SAN ANTONIO -- The Queer Corazones de Esperanza organization and other Local LGTBQ ally organizations helped students prepare for school by hosting a free back-to-school fair at the Esperanza Center on Saturday.

  • Happened at Esperanza Center
  • 4th annual
  • Dozens participated

The event was open for all students, but special resources and panelists were available to speak to students who are transgender or thinking about transitioning.

The fourth annual back-to-school fair for transgender students drew dozens of people this year. Jamie Zapata is a transgender woman who helped organize the event. She says having resources available to students helps kids through any struggles they may face.

"I personally transitioned in school back in the '80s," said Zapata. "At that time I wasn’t allowed to transition so I know the struggles that the young kids are going through today."

Students old and young were welcomed by ally organizations and student panelists hoping to give future leaders and parents a better understanding of being transgender while in school.

Zapata said she was forced out of school in the eighth grade. Resources like she's helping implement are helping people in her shoes overcome obstacles she faced.

"Now the children are actually being accepted and the teachers are being educated on how to handle them with their pronouns. How to handle them with restrooms, locker rooms, other students, so that there’s no bullying," said Zapata.  "And that the kids can feel safe in school. That’s something I wish I had."

For foster parents Lucas Santos and Angelina Helton, the gathering served as place to help others through their "Binders for Brothers" nonprofit.

 "Growing up, me personally there was no resources," said Santos.

Advocates say having back to school fairs for the LGTBQ community helps lessen anxiety students may have at this time of the school year.