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Today in
S.C.V. History
March 21
1837 - Ysabel Varela born in Placerville; became second wife (and widow) of SCV landowner Ygnacio del Valle. [story]

Cadence Valentine, a graduate student in social work at CSUN, recognized years ago that the media can be a powerful tool in helping people overcome their prejudices and preconceived notions about people who they think are different.

When Valentine received an email last year from Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne asking to meet with her as part of his research for his role in the now critically acclaimed “The Danish Girl,” the 35-year-old gave his request careful consideration, and then said yes.

“It was the kind of email that anyone would send — no pretense, no Hollywood anything – just like Eddie,” she said. “He had heard that I was a trans woman, that I have a partner who was with me for 11 years prior to transition and followed me through transition, and that we’re still together today, almost 15 years now. He wanted to talk because our experiences — of me and my partner, Trista — were similar to the ones in ‘The Danish Girl.’’’

Redmayne spent hours talking to Valentine and her partner, exploring the dynamics of their relationship and the strength of their commitment to each other when Valentine, then a perceptually male heterosexual, came out to Trista Hidalgo in 2011 and later transitioned.

“We pretty much opened up our entire lives to him and gave him a peak of what this whole experience was like,” Valentine said. “He was just amazing. I had been very, very nervous given all the politics in Hollywood and its representation of trans people. He understood. We both agreed that there are valid and inarguable problems regarding trans representation in the media. He got it, and I trusted that he would do a good job.”

Critics have lavished praise on Redmayne’s portrayal in “The Danish Girl” of 1920s landscape artist Einar Wegener, who transitions to Lili with the help of wife Gerda. But for Valentine, an advocate for the transgender community, the true test was whether Redmayne’s character accurately reflected what it is like to be transgender for her.

“His depiction is very genuine,” Valentine said. “The film is astounding. It is, in my opinion, flawless.

“There are little pieces of dialogue in the film, scenes in the film that are almost direct representations of stories we told him,” she continued. “My partner and I sat in a screening of the film holding each other’s hand, and every time one of those moments happened, we’d look at each other crying, squeezing the other’s hand.”

Valentine first attended CSUN from 2004 to 2006, studying cinema and television arts. But she dropped out to start her own business — a hot rod shop that customized cars.

“I did the whole masculine thing in my previous life: was a Marine, built hot rods and raced cars, and traveled the world doing it,” she said.

Valentine returned to CSUN a few years ago and earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in queer studies in 2014. She initially thought she wanted to serve as a counselor for others, including trans people, their families and loved ones. But as she became involved with CSUN’s Pride Center, which serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students, and helped establish programs for the campus’ trans community, her focus shifted.

“I came to CSUN with one direction in mind, but there came a specific point in my life when I realized that was not going to be my journey,” she said. “I’ve learned to master spinning lots of plates. As an undergrad I worked at the Pride Center while also working for a nonprofit in Hollywood as a coordinator of its HIV education and prevention program for trans women and MSM (men who have sex with men) community.

“While I was still dealing with all the hardships of being a trans woman, I also had a lot of privilege,” Valentine continued. “My story is so rare. Unfortunately, a lot of other trans people who come out do not have partners who support them. The partners aren’t bad people. When you are in a heterosexual relationship and your partner does not identify with the ideas you thought both started out with, you have to make a decision. It can be hard for somebody who defines themselves as heterosexual, not a de facto lesbian or queer. Just like one’s gender identity, sexual identity also isn’t a choice.”

Recognizing the gift her partner, Trista Hidalgo, has given her — her unwavering love and support — Valentine decided to become a public and vocal advocate for the trans community.

“I don’t see how I could not,” she said.

Valentine has been invited by CSUN faculty to educate their classes about the trans community. She founded and helped organize CSUN’s now annual Trans Awareness Week. She has educated students at various CSU campuses, USC, UCLA, Antioch University, Cal Arts and many more. She has also worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to educate law enforcement officials about the issues facing the transgender community and dispel misconceptions about trans people.

She also is part of a national effort to get health insurance companies and health care providers to remove exclusions of coverage based on gender identity and expression. Her first target several years ago was here in California. Kaiser Permanente, her health care provider at the time, refused to provide her coverage for her transition. She fought back and won, not only getting coverage for her transition, but for all trans Kaiser members who followed her. Kaiser is now considered a leader in the coverage it provides to the transgender community. Her efforts also contributed to changes at the state level, eliminating exclusions of coverage based on gender identity and expression in Medi-Cal recipients.

Valentine noted that there is some irony with her work on one of Hollywood’s most talked-about films of the year, “The Danish Girl.”

“The trans community seems to be a favorite topic to mine in Hollywood at the moment, with not only ‘The Danish Girl,’ but ‘Orange is the New Black,’ ‘Transparent’ and other shows,” she said. “Yet its unions, SAG-AFTRA and others, exclude trans coverage in their own group insurance policies. Someday soon, I hope that changes.”

In the meantime, Valentine is balancing even more plates in the air as she organizes a series of lectures CSUN Women’s Research and Resource Center to take place at the university next spring called “Behind Closed Doors.” The lectures will center around topics such as BDSM and discussions around Sex Work and decriminalization. She continues to accept requests to speak – across the country. She’s taking advantage of the opportunities “The Danish Girl” presents for her to educate people about what it is like to be a trans person.

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Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018
Radio station 88.5 FM/Los Angeles, Southern California’s leading Triple-A (adult album alternative) format station and headquartered at California State University, Northridge, is adding Andy Chanley to its afternoon drive spot.
Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018
Comic books, comic strips, graphic novels and web comics often provide an escape from reality.
Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018
On Friday, March 23, CalArts alum Travis Wilkerson’s (Film/Video MFA 01) latest documentary, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? screens at CalArts' Bijou theater.
Monday, Mar 19, 2018
Chandra Subramaniam spent his first week as the new dean of California State University, Northridge’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics learning about the job and the people he’ll be working with.
Thursday, Mar 15, 2018
Campus Compact — a Boston based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education — has announced the 268 students who will make up the 2018 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. Among them is California State University, Northridge graduate student Lilia Gonzalez.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
A flash flood watch will be in effect from 11 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 5 a.m. due to heavy rain expected over the next couple of days, according to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.
Flash Flood Watch in Effect Wednesday PM to Friday AM
Radio station 88.5 FM/Los Angeles, Southern California’s leading Triple-A (adult album alternative) format station and headquartered at California State University, Northridge, is adding Andy Chanley to its afternoon drive spot.
88.5 FM/Los Angeles Adds Andy Chanley to PM Drive
The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control encourages all pet owners to make their homes pet-safe during National Poison Prevention Week, now through Saturday, March 24.
March 18-24: National Pet Poison Prevention Week
The family-friendly Gilchrist Farm in Bouquet Canyon will host its annual egg hunt and Spring Fling on Saturday, March 31.
March 31: Egg Hunt, Spring Fling at Gilchrist Farm
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CSUN's softball team will host the Matador Classic this weekend with Cal Poly, Pacific, Santa Clara and Georgia Tech all visiting the Matador Diamond in Northridge.
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Fale Avin's two-out RBI single in the top of the 11th sent No. 5 Oklahoma past the CSUN softball team 2-1 Monday afternoon.
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No. 4/5 Notre Dame Defeats CSUN 99-81
CSUN senior Arvis Greene picked up his second consecutive Big West Player of the Week award in men's volleyball Monday after leading the then-No. 10 Matadors to a pair of upset wins over No. 3 Hawai'i last week.
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Kameron Quitno safely slid across the plate for the first home run of his collegiate career, sparking the TMU Mustangs to a 13-4 win over visiting Bethesda University on Tuesday at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.
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Walmart recently expanded its test of new AI shelf-scanning technology to four stores in Southern California, including the store on Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia.
Walmart Launches AI Shelf-Scanning Technology at SCV Store
James Allen Hayes, 55, nicknamed by law enforcement authorities as the "Seasoned Bandit" because of his age, has formally pleaded guilty to robbing four banks in 2017, including two in the Santa Clarita Valley.
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The Senate Education Committee gave a thumbs-up to Senate Bill 1009 (SB 1009), a measure to expand access to community college tutoring, according to California Senator Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley), who introduced the bill.
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Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters doused a house fire in the 24700 block of Chestnut Street in Newhall Wednesday morning.
Firefighters Douse House Blaze in Newhall
To celebrate California’s Water Awareness month, SCV Water will hold its annual Open House on Saturday, May 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Central Park and at its conservation garden and patio located above the park.
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The city of Santa Clarita is urging residents and businesses, specifically those living near the recent burn areas of Sand Fire in the Sand Canyon area, to take extra precautions and stay alert as heavy rains fall this week.
City Urges Residents to Take Precautions During Storm
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies out to lunch at a local fast-food restaurant recognized and arrested a 29-year-old man with two outstanding warrants Tuesday, according to officials.
SCV Deputies Arrest Fast-Food Diner on 2 Warrants, Drug Possession
March hasn’t brought a miracle to California, but it has improved the state’s water picture enough to at least delay any drought declarations.
Prospect of California Drought Persists Despite Recent Rain
1837 - Ysabel Varela born in Placerville; became second wife (and widow) of SCV landowner Ygnacio del Valle. [story]
The William S. Hart High School Wind Ensemble & Concert Band, as well as the Placerita Junior High School Advanced Band will be holding a Rich Musical Heritage Concert, Thursday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m.
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Blue Star Ranch Seeking Volunteers
Comic books, comic strips, graphic novels and web comics often provide an escape from reality.
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On Friday, March 23, CalArts alum Travis Wilkerson’s (Film/Video MFA 01) latest documentary, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? screens at CalArts' Bijou theater.
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Family Promise of Santa Clarita Valley, a non-profit that mobilizes community faith groups in the SCV to assist homeless families, recently announced that after six years at its current Resource Center, they are in need of finding a new site for its offices in order to provide services to homeless families.
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Adonna Khare will demonstrate carbon art at the April 16 meeting of the Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA). This event is free, open to the public and meets at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd.
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The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center will hold a Cyber Security: If It's Connected, It Must be Protected Presentation on Wednesday, March 21 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. in Rooms A1 and A2.
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