Sady says: One of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes is “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” As an out and proud queer Latina feminist who was born in Honduras, raised in Europe and is bilingual in English and German, it wasn’t always easy to fit in. I often didn’t feel queer enough, or Latina enough, or feminist enough – but when I stopped comparing myself to what I thought others would expect of me, I realized I was more than enough.
In fact, I discovered there’s value in being different and having a unique perspective and voice – and that I wasn’t alone. There are plenty of us who don’t fit in. I represent my queerness, my Honduran roots, and feminism by simply being me – not someone else’s interpretation of what those identities should look like. I am passionate about being vocal, visible and OUT, in order to help others find their own way of being OUT and proud. So if you’re reading this: Be you and know you are enough. Don’t be afraid to break out of the box.
And then pay it forward to the next generation of nonconformists. As a proud mami to three beautiful boys, I am intentional about raising loving, feminist, social justice warriors with a love and appreciation for diversity and inclusion. My girlfriend and I raise all of them with the freedom to explore, think, question and be who they are without limitations or judgements based on any aspect of their identity. I want them to grow up living their truths – whatever that may be for them!
In addition to my love of family and challenging societal norms and expectations, I also love a great cup of coffee, spending time outdoors and any excuse to socialize with great people! My favorite women are Audre Lorde, Frida Kahlo, Wonder Woman, and of course, my partner for life and the other mami to our boys, Leslie.
Professionally, I am the Diversity & Inclusion Programs and Outreach Coordinator for the Office of Inclusion at Excellus BCBS. In my one year with the company, I have updated the company’s Gender Transition Guidelines and supported staff in its implementation; I initiated and led the company’s first-time participation in the Puerto Rican Day parade; and am the new 2017 Chair of our LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group, which we renamed Lifetime PRIDE as of March 2017.
My strong training and facilitation skills are part of my tool belt in changing the world one conversation at a time. I try to always assume goodwill, and use my gifts to help shift perspectives and break through stereotypes. In addition to my workshop facilitation at Excellus, I am a trainer with the Gay Alliance’s LGBTQ Academy and member of their Speakers Bureau; a Senior Facilitator with the National Coalition Building Institute’s Rochester Chapter; and a Facilitator with the YWCA’s Racial Equity Program.
Volunteering is something that has always been important to me, which is why I continue to make time to do so no matter how busy I get! I volunteer for a number of organizations, including Latinas Unidas, FR=EE, and of course the GAGV. I was first introduced to the Gay Alliance by one of my queer activist friends, Erik Libey. He took my young questioning self to rallies and events. It didn’t take long for me to join the Speaker’s Bureau back in 2009 and I’ve been involved with the organization in one way or another since then. After eight years of volunteering, the education team continues to make me feel valued and appreciated. This year, thanks to Jeannie’s enthusiastic persistence, my family and I are participating in Ride for Pride!
I decided to join the Board because I was inspired by the passion and commitment of our current Board President, Colleen Raimond. When she first approached me, I wasn’t looking to add any additional commitments to my plate – but I agreed to meet with her to chat and it was evident that she wants great things for our community. It became clear to me that joining the board would put me in a position to continue to make great things happen for our community. We need more diverse representation in leadership positions to make things better for ALL of our community members. So I have a favor to ask of my LGBTQ+ people of color out there: I’m on the Board now, which means I’m in a position to further address and advocate for the needs of our various intersecting communities, but I need you to help shape what that will look like. In other words: Help me help us to help each other, Fam!
I just joined the Board, so my first priority is to listen and learn; to learn about the Board, our role and connection to the Gay Alliance, and about my role. I want to use my position to benefit the needs of diverse communities, such as my Queer Latinx and Black communities! I want to use my role and visibility to build bridges and address issues of racism, classism, sexism, transphobia, other “isms” and forms of power and privilege that we know are present but often shy away from acknowledging and addressing.
To those thinking of volunteering — just do it! The world is so much bigger than any of us, and through volunteering we all get to be a part of shaping our world. You get to meet new people. You get to know you’re making a difference. You get to grow and learn. Plus, research shows that people who volunteer are happier and healthier and live longer than those who don’t – it’s a win however you look at it!