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Francesca de Vera: San Diego Public Library Youth and Engagement Coordinator & Co-Chair of LGBTQIA+ Library Services 

By JP Emerson

Please tell us about yourself.

My name is Francesca de Vera (she/ella). I am a proud Filipine and Latine trans queer woman of color. I have lived in San Diego for about 5 years now. I am originally from San Jose, CA in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I attended San Jose State University, where I received a B.A. and M.A. in American History and a second Master’s in Library Information Science.  In my personal and professional life, I champion social justice and queer/trans BIPOC community empowerment. In my free time I enjoy going to the beach, reading, and spending time with family.

I am also a librarian and the Youth and Engagement Coordinator for the San Diego Public Library. My role is to develop engaging, innovative, and inclusive programs for our 36 library locations in the City of San Diego. Our recent, Winter Reading Challenge in January 2024 focused on “Where we Come From,” encouraged community to explore history and culture.

As a librarian I center equity and inclusivity in the programs, initiatives, and partnerships I develop and lead. Since 2020, I have served as one of the leaders on the library’s LGBTQIA+ Library Service’s Committee where my mission has been to ensure my library’s system’s programs, collections, and spaces are inclusive to San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community. One of my favorite programs to facilitate is our Pride Storytime series, a family-friendly way of recognizing and celebrating our diversity and individuality through age-appropriate stories & song. Everyone has a story to tell, and it’s through our stories that we are able to celebrate our unique identities and experiences. 

Please explain the importance of celebrating and being aware of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month?

Today, celebrating and bringing awareness to Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month is paramount to both my personal and professional life.  Growing up in the U.S., I often felt disconnected from my AAPI heritage, an experience shared with my cousins born in America. Our family attended huge parties and family reunions, where our Catholic faith and Filipino food such as pancit, lumpia, and ube connected us. However, I did not start learning about the beautiful stories and histories until much later. I often learned about these stories at funerals or years later after my loved ones had passed. Before coming to America, I learned that my Lola, Felisa, the center of our family, was a strong woman, not only did she survive WWII, but later became a self-taught butcher selling meat at the local market. Years later, my Lola and Lolo would come to America, and worked in Harrah’s casino to give our family a better life. When my parents, were ready to start their own family, they gave them the down payment to purchase our home in San Jose, CA. For me learning about these stories is important, they not only make me proud they allow me to share a better connection with those who came before me. My heritage and the stories of my ancestors ground me, by realizing our shared struggles, hopes, and dreams, I can take these experiences and be more resilient in my own life.  In addition, by learning about our AAPI identities, I can learn about their struggles, celebrate their experiences, and understand how I can be an ally in both my professional and personal life. 

Can you talk about the intersectionality of AAPI heritage and LGBTQ+ identification?

My whole life is defined by intersections of my AAPI heritage and LGBTQ+ identities. Growing up a multi-racial trans queer woman of color, I often found myself different and at a crossroads, between my racial make-up and gender identity. I never felt Filipine enough, Latine, enough, or women enough. I often found myself discriminated against and isolated due to my intersectional identities. Due to these adverse experiences, I still remember the deep shame of embracing who I was. I felt like in order to fit into the AAPI community I had to hide my LGBTQIA+ identities.

Today, I celebrate and center my AAPI heritage and LGBTQIA+ identities. Through years of unlearning and adopting new perspectives, I know I can only be happy and healed if I embrace my intersections that make me uniquely me. Through this act of healing, I am powerful, and can be a leader, and change maker in my community. 

What is the importance of book availability on the LGBTQ+ Experience especially from the point of view of people of color?

Growing up, I did not see myself in books or media. I think this was a main contributor in me believing that I was not enough.  As a librarian, books have always held a special place in my heart, it is through books that we are able to understand ourselves and the world around us. Luckily today, in books and the media we are starting to see a lot of diverse LGBTQ+ representation in books that highlight the intersectional identities of queer/trans people of color. As mirrors these books offer an opportunity of possibility and hope for AAPI LGBTQ+ youth suffering. And finally, these books are important as they serve as sliding glass doors and windows, so allies can understand the challenges, hopes, and common humanity that we all share. 

Do you have any recommendations for individuals wanting to know more about AAPI Heritage?

During the month of May, the San Diego Public Library celebrates AAPI Heritage month, at various locations throughout the city with diverse programming that focuses on AAPI culture, art, food, history, and performance. To learn more about specific events in your community, visit the San Diego Public Library’s main website or the AAPI Heritage month website at:

How can people connect with you?

If people want to learn more about the library, our events and programs, and the work I do, they are welcome to email me! My email is Our follow the library’s social media on Facebook or Instagram to learn more about what’s happening at your local library. 


Instagram and Twitter: @SDPublicLibrary

AAPI Heritage Month:

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