But now, I am a butterfly. I’ve discovered myself, my gender identity, and am able to feel 100% authentic. I feel proud to answer the question “Where do you work?” every time I’m asked.
Hometown: Roubaix, France
Year Started Working at Center: 2018
Staff Position: Senior Cyclist Representative