Submitted on May 1, 2018 by  MariaHIVMejia

Well, where do I start? I just got back from this conference of positive women leaders from all over the USA and the islands--the biggest network of women living with HIV in the USA! Thank you to The Well Project for always taking us women to these very important conferences!

I also want to thank PWN for their hard work and making my birthday special!! Thank you, Krista, for my Bday cake. Vickie was upset because she thought I was not going to get it!!! And thank you to all of the amazing women that embraced me with so much love and compassion! I was very tired from so much travel and also had a cold and fever, but I made it through!

Overall, the Summit was very empowering, but I was very upset about a horrible incident that happened at lunchtime one day with a group of women that discriminate against transgender individuals! I do not think you can call yourself an activist or an advocate and discriminate against any group! I almost got into a fight with someone because I couldn't take the hate and hostility. I will not tolerate discrimination of any kind. It affected me personally because my ex-partner of 10 years Li is a transman and many of my close friends are transwomen. We also often see fighting within the LGBTQ community and that has to stop as well! We all need to sit in the table and talks things out and forgive each other. Many women there said that they came like me to feel the love and peace that we all seek. Think about it…When do you get to be around so many hundreds of positive women leaders!? We are here to uplift each other! I am tired of the fights between us. I talk about unity and love! It is very sad because of a group of women many isolated, got triggered because of trauma. PWN tried to make things right, but the truth is this happens often in our community. Some cisgender women do not like Trans women because of a "religious belief" they hide behind. Thou should not judge!!! Let’s love each other and have tolerance.

We all need to regroup and rejuvenate. Some people don't have a support system and they came there like myself to find some peace and get empowered. The activities and workshops were awesome, and most of the women were caring and full of love! It’s important to respect the community guidelines if you are going to be part of this amazing group and Summit. We are all HIV positive survivors and warriors fighting the good fight!!! And we are all going through something in life! Life is not easy so we have to take advantage of these moments and instead of creating division, we should be thankful that there are spaces for women like the PWN summit.

Even though I left more tired, I got a lot from the connections I made in small settings and the very important advice I got from so many strong women like myself: the importance of self care! I cancelled an upcoming trip because I need to come first! My work and others will have to wait. I have to stop saying yes to everything. All in all, there was more good than bad, and I loved being able to present the work we do with The Well Project’s A Girl Like Me, and our amazing sisterhood. And, as I often say, we need to have more Latinas on the panels, as we are often underrepresented.

Much love, light, and hope





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