Ruby Corado, founder of D.C.’s only bilingual, multicultural LGBT advocacy group Casa Ruby, spoke Wednesday in Funger Hall as part of Allied in Greek week, sharing stories about how her own experiences as a transgender immigrant motivated her to support impoverished LGBT teens.
Corado, a transgender woman who has worked in LGBT advocacy for over twenty years, told an audience filled with Greek life and Allied in Pride members about her inspiration for the organization and how students can get involved.
Allied in Greek changed its programming and philanthropy this year, and one hundred percent of proceeds from this week’s events will go to Casa Ruby. Here are three takeaways from Corado’s presentation:
1. Celebrating differences and challenging society
Corado began her address with anecdotes about how she felt different as an immigrant and transgender woman.
“People put all these labels on you so they can show you you’re different,” Corado said. “It’s up to me to create more positive labels for myself. “
After Corado transitioned to a woman, she faced issues of homelessness and discrimination, she said. In the mid-1990’s Corado began challenging society’s prejudice against people who are LGBT, she said. She has since helped write and pass legislation for LGBT advocacy.
“I felt like I loved myself so much that I started caring about the world and I could be an advocate,” Corado said.
2. Opening her home
Twenty-three years ago, Corado began opening her home to friends whose “places to sleep were actually a living hell,” she said. Opening her own home to friends inspired Corado to open an agency targeting people who faced as members of the LGBT community.
“I opened it to show them that there is a part of this world that really cares about them and that there’s a place in this city where they can be themselves,” Corado said.
Casa Ruby’s mission is to help impoverished LGBT youth create successful lives for themselves.
“Even if they still have shitty lives, they can come to Casa Ruby and be happy and have a good day,” Corado said.
3. Getting GW involved
Casa Ruby will open a house with twelve beds for homeless LGBT youth this year, Corado said. Money raised this week through Allied in Greek will benefit the shelter.
Universities are communities that Corado focuses on engaging with, because “you never know who’s sitting in the room,” she said.
Students can contribute to Casa Ruby through volunteering to decorate the new homeless shelter, sending cards to clients or donating money, Corado said.
“You all have the power to touch the lives of others,” Corado said. “We can definitely create a better world.”