El/La is an organization for transgender Latinas (TransLatinas) and they work to reach the same vision and take action in order to build up their survival and improve their quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their mission states: “We work to build a world where we transLatinas feel we deserve to protect, love and develop ourselves. By building this base, we support transLatinas in protecting ourselves against violence, abuse and illness.” El/La community emerged in 2006 after the Proyecto ContraSIDA Por Vida (PCPV) lost it’s funding. Previously, PCPV provided a safe space, programs and services that promoted Latina/o bisexual, lesbian, transgender and gay individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area with debate and desire, intellectual thought, erotic imagination and heartfelt passion. Their programs consisted of various creative writing classes, social and political discussion groups, one-on-one counseling, condom distribution and outreach. Going back to El/La they have similar programs about education about risks and finding resources to overcome personal barriers, as well as making themselves and allies visible by showing the world their experience and responding to attacks to their community. They have programs such as social networking and cultural activities, individual case management (health, relationships/violence, immigration, housing), and health promotion and life issues groups and workshops. They actually even have a Facebook page that has events (they had a Valentine’s event), videos, and articles.
This group was mentioned at the end of the graphic novel “Sexile” and it does connect to the reading. I feel like all of the programs offered in this organization were unavailable to Adela when she went to America. She came to America beaten up, cold, and lonely. The only place that she could stay was at Fort Chaffee which was basically a prison for her. Adela got lucky coming across Luis from Havana. If she had not crossed paths with him then the story may have taken a different turn with her staying at Fort Chaffee for even longer. The programs at El/La offer a safe space to stay and even consultation on housing and immigration. They can also possibly someone a sense of belonging with their community that I bet is very welcoming. The other connection I saw was when Adela got STD’s. Fortunately, it wasn’t HIV but gonorrhea is still no joke. This is another case were Adela got lucky because imagine if the first STD she got was HIV, then the story would be over and the PCPV would have never been made. If Adela had the knowledge beforehand about the dangers of unprotected then her life would’ve have been much more comfortable during that period. There was also the fact that she had LOTS of sex according to Sexile so it’s a wonder that she only had one reported STD in the reading. However, I believe Adela’s experiences helped her led transgender HIV prevention programs at PCPV and educate everyone about the dangers of unprotected sex. I’ve provided links to the El/La blog and Facebook for those who are interested.