Visibili-T is dedicated to transgender members of our community in Central Florida and Tampa Bay, some you know and many you don’t. It is designed to amplify their voices and detail their experiences in life.
This issue, we chat with Orlando’s Kory Alfonso about his life in The City Beautiful and involvement in its LGBTQ+ community. Alfonso, who was born in Miami, came to Orlando at a young age when he was adopted by his aunt after his mom lost her life at the start of his. Alfonso has worked for Thompson Cigars since 2014, a job that took him west to the Tampa Bay area until the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the pandemic hit, we all went to work from home and that allowed me to return to Orlando,” Alfonso says.
That was about two years ago and Alfonso says like many people, the pandemic turned him into a homebody.
“I’ve lived with my beautiful partner for a couple of years now,” he says. “We share a nice home with three cats and a dog, so we spend a lot of time at home with them.”
As the world has opened back up over the last few years, Alfonso says he has been exploring how he can be more a part of the LGBTQ+ community in Central Florida.
“Recently, I went through the volunteer orientation with The Center Orlando,” he says. “I’m getting back on the train of things, volunteering and getting involved with the community again.”
One way that he has been getting involved is through Peer Support Space, a peer-led organization focused on offering mental health support in Central Florida. Alfonso is a 1:1 Peer Supporter and has been with them for about a year and a half.
“It’s been so lovely being a part of that community and it’s been so rewarding helping and being a part of something that means so much to so many people,” he says.
Alfonso is particularly fond of Peer Support Space’s “Be Kind to Your Mind” events. Held on the second Tuesday of every month, it is a community gathering led by and for peers that want to offer support in a nonjudgmental environment.
“We’ve been seeing so many folks come out and utilize these support groups and we’re seeing how important they are for the community, and it isn’t just gay or trans folks, it’s people from all walks of life,” Alfonso says. “It really has been an amazing experience.”
Something else that Alfonso has been getting into, thanks to his girlfriend, as been focusing on his overall wellness and mental health.
“My girlfriend is in the yoga community,” he says. “So she has me doing a little meditation in the morning, even if it is just for 10 minutes, it makes a world of difference. I also take our dog out for walks to clear my head.”
Most days Alfonso just likes to write, something he used to be more active with and wants to do more of, or he hangs out with friends when he can. He’s not a big TV watcher but when he does watch he likes to put on what he calls “trashy reality TV.” He is a big reader though listing Yung Pueblo, Jack Kerouac and Pablo Neruda as a few of his favorite authors.
“In all honesty, my life isn’t all that interesting,” he laughs. “The biggest thing for me is just trying to be more mindful and patient with myself. My mind goes at 100 miles an hour, especially with everything going on. So I try to focus on the things I can control instead of the things I can’t.”
The “everything going on” he’s talking about? The constant attacks on the transgender community from politicians who are vilifying the lives of trans folks.
“I want the freedom to be able to be myself without all the pressure of people’s opinions that are jeopardizing kids’ lives,” Alfonso says. “These white, cis, older men who are making the decisions for all of us, they are worrying about the wrong shit.”
Those pressures have led him to fantasize about living in another country someday.
“I’d love to go to Europe, Spain maybe. My girlfriend is Italian so I would love to go there,” he says.
Even with all that he and the community are facing in Florida right now, Alfonso does offer up some words of encouragement.
“Even though there are times when the light is dim, it is never out,” he says.
Interested in being featured in Visibili-T? Email Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Williams in Central Florida or Managing Editor Ryan Williams-Jent in Tampa Bay.