QWOC+ Boston is a group that promotes diversity by creating and sustaining safe spaces for LGBT people of color in the Greater Boston area.
Posted By QWOC+ Boston on April 19th, 2012

Submit! Nearly There is a zine project meant to address the serious absence and silencing of stories about the experiences of queer people of color.


OPENING QWOC WEEK PANEL: Transgender Women of Color Speak (8/1)

Posted By Lina Torres on July 31st, 2011

Join us for the Opening QWOC WEEK Panel!

In  the spirit of fostering more open dialogue, and as part of our Diversity Speaks discussion series, QWOC+ Boston and TranSCEND of AIDS Action Committee, co-sponsored by Mass. Transgender Political Coalitionare kicking off QWOC Week with a very important sharing circle, “Trans Women of Color Speak”

Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/ev​ent.php?eid=19933380676663​5

This event aims to bring queer and trans people of color and allies together to “Listen” to the voices of trans women of color as they speak personally about the wide variety of their experiences they have as full and complex people, and as members of both the transgender and POC community.

But this isn’t a political forum; the diverse and truly personal stories from our panelists will serve as a catalyst for us, as a community, to identify and commit to ways through which we can all become active stakeholders in creating transWOC-inclusive spaces within QPOC communities, and also POC-inclusive spaces within the transgender community at large.


Our speakers hail from diverse backgrounds and careers. Each of them has committed to participating in this discussion to shed light on what is most personal to them in order to bring about progressive change in our community. It is truly an honor to have these three amazing women lend their voices to this panel. Check out their bios below!

Alyssa Kwan

Alyssa Kwan is an East Asian, trans, lesbian, femme woman that is deeply involved and invested in progressive, queer, and feminist politics. She is a software engineer with a background primarily in financial services, and is dedicated to her work as craft. She also writes about personal and political issues in both prose and poetry. Since coming out as a trans woman and beginning medical transition at the age of 30, Alyssa has been tackling the challenge of coming to terms with her personal identity, especially as it relates to community affiliation. As an East Asian trans woman, she has faced discrimination along a wide variety of axes, but has also experienced the joy of shared struggle with different marginalized communities. She is also committed to educating people on the complexities of intersectionality and the kyriarchy. She writes a blog at http://amaevis.tumblr.com/.


Elizabeth Marie Rivera-Valentine (TransCEND)

Elizabeth Marie Rivera-Valentine is a proud Puerto Rican transgender female haling from New York City & has been married and residing in Boston since 2009. Elizabeth has been involved in HIV Prevention & Education and Social Justice Activism/Organizing for the past 15 years, advocating for LGBT2SGNCQ individuals. She was also featured twice in the PBS Lesbian and Gay television news magazine “In The Life”. Elizabeth now works for the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. She became a full-time staff member at Cambridge Cares About AIDS in March 2009 as the Health Educator and Web Designer for TransCEND (Transgender Care and Education Needs Diversity; www.transcendboston.org ); a community-based HIV prevention and health education program formally of Cambridge Cares About AIDS (CCA); by and for transgender women now located in Jamaica Plain in the Jackson Square area.  Her new role as the Community Organizer for TransCEND will advocate for clients and their needs externally which are necessary in keeping the voice of our community heard as well as keeping the program connected and visible within the trans social justice movement.

Lina Morales (TransCEND)

Lina Morales is a second-generation jewish mexican-american lesbian trans woman born and raised in the mexican-american neighborhood Little Village (La Villita) of Chicago, IL. She has been used to since forever of being of two or more worlds and defining herself in the intersections. She works for the TransCEND program of AIDS Action Committee and lives in Jamaica Plain.

Mesma Belsare

Photography by Anh Dao KolbeMesma S. Belsare is a Boston-based Indian Classical dancer, choreographer, actor, visual artist and educator. She belongs to a generation of young dancers in the South Asian Diaspora in North America who have created a unique niche for themselves in the realm of classical Indian arts. She holds a Master’s degree in Art Education from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston MA. Mesma is a recipient of the Government of India scholarship for advanced study of Bharatanatyam (Indian Classical Dance), was once nominated under the Best Dancer category for the Dora Mavor Moore Award by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, Canada and twice nominated for Boston Foundation’s Brother Thomas Fellowship for ‘excellence in the arts’. The Theatre Offensive of Boston honoured her as a ‘Gender Hero of Boston’. She serves on the Board of The History Project that documents and preserves the history of Boston’s LGBT communities. Mesma looks forward to sharing her thoughts on the QWOC panel. (Photo Credit: Ahn Dao Kolbe)

Looking forward to members of the diverse queer and trans community of color (and allies) join us for this very important conversation.

Diversity Speaks. And, it is our responsibility to listen.

About TransCEND

TransCEND provides 1 on 1 counseling and group support, HIV counseling and testing, referrals to transgender friendly legal and medical providers, safer sex and injection supplies, hygiene products, complimentary cosmetics and have a welcoming community safe space. TransCEND also seeks to build a network of support, safety, and education to improve the health and well-being of transgender women. They work to address how all forms of discrimination impact HIV prevention and health education, such as unequal access to health care and health-related information, and the lack of recognition of the distinct needs of the transgender community. TransCEND also collaborates with individuals and organizations that advocate for social justice and non-discrimination for transgender and gender-variant people of all backgrounds.


Co-sponsoring Organizations

Mass Transgender Political Coalition
Suffolk University Office of Diversity Services
Suffolk University President’s Commission on the Status of LGBTQ Faculty, Staff and Students
Suffolk University President’s Commission on the Status of AHANA Faculty, Staff, and Students

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