IMPACT is on my holiday list because they've helped me see the power in myself. I took the LGBTQ Self-Defense Class in 2018 to feel prepared to defend myself from street harassment or sexual assault. What I was not expecting was to heal from my past experiences, to be friends with people who empower me, or to trust my body to defend itself instead of just lying down without a fight.
My gender transition sparked my interest in taking the class so that I could feel safe in my own body. I started transitioning my gender in 2017. The more I presented as feminine, the more unwanted sexual attention I received. As a Mexican-American woman, I know that I have a bigger target on my back when it comes to racism, homophobia, and transphobia. I feel as though being who I am makes it a question of when I will be attacked again, not if. I've become hyper-vigilant my whole life as a result of feeling the need to protect myself all the time.
IMPACT instructors helped me feel safe and open to find the power that was always within me. I thought that the only power my body had was to escape and run. They helped me act through my tears and through moments where I froze so that I could be prepared to defend myself in case I couldn't flee. We practiced real scenarios. Even though it was triggering, they created an environment where we can work through our triggers. They made every practice a victory.
This is what powerful healing looks like.
IMPACT is on my holiday list because they are an invaluable resource for my LGBTQ community. If you are able, please make a tax-deductible gift to IMPACT Bay Area today. If you can't donate please share this so other people know about this resource!
Esperanza, 2018 IMPACT grad