Central Florida activist Andrea Montanez begins new role with National LGBTQ Task Force

Andrea Montanez speaks, surrounded by LGBTQ+ activists, on Florida’s anti-trans ID card policy during a rally at Spektrum Health in Orlando on May 6. (Photo by Jeremy Williams)

ORLANDO | Andrea Montanez recently announced that she would be leaving her position at Hope Community Center to join the National LGBTQ Task Force as a Field Organizer.

“I am proud of the work we have accomplished together and grateful for the experiences and relationships I have gained during my tenure here,” Montanez wrote in a message to her supporters. “I am deeply grateful for the opportunities I have had at Hope Community Center and am excited to embark on this new chapter with the National LGBTQ Task Force. I firmly believe that my experiences and skills have prepared me to make a substantial impact in my new role, advocating for equity and justice for vulnerable communities on a national scale.”

The National LGBTQ Task Force is a nonprofit created to advances the full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ+ people all around our country, according to its website.

As field organizer with the National LGBTQ Task Force, Montanez will speak with legislators and work closely with the Advocacy and Action department. She will organize support and wage legislative, regulatory, policy and ballot box campaigns by mobilizing and training people to engage at all levels of our democracy. Montanez says she is most excited to meet the magical transgender communities around the different states, especially from different cultures.

Montanez brings a unique perspective to the role as someone who immigrated to the U.S. She moved from her home country of Colombia in 2000, adding that the culture here was very different from her home country but she felt safer starting her transition in the states. She says that living her life “undercover” came with some struggles. Montanez shared how she was under threat both for her work and her identity, and this pushed her to seek asylum in the U.S.

Montanez was working for the federal government at the beginning of her transition. It was at that time she took notice of the injustice within both the transgender and immigrant communities. Montanez knew in her heart that her calling was to be a defender and voice for her community.

She began her work at the Hope CommUnity Center as a Senior Racial Equity, LGBTQ+ and Immigration Organizer and quickly fell in love with meeting the individuals who make up the transgender and immigrant communities. Montanez has been with the Hope CommUnity Center for two and a half years.

The Hope CommUnity Center is a nonprofit organization in Apopka, Florida. Created in the early 1970s by Catholic nuns, the center was targeted to work with farmworkers and the working poor and in hopes of providing the underserved community with the resources needed to move toward social and economic justice. The community helps more than 20,000 people yearly. Hope CommUnity fosters diverse, empowered, learning communities engaged in personal and societal transformation. People like Montanez left an impact in Apopka, as she created the first community group centered around queer transgender immigrants, the “Q-TIs.”

On May 6, Montanez stood up as a member of Hope CommUnity Center, alongside members of other LGBTQ+ organizations, at SPEKTRUM HEALTH in Orlando to advocate for transgender, immigrant and homeless communities affected by Florida’s recent policy changes on ID cards. In January of 2024, Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and motor vehicles issued a memo that prohibits transgender residents from changing their gender marker on their license or state ID.

Among her many accomplishments, Montanez was named one of Watermark’s Most Remarkable People in 2022.

Montanez firmly believes that her experience and skills have prepared her to make a substantial impact in her new role, advocating for equality and justice for vulnerable communities on a national scale. She seeks to bring a unique perspective to the task force as a new hire, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and representation.

You can learn more about Montanez’s new role at the National LGBTQ Task Force by visiting TheTaskForce.org.

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