A favorite quote of Anna's....
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters...... Compared to what lies within us."
~ Raplph Waldo Emerson
Anna Dancinger was a beloved community member who had a rich history of service on behalf of the LGBTQ+ Community in the El Paso/Juárez region. Anna lived her life as a transgender woman and the visibility she created and advocacy that she accomplished aided countless LGBQT+ people during her lifetime.
Anna lit up a room when she walked in. Style, grace, and a down-to-earth professionalism were her hallmarks. For 12 years Anna worked in various capacities at La Fe Care Center in El Paso. As a state-certified Community Health Worker, certified in HIV Prevention, Counseling/Partner Elicitation, she provided HIV and STI testing and education and linkage to care for clients. She developed a Harm and Risk Reduction Program for high-risk clients. Her passion for health education led her to develop and deliver training for health care providers about how to better serve sexual and gender minority clients.
Some people still remember when she worked as a bartender at Sergio’s Bar downtown on St.Vrain in 1997-2002. After that, she earned a bachelor's degree in Public Health Education at El Paso Community College. Anna also worked as an LGBTQ Liasion at Project Vida, and a PReP Navigator for the LGBT BePrEPared Clinic where she helped get LGBTQ clients access to dental, medical, and HIV care. She was especially adept at reaching transgender and BIPOC folks.
Clients who she worked with often talked about how open and non-judgmental she was. She had a talent for making people feel comfortable and accepted. Anna really embodied what it means to do “harm reduction” work, where folks are given access to health care and treatment they need, even if they may still engage in some risky behaviors. She tore down barriers for underserved people and helped them feel safe in trying to live healthier and safer lives in whatever way they could. “She was so knowledgeable and gracious while also being straightforward about the information I needed to know. No matter what we discussed, I never felt embarrassed or judged,” said one client who preferred to remain anonymous.
Throughout her career, Anna received many awards and honors, including being chosen as the Outreach Person of The Year in 2013 for La Fe CARE Center and receiving a Certificate for Excellent Service in Latino Community Health. Anna was recognized as a leader and served on several important committees, networks, and boards. Among these services are the El Paso HIV Mobilization Committee and the LGBTQ Community Committee to State Senator Jose Rodriguez. Her service with the HIV Syndicate for the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) led to her participating in providing data for a peer-reviewed publication,”Evaluation of a Community Health Worker Intervention to Reduce HIV/AIDS Stigma and Increase HIV Testing Among Underserved Latinos in the Southwestern U.S.” This and her five years of service with the Community Planning Committee at DSHS spread her impact beyond the Borderland to reach throughout Texas and the nation.
Anna was one of many LGBTQ people to serve on the board of our local El Paso PFLAG Chapter. She had a passion for supporting people in their quest for knowledge. She answered questions openly and frankly and spoke at many events and to many groups about her experiences as a transgender woman, and about how to relate to and support LGBTQ+ people.
On the personal side, Anna loved fashion and was always impeccably dressed and coiffed whenever she was out and about. She embraced her femininity and was a strong and beautiful woman. She loved her Michael Kors handbags, and had the most fabulous shoes and accessories. She was generous with her fashion and personal advice and always kept confidences shared with her. She was a devoted pet owner, who cherished her beautiful dogs including lovingly taking them on frequent walks. Many of her friends remember her for her warmth and genuineness.