Back in January, a group of Houston Latina trans women were out enjoying each others company when they ran into the ugly face of transphobic discrimination. They were disrespected, denied access to a restroom, and told they were not women.
This was the breaking point moment for these trans Latinas, and it was that negative experience encountering anti-trans discrimination that drove Houston based trans activist Ana Andrea Molina to found the Organizacion Latina de Trans en Texas (OLTT).
The group was founded to support, protect and advocate for the trans Latina community in Houston and the state of Texas, and OLTT is a group that was sorely needed in our Houston progressive activist ranks.
“We are a vulnerable community,” Molina said in an OutSmart interview. “Living in the state of Texas, we are dealing not only with transphobia, but with racism. The macho culture and social stigma of our countries of origin also impacts our members. It doesn’t just affect homosexual men, but us trans women as well,”
It was also a group that was quickly and eagerly embraced by the local trans Latina community. When the group held their inaugural meeting two months later at Resurrection MCC in the Heights, they were astounded and pleased to have 50 trans women attend the initial meeting from all over the Houston metro area. Some came from as far away as Bryan, College Station, Cleveland, Conroe, Galveston, Katy, Pearland, Galena Park, and Channelview to participate.
In addition to having buffet style meals and guest speakers at their monthly meetings, they offer conversational English language classes and help on other issues like finding culturally competent healthcare, HIV prevention, getting name changes on documents, and help with immigration issues.
The OLTT also marched in this year’s Pride parade, and have been visible at other Houston area TBLG community events since their founding.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with Ana and other OLTT members on various projects this year, and it has been wonderful to also see them stand up for their human rights as she and several OLTT members went to City Hall last month to speak in favor of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
They are not only seeking to ally themselves with trans Latina nationally and internationally, but also get 501(c)(3) status. They are also seeking to raise funds to acquire a permanent meeting place for the OLTT group.
As their trans sister and an ally, I’m pleased and proud to see them own their power.