(For June, which is designated LGBTQ Pride Month, Q Voice News featured a series of first person essays under the theme What Pride Means To Me. (Click the link to read other articles in the series.) We all know Pride is more than one month and have extended the series. This essay is written by Valentín Mera, a transgender singer-songwriter. Happy Pride.)
What Pride Means To Me
Every Pride Month takes me back 20 years to the first one I attended. Back then I was a woman, a lesbian, and my name was Diana Mera.
I had recently moved to Phoenix from Miami in a green Dodge Neon that only made it to Alabama. The rest of the way we had to U-Haul, like lesbians do, I guess.
My girlfriend at the time took me to Pride in San Francisco. I was in such awe. For the first time, I was able to see all of the possibilities that one’s self could be. As I walked in overalls wearing Pride make-up, I felt redeemed with the colorful, intense, loud, and invigorating crowds.
Years later, I moved to L.A. and was cast for the lead role of Henri in “Making Paradise: The West Hollywood Musical!,” produced by Cornerstone Theater and the City of West Hollywood as part of their 25th Anniversary celebration of being a city.
In the play, Henri is one of four UCLA students who fights to unite Soviet immigrants, GLBTQ activists, and senior citizens to create a sanctuary and rent control.
I feel like Henri as I celebrated my first Pride last month as a male. As I write this sentence, I feel grateful that a dream I held in my mind since I was 4 years old, finally came true 35 years later in the best scenario possible for me.
I am a married transsexual man, recording producer, and artist from South America living with his wife, Lourdes, and four dogs in L.A. and Miami.
When I began my transition, I knew I was going to gain a new voice, and that meant losing my original singing voice.
The universe and testosterone have been kind and have provided me with a singing voice that keeps surprising me beyond any expectations. I am proudly releasing new singles. They are written, performed, arranged, and produced by me.
One of them is about my transition. I named it “Encantador” (“Charmer”). I recently shared my first music video after my transition. It’s called “Ultima Noche en París” (“Last Night in Paris”), and it challenges societal beliefs.
Pride has once again shown me redemption. It keeps me strong to share my new music, and share unity and advocacy where it will be welcomed.