How often does an individual who possesses a sharp wit, unique charm, intelligence, timeless beauty, and a commitment to the greater good come along? TITA AIDA, as we all know her, is the answer. In the early 90’s as the AIDS epidemic was affecting every community on every level, the Asian & Pacific Islander (A&PI) communities was searching for a role model, someone who truly understood the issues and the devastating impact in our communities. Given that A&PIs are a caring and nurturing community, they needed someone with a “softer yet bold” approach in dealing with HIV/AIDS. It was at that time that TITA AIDA was born.
“Tita” in Hawaiian means “big sister.” In the Philippines, Tita means “aunt.” Both meanings have clear cultural references to what Tita Aida is all about to this very day. Tita Aida embraced this role and extended her open arms to care for those in her communities impacted by HIV/AIDS. Identifying as a Filipina transgender woman, she was ready to face the obstacles ahead of her. Armed with her compassion, Tita Aida worked at Asian AIDS Project (one of the agencies that later became A&PI Wellness Center) to join the fight to halt the spread of HIV and AIDS.
Tita Aida was instrumental in raising awareness and bridging access for members of our communities to vital HIV education and prevention information and services. She tirelessly de-stigmatized this disease called AIDS to ensure that services were not denied and made readily available to all who needed support. She actively participated in numerous visibility campaigns, hosted transgender beauty pageants, and organized outreach and educational efforts in the form of entertainment in various bars and establishments where A&PIs congregate.
Throughout the years, Tita Aida has taken on the role of advocate, activist and local celebrity. Tita Aida has become a sought-after personality in the queer Asian & Pacific Islander communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Tita Aida has worn a several “hats” in the public eye. In 2008, she was also appointed by the Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco to the Commission on Status of Women, in where she served for a year. After then, she served on the Entertainment Commission for three months. Lastly, Tita Aida spent ten years on the Board of Directors for San Francisco Pride. Though short lived towards the end, she served as President of the Board for SF Pride. However, her most proud moments still is her role as Program Supervisor for the Transgender Programs of the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center which she has been with since 1994.
Tita Aida makes it a point to bring her creativity to the community. She is one of the”lead performers” of the world famous 3- star restaurant, Asia SF in San Francisco. You can practically catch her every week at the local hot spot! In 2007, she was one of the models for the AIDS Housing Alliance’s Desperate DIVAS Calendar 2008.
The beginning of 2008 was the start of Tita Aida’s new chapter in life. Tita ventured in producing “Catwalk”, a modeling competition that catered to the Male to Female Transgender Community. Catwalk is just a beginning to numerous projects that she will be engaging in the years to come.. She will be launching her new website in Fall of 2011. www.titaaida.com.