What should people know about the center’s policy-related work?
Even where I’m from in Colombia, people know about the Center—the reach of our work is worldwide. While I was still coming out, I got a lot of support through the Center’s social groups, and the Center even helped me start a family. So I’ve wanted to work here for a while...to use my experience in public policy to support our community.
Right now, the federal government is working to make things more difficult for immigrants, so it’s our responsibility to protect and defend our diverse community. I work to advance policies, locally and statewide, to protect LGBT immigrants—particularly undocumented immigrants, many of whom have escaped violence in their home countries. I’m proud that the Center is a safe place that welcomes everybody, regardless of their immigration status.
The day before this interview, Maria brought her wife, two daughters, mother, and mother-in-law to the L.A. Convention Center, where she was sworn in as a United States citizen. She warns people: there’s a new voter in town.