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TRANSCEND

TRANSCEND: MATHEO CADENO

Gracie Cartier hosts Transcend on +LIFE, featuring designer and queer activist, Matheo Cadena.

For Queer Community Resources, visit:
bit.ly/QueerCommunityResources

Transcript of Matheo Cadeno Interview

Gracie

Design living for the community by the community, up next. My guest today is an artist, activist, and volunteer as Co-Chair at Children’s Hospital, LA. Creating impact and making sure those within the community had the support and resources they need, and so becoming their best selves, no matter what hardships they may be going through. Welcome to Transcend, it’s Matheo Cadena, welcome, Matheo.

Matheo

Hey, Gracie, thank you so much for having me.

Gracie

How are you, love?

Matheo

I’m doing really well today. I’m so excited to be here and just talk about how people can get help in the community for free.

Gracie

Well, I’m very happy to have you here because help is definitely needed. So let’s just jump right into it. What inspire you to become an activist and also volunteer in the community?

Matheo

So for me, that question hits close to home. It was when I was younger, I came out when in my teens. I was in middle school and high school. I had to go through it then and I got attacked. I actually got jumped by some bullies Jackson School. We thought they were cool. And then I just felt so alone afterwards having come out as a gay person in a small town. I was the only person who was out. And so I just felt extremely alone. And as I got older, I was like, my thing was, I don’t want anyone to ever have to feel that way. So if I can do work now to help people feel connected, then that’s my goal, that’s my dream.

Gracie

Well, thank you for doing the work. I would just like to ask you, was activism always a part of the plan for you?

Matheo

I don’t think it was ever a part of the plan. I was super shy in school and I just was like, I didn’t wanna talk up. And it wasn’t until I came to LA where I started to meet just such amazing people doing great work. And I was like, I really think I wanna make a difference here. And the people I met here just transformed me.

Gracie

Well, I love that because through our stories and our journey with you sharing, we all know what it feels like to feel as though we’re alone, even though we’re not, but we know that in those tough challenging times and hardships that that’s what you feel, you feel alone. So I’m grateful that you’re also turning your pain into purpose and to help uplift others.

Matheo

Thank you.

Gracie

With design living, what areas do you specialize in with helping people gain access to the resources that best fit their needs?

Matheo

So I currently serve as a Co-Chair at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, but we work with more than just children, young adults too. So what I do there is inform them with user experience design. So I think about the whole journey from finding out that you need help, to finding a hospital, to then getting the service, and talking to people and feeling connected. And so my whole job is to look at that full experience and say, how can we improve this? How can we make it better and more human along the process? Because if you need healthcare, if you think you might’ve had an STD and you don’t know, it’s a scary process especially when you’re new to a city like I was, and you don’t know who to go to. So, that’s my whole goal is to basically help re-evaluate that experience and make it better for people and more human.

Gracie

Would you say that there is a lack of awareness and programs and resources that are out there? And if so, why?

Matheo

Absolutely, I think there’s just a big issue where people don’t even know about free resources that they can tap into that would get them access to prep or pep for free, to HIV testing for free, to counseling or therapy for free, and even trans health, like in transitioning help for free. And the more I talked to people in the queer community, the more I hear that there’s just like they have no real idea of like, well, where do I go? Right, and you do a Google search and searching on Google, unfortunately, just leads you to all these paid funnels where you have to go and pay your way to get to talk to someone. And it’s just marketing scheme in essence. So I think the big thing is just now all of us talking about it, and if you’ve got help from an organization, then share that with a friend and just talk about it. I think there’s also a big stigma. So we don’t like to talk about sex and getting tested, but we just need to talk about it more so people know.

Gracie

I agree and personally, I love everything that you said and speaking on with me being positive, being trans, I remember that it was, it was very daunting, it’s funny because when you say Google, I did, I went and I Googled and it’s just so distracting and it kinda like leads you nowhere and it’s a bit discouraging. And then you just find yourself like not wanting even to go ahead and move forward continuing on with finding the help. For me personally, I’m very grateful. I’ll always be grateful for the LGBT Center because without the help of the LGBT Center, I would not be where I am today. They helped me with my meds. They helped me with my hormones at the time I’m part of the union, but at the time I lost my hour, so I lost my benefits and I didn’t know what to do. And I know that sometimes it can be taboo or it’s like we want to find the best and the most exquisite health care. But the reality of it is that the help really is out there. And if you do not have the information, sometimes you’re just up a creek without a paddle. So I really wanna thank you for sharing that. And I know when it comes to black and brown people, we’re at higher risk of being affected by HIV, can you tell me, are there any programs that will best support these communities first and foremost?

Matheo

Absolutely, there are so many organizations that have been founded by black owners, queer black men in the community, like the Ahmad Institute or SoCal Club which is run by black healthcare providers and led. And they do everything from yoga to exercise classes and workshops for free to getting your STD testing, to getting prep, or even if you need HIV antiviral medication, you can get it for free through these organizations. And in addition, you have, in the meantime, men, there are another organization where you can go and just check them out. If you’re gonna Google, Google them, Ahmad Institute or SoCal Club Men’s Health Foundation, or in the meantime, men, those will be the organizations that will definitely, definitely help you out and then LA at Children’s Hospital. We also have a whole arm for black and brown communities around queer safe spaces, events that we do and host, and then also testing and mental health ’cause this community needs mental health help and HIV prevention help more than ever right now because it is an epidemic amongst us, sadly, still.

Gracie

I kinda like it just hearing you just speak to that kind of get a bit emotional because it’s like, like I said, the help is out there, but sometimes you have to wanna help yourself. The reality of it is, is that I know it’s daunting and it’s really hard, but you really do have to wanna help yourself because there are so many people out here and there’s so much support to where as though in this time of isolation, you just feel like that there’s no help, but I’m just so grateful that you’re here today to share this abundance of information and resources. However, sometimes some people are not as fortunate and we are dealing with times of homelessness due to the pandemic and also for people who are being put out of their homes just for simply existing and living their truth and living their lifestyle. Can you tell me what help is out there or available for them?

Matheo

Yes, so for anyone who’s experiencing a housing issue right now, temporary or long-term homelessness is a big factor for everyone, especially in the queer community, people get kicked out of their houses for coming out as queer, as trans, as gay, as BI. And if you need help, you will instantly get it if you contact the LA LGBT Center, they also have housing programs. In addition, you could contact Covenant House which is specifically for young adults, and the LA Housing or Homeless Service Authority that you could go to their website. It’s like Los Angeles Housing, Homelessness Authority and they will have a link to multiple different organizations that can get you into housing. There’s also project room key by LA. If you look up project room key, Los Angeles on Google, you will find housing for yourself. You’ll get a key to a hotel where LA will put you up in for free to get you off of the streets. So that is their goal. They are trying to get people housed and sheltered, specifically, if you’re queer, check out LA LGBT Center. And if you’re a young adult or young person, check out Covenant House.

Gracie

Anything else we should know about what resources are out there or how to take that next step?

Matheo

Well, if you’re not sure where to go or what to do, you could definitely just message me on Instagram at Matheo Designs, and then I’ll send you the link to a document that we’ve put together. Gracie and I started this document, it’s a Google doc, so it can be added to at any time.

For all you viewers out there.

We got you at one place, a one-stop shop. So you just tap the link, go to the Google doc, and based on the topic you need, if it’s trans services, housing services, mental health services, there are links to each of these websites for the each of these organizations I’ve mentioned and more, so you can just definitely check that out. So hit me up on Instagram. Y’all send me your messages, I’m here to support.

Gracie

Matheo, thank you so much for your time, along with this valuable information, and also a big thanks for everything that you do in the community.

Matheo

Thank you.

Gracie

I hope today was helpful for those of you watching at home. For more stories like these, or to watch this episode again, check out our website @+lifemedia.com and make sure to follow us at +Life Media. Until next time, be aware, be supported, and most of all, be blessed.

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