On March 27, Delta College hosted a short film screening of “Libertad” in the West Forum in honor of Transgender Visibility week.
“Libertad” follows the story of a young man fleeing his prejudice-filled hometown of Oaxaca, Mexico and redefining his identity in America as a transgender woman.
The title is both a Spanish surname and given name meaning freedom. He word aptly serves as the film’s title because it represents how Alejandra Santiago found freedom to be herself.
The film also shows important people in Santiago’s life and how they helped shape her journey. Santiago represents hope and resilience both then and now as she continues her work as a “healthcare advocate whose faith and love for her family has fueled her path towards breaking gender, faith, educational and transnational limitations,” according to the Film’s website.
Santiago and Director Brenda Avila-Hanna attended the film screening to answer questions.
Santiago assured the audience to ask questions even the seemingly taboo ones.
Questions varied from how Santiago’s family reacted to her transition to where Santiago stands in her current love life.
Santiago answered honestly and light-heartedly.
Santiago said she was open to be with whoever loved her back as she is and noted potential love interests’ sexual orientations didn’t matter to her.
She jokingly added how she always pictured a stereotypical-macho-mexican-man to come sweep her off her feet but she added she was a powerful woman who wouldn’t like a man telling her what to do.
Santiago also spoke of her Catholic faith and how it fits in with her transition and identity.
Santiago also noted how accepting and supportive her mom was when Santiago first revealed her true self to her.
“There was a fear because you never know who’s gonna be watching the film and they get to know who you look like, where you are from and that can put many people in danger. But I think at some point we have to go over that fear. I’m a grown-up and I think we as adults should do more so kids feel free to be who they are and express themselves,” said Santiago.
The audience response to Santiago’s story was overall positive.
“Speaking as an immigrant … who is also queer, it was very inspirational. Seeing an older trans person-especially a minority- is very inspirational because you don’t really see them that often. You rarely see older people who step up and become a figure for the community like she did. It really gave me hope for years to come,” said student Starr Samson.
Representatives James Patnaude and Cymone Reyes from the Stockton Transgender Alliance attended the film screening to let more students know there are plenty of resources in the Stockton community for LGBTQ+ individuals.
“Basically, we’re a peer support group … It’s more of a reason to get together and see everybody else in the community outside of other events and just hang out,” said Patnaude about the Stockton Alliance.
Patnaude is also a student here at Delta, is active with Delta’s pride club and acts as a go-between for Delta’s club and the San Joaquin Pride center.
Afterwards, Delta’s Pride Club held a reception to honor Santiago and Hanna in Delta’s pride center located in Shima 108.
“We’re out here celebrating and providing resources here in the center to help promote trans visibility. We’re a social and activism club and because of us, we got gender neutral bathrooms on campus. You don’t have to be transgender to use them. They’re for anyone. It’s a basic human right and … I’ve had friends and [club] members be harassed for using the bathrooms,” said Pride Club President Isaiah Merriweather.
Delta’s Pride Club has meetings at 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays in the Shima conference room.