Johanna Padilla Wins APAIT Health Center’s 10th Annual Quest Pageant on December 15
December 15, 2012
Los Angeles, CA—Johanna Padilla became the winner of APAIT Health Center’s ground-breaking Quest Advocacy Pageant. Quest encourages the development and advancement of transgenders and celebrates the uniqueness and diversity of the transgender community.
“Ms. Padilla is only 21 years old, the youngest Quest titleholder we’ve had,” said Jury Candelario, CEO of APAIT Health Center. “She is the epitome of a new generation of transpeople who’ll be leading the LGBT community.”
Thirteen women representing various organizations supporting transgenders shared the stage on December 15th. However, Johanna Padilla representing Survivors’ Truth was named Quest: Woman of the Year, 2012. Her organization Survivors’ Truth “creates media projects that support the recovery of groups affected by violence or discrimination and raise awareness among a larger audience.”
There was an array of distinguished judges at the event, including Mike Ai, a Legislative Aide from the LA Mayor’s office and James Gilliam, Deputy Executive Director of the ACLA of Southern California.
According to Mr. Gilliam, “It was an honor to serve again as a judge for APAIT Health Center’s 2012 Quest Woman of the Year pageant, an event that empowers transgender women to be advocates for themselves and their community. I know firsthand from my representation of young, transgender students that the societal struggles these women sometimes face are overcome by the personal resilience they develop when standing up for themselves. Quest helps these young women accomplish that goal with glitz and style.”
The evening also honored transgender leaders Karina Samala and Asia Vitale. Van Ness Recovery House received the first-ever Alexis Rivera Courage-in-Leadership award, named after the first Quest Winner. Alexis Rivera passed away earlier this year.
The main goals of Quest are: 1) empower the male-to-female transgender (MTF TG) community with information on HIV transmission and prevention; 2) provide positive role models and a sense of community to counteract the stigma that leads to low self-esteem and high-risk behaviors among this population; 3) train MTF TG advocates and role models on issues of HIV; and 4) disseminate information regarding APAIT Health Center services into the community.