I am Health, We are Health, This is Health.

"I was given wings to fly. I was free"

This is my story. I am Ariana, and “I am health.”

It wasn’t always that way. As far as I can remember I was taunted, teased, and abused for acting like a girl.  Yet, I could not hide who I knew I was. When I was 10 years-old my father had enough, he couldn’t take his son being so different from other boys. There I was, 10 years-old, and thrown out of the house like garbage.

I was lucky. My grandmother took me in. Yet still, I could not live freely. For years, I was pursued by gang members. One day while my grandmother was away a group of gang members beat the doors and windows, yelling for me to come out. I hid under the bed for hours without moving, until finally they left. It was then, that I truly feared for my life. I had to leave.

I made the journey to the US alone. There were days that I did not have a place to sleep or anything to eat.  I was depressed, hopeless, and often felt like ending it all. Yet, something kept telling me “there is something better than this.” 

One day, a friend brought me to La Clínica’s youth center ¡Empodérate! It was the miracle I needed at that very moment. My whole life I had been told I was different… I was even hated for it until I hated it too. And then, finally, I was not alone. I was not different anymore. It was time to re-learn to value life and to accept myself the way I am.

¡Empodérate! gave me hope.  I was given support and care to understand the trauma I suffered. They helped me get legal assistance to receive political asylum; resources to learn English; and confidence to allow myself to become the woman that I am.  I was given wings to fly. I was free.

I didn’t want that feeling to end. While I am transgender, I am no different than anyone else. I have the same potential and the right to have a place in society. I belong here.

I am now working for an airline, a dream for me. I would love to be a pilot someday. But most important is that I can be an example to other women. I suffered a lot. And yet, I rose above. I want to show others that anything is possible.

When you are happy you are healthy. And, I am.

At La Clínica giving health means changing lives. Give health today. Donate.