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Luis Velazquez Cerda

Luis Alfredo Velazquez Cerda

Favorite Quote: “Donde una puerta se cierra, otra se abre.” (“Where one door closes, another opens.”)

  • Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish author of Don Quixote

My name is Luis Alfredo Velazquez Cerda, and I am a 25-year-old Hispanic bisexual male and a leasing consultant living in Houston while studying to become a nurse.

I am not a native Houstonian. I was born in San Nicholas de las Garzas, Nuevo León, Mexico and I was raised in the Edcouch-Elsa area of the Lower Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. I’ve lived in the great city of Houston for about two years.

I have yet to obtain my degree. However, I do have credits that make me a junior in college (so close to finishing). I originally pursued a degree in nutrition, but it evolved to a major in nursing. Which is what I intend to finish off this coming year.

I previously attended the University of the Rio Grande Valley, and will be attending Lone Star College in the spring of 2019. Although my education has not been completed, it has played a very important role in who I am now. It has helped me grow as a person, because I am not who I was back in the day. The more the years pass, the more I am eager to learn, and not only math and science, but every day lessons of life.

As a leasing consultant in Houston, I have to maintain great customer service and communication skills. I get the opportunity to meet many people of all ethnicities and races. I do my best every day, and every day I am told I make somebody’s day just by smiling at them.

I dealt with bullying all through my school years. Thankfully, I had the love and support of a great family. I was often bullied based on my family’s socioeconomic status, and as if that wasn’t enough, I was always “the gay kid” in school. I’ve been bullied since I was in kindergarten, all the way through high school. But I have always had the support and wise words of my mother to help me stand strong. That’s why, today, I stand strong on who I am and where I come from.

I have volunteered for many different programs and organizations thanks to my fraternity background. I am currently an inactive member of the Phi Kappa Thetas, a Catholic-based fraternity.

As for how I became motivated about promoting healthy choices regarding HIV prevention, the story begins in my early college years. My mom was somewhat overly protective and kept me in a glass box for pretty much my whole life. Entering college, I found myself with the freedom I have only ever dreamed about. College was my escape to new things. I was in control of my own life with nobody to tell me, “no.” As is the case with many people, college was an experimental “phase” for me. I wanted to do it all, the drugs, the sex, the tattoos, the parties.

Thank God, I was one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately, some of my friends weren’t so lucky. Many contracted STDs, while others contracted the HIV/AIDS virus. As I watched many of my friends crumble when they learned about what had happened to them, I didn’t know what to do or in what way I could help them.

Now, I do. Even if it’s too late for those friends of mine, it’s not too late for everyone else who is still unaware or uneducated on the consequences of what can happen if you are, or were like me — careless.

I am HIV negative, not in a relationship and I am currently not on PrEP. However, I think it is important and beneficial for Hispanics and Transgender persons, and anyone who is sexually active to consider using PrEP daily. Everyone should take extra precaution for their own health.

Know your status. Even though I haven’t been sexually active in many months, I still get tested. Now, I know you can never be too safe.

When I  hear the phrase, “Live Healthy, Live Longer,” I believe it means take care of your health and be a part of this world. I studied nutrition for a bit, because in my family, everyone is prone to deal with some sort of health problem, whether it’s high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, alcoholism, obesity, etc. With me not wanting to follow those footsteps, I took a turn for something more. I wanted to be healthy to be able to do what they couldn’t and to help my little sister also prevent health problems. Good health — physical and mental — has turned out to be of great importance in my life.

And stating, “I am here. I exist. I matter,” conveys to everyone that “I AM A PERSON, A HUMAN BEING. MY LIFE MATTERS.” Many people specify that “fill-in-the-blank life matters,” but at the end of the day, we are all brothers and sisters. We, as people, we matter. Regardless of your sexual orientation, the color of your skin, the language you speak, your religion, your political party, etc.

My long-term goal, straight up, is to have my own family, build my own home and just live a happy life.