Iowa Queer Communities of Color Coalition celebrates coming out day and LGBTQ History Month
Hi! My name is Ivania Guerra Ceron, but most folks know me as Gabby. I am a queer woman, and my pronouns are she/her/ella. Currently, I work for Al Éxito as the Assistant Director. I am Co-Chair/Co-Founder of this coalition and a board member of the New Leaders Council – DSM. I also run my own business, L & Co. Cleaning.
I am a proud immigrant from Santa Ana, El Salvador. In 2002, the violent and impoverished conditions in El Salvador forced us to immigrate. I grew up in Des Moines, a North High alum, and completed my bachelor’s degree at the University of Iowa. As a first-generation DACAmented student, it wasn’t easy finding support and community at a predominantly white institution. Being away from my family increased the isolation and then intensified those feelings when dealing with the constant imposter syndrome. Ultimately, I dedicate my degree to my family for all of the love and support they provided me through the years.
Coming to terms with my identity took many years, and I don’t think I’m “there” even now. It took many years of heartache, indecision, and uncertainty to muster up the courage to come out to my family. Different stressors fill my life, trying to survive, especially under a government that does not want to see my family or me in this country. So I kept deciding that my need to be seen fully was not significant enough because a dozen other things were happening that we needed to focus on, like our ability to stay here. I knew being Latinx, and queer isn’t easy. But, I realized that I needed to live MY life for ME. I realized my needs are just as essential, and I deserved to live authentically. So, I came out to my family and friends one by one. And every conversation filled my cup. The love and understanding they gave me were unimaginable. In retrospect, I don’t regret how long it took for me to feel safe to come out, I needed time, and that’s okay.
I am privileged to be out to friends, family, and community and not fear my safety and well-being. So, for all of you lovely people looking for community and support or need a place to be seen fully, IQ3C can be that place for you. Know that you matter, and you are loved.
Post courtesy of Iowa Queer Communities of Color Coalition