Cecilia Gentili

Interviewed By Michelle Esther o'Brien

Cecilia Gentili is the Director of Policy at Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC). In this wide-ranging interview, she reflects on the relationships and experiences that inform her story of struggle, resilience, and joy. Cecilia recounts her childhood and adolescence in Gálvez, Argentina, describing complex family dynamics and early experiences with gender nonconformity and transphobia. She also shares her memories of the military dictatorship, and the effects of this legacy of violence, trauma and fear on her own family and Argentine society. She chronicles later life in the city of Rosario, where she discovered a trans community as a student, sex worker and performer. Cecilia’s journey also includes years in Miami and New York City facing addiction, homelessness, incarceration, and life under threat of deportation as an undocumented immigrant. Finally, she considers her professional success today as an organizer and advocate for the trans community and beyond. Summary by Justine Ambrose. P... Read more

Cecilia Gentili is the Director of Policy at Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC). In this wide-ranging interview, she reflects on the relationships and experiences that inform her story of struggle, resilience, and joy. Cecilia recounts her childhood and adolescence in Gálvez, Argentina, describing complex family dynamics and early experiences with gender nonconformity and transphobia. She also shares her memories of the military dictatorship, and the effects of this legacy of violence, trauma and fear on her own family and Argentine society. She chronicles later life in the city of Rosario, where she discovered a trans community as a student, sex worker and performer. Cecilia’s journey also includes years in Miami and New York City facing addiction, homelessness, incarceration, and life under threat of deportation as an undocumented immigrant. Finally, she considers her professional success today as an organizer and advocate for the trans community and beyond. Summary by Justine Ambrose. Photo by Leah James.

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doing it my way (02:10:27)
that my ideas of sucsses (02:10:34)
wanted a office (02:10:40)
agian my ideas of my success was geeting a office (02:10:53)
the office was a big deal (02:10:55)
huge (02:10:56)
worked for four years as an avocator (02:11:19)
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was thought how to write (02:12:32)
meant alot (02:12:49)
hire trangender people (02:13:45)
reach out for sex workers (02:15:14)
social workers read about sex workers (02:15:23)
they know the bussiness (02:16:28)
Trans work (02:18:46)

Transcript

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Interview Data

Date of Interview
July 14, 2017
Location of Interview
Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), New York
Place of birth
Gálvez, Santa Fe, Argentina
Occupations
Director of Policy at Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC)
Birth Year
1972
Gender Pronouns
She (Whatever)
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About This Collection

NYC Trans Oral History Project

NYPL's Community Oral History Project is teaming up with the NYC Trans Oral History Project to collect, preserve, and share oral histories from our city's transgender and gender non-conforming communities. 

We'll be training a community corps of interviewers to collect these largely undocumented oral histories in order to build a lasting and expansive archive on NYC transgender experiences.

About the NYC Trans Oral History Project:

We are a collective, community archive working to document transgender resistance and resilience in New York City. We work to confront the erasure of trans lives and to record diverse histories of gender as intersecting with race and racism, poverty, dis/ability, aging, housing migration, sexism, and the AIDS crisis. 

We are inspired by the public history activism of the ACT UP oral history project to build knowledge as a part of our anti-oppression work. We believe oral history is a powerful part of social justice work, and that building an alternative archive of transgender histories can transform our organizing for transgender liberation. 

You can listen to interviews, search interviews tags (like #genderfluidity #self-knowledge #gentrification and #queerfamily), and soon read transcripts. We hope the interviews and tags will preserve and proliferate new knowledges about trans and gender non-conforming experiences.

Content warning: Many of the interviews here include personal accounts of violence, sexual assault, abuse as children, or trauma.