Tatiana B. Martin Reflects on 8 Years With The Center

The Center’s annual Women’s Event highlights outstanding contributions by LGBTQ+ women in our community, and raises crucial funds to sustain our work. In 2021, we recognized leaders who reflect The Center’s own commitment to helping our community dismantle barriers they encounter and challenge systems that perpetuate inequity. Included among our speakers was Tatiana B. Martin, who we have been lucky to count as a member of our community for the past 8 years. Read on and watch the video below to learn about her deep connection to The Center and New York’s LGBTQ+ community.

Tatiana B. Martin
Tatiana B. Martin speaking at the podium of the 2021 Women's Center for the NYC LGBTQ Community Center

Tatiana's 2021 Speech

"The Center changed my life. My range of experiences with this organization over the past 8 years are too broad to capture all in one speech, but most importantly: The Center introduced me to countless mentors who saw a light in me that I thought had gone out. I’ve been through many things, abuse, mental illness, and living in a homeless shelter. But through the guidance, leadership, and unwavering support of these mentors I met at The Center, I was able to become the version of myself I wanted to be."

From the time I started out in The Center’s youth program, they encouraged me to sign up for various internships and opportunities that taught me how to be a leader, showed me how to use my voice for education and advocacy, and connected me with my community.  For example, I went to Albany with The Center’s advocacy program a few years ago and spoke with senators about passing LGBTQ+-affirming bills related to conversion therapy and second parent adoption. I have been a peer educator, and was trusted with the huge responsibility of running a community discussion group. Earlier this year, I joined the School Ambassadors For Educational Equity internship, which is a newer part of The Center’s programming. We provided support for LGBTQ+ students in New York City schools, taught workshops on inclusivity for students and staff, and also connected them with support services available through The Center.

These experiences with The Center have helped me bloom into a leader, an activist, and informed what I do today.

While going through homelessness, I refused to stay silent and advocated for fellow clients struggling with addiction and severe mental illness who were being mistreated. Today, I am a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor trainee who is able to bring LGBTQ+ education into non-queer and cisgender spaces. What I have learned from all of this is that it’s important to not be a bystander. Many people in our community are still facing homelessness, unsafe environments in shelters or in schools, mental illness, challenges with substance use disorders, and harmful legislation. Silence only makes these injustices stronger. So please join me, and join The Center, in building the world we all want to see for the LGBTQ+ community. Get involved with The Center as part of our community. March with us at Pride, or come together with us for Trans Day of Remembrance, become a mentor for LGBTQ+ young people, or join our drop-in groups. Come as you are, where you are accepted and seen. Come make a difference and see a difference made in you.