Tiana Perez is a Fresno transplant from San Diego. She is the founder and organizer of the Fresno Fresbians and a current Reel Pride Board Member. She has a degree in Architecture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she also created a lesbian social group called “The Closet.” She tries her best to stay active and give back to the Fresno LGBT community and idolizes all of the amazing leaders she has met in Fresno.
How long have you lived in the Central Valley?
I moved here for love in 2008, and I have been here ever since.
Married or single?
Considering I moved here from San Luis Obispo and decided NOT to move back home San Diego, I’d say our relationship (although not officially married…YET) is very serious one. She’s pretty amazing.
When did you come out to the first person in your life?
I came out to my best friend during my 3rd year at Cal Poly and she convinced me to come out to my family and friends. I was lucky to be surrounded by loving and accepting friends and family.
Something you like about yourself?
I like to think I’m pretty funny, then again, people might just be laughing at me and not with me…..hmmm.
Something you dislike about yourself?
I tend to underestimate my capabilities and I think if I would just have more confidence in the things I can do, I might have accomplished a lot more in my life. I’m working on that.
Character trait in others that you most admire?
There is nothing more attractive than a person with goals and determination. I admire people who continue to work hard in spite of the bad hands they may have been dealt. It’s really inspirational for those of us who have a hard time finding motivation.
Character trait in others that you most dislike?
I think it’s more of a pet peeve, but I really can’t stand when people air dirty laundry all over social media. Be civil, talk it out and work it out with the people involved, not with friends, acquaintances, and strangers who probably have no idea what’s really going on.
What is your biggest regret?
Usually when something turns out differently and I begin to regret the action that brought me there, I find out there was a reason it all happened the way it did. So I can’t say I regret anything that has happened because in the end it brought me to Lynda and the life we have together today. Just like Garth Brooks says, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” And when you’re feeling “regretful” about something remember these wise words, “Shake it off, Shake it off.” Thanks Taylor Swift for always giving us lyrics to life.
What are you most passionate about?
My biggest drive in life is to make people proud of me and the things I do, and to make people smile along the way. I hope that all of my hard work will eventually help make a better life for me, my fiancé, and our future family. I guess that means I’m passionate about the people in my life.
Favorite thing to do in your free time?
Whenever I have “enough” free time, my favorite thing to do is travel, even if it’s just a 45 min road trip. There’s something refreshing about a change of scenery and it can sometimes make you really appreciate coming back home.
What aggravates you the most?
If you ask my fiancé, she will tell you that her road rage really aggravates me. I can go for giggly and goofy to irritated and angry in a split second when she starts yelling out of the car window while driving past someone who cut her off. Maybe I get so angry because road rage is contagious?
What makes you the happiest?
Little acts of kindness and appreciation. I think everyone needs to know they are appreciated once in a while. It makes all the hard times seem worth it. So if it’s getting “just because” flowers from my fiancé, or paying for the stranger behind me in the Starbucks drive-thru, knowing that you made someone feel special for even a split second really warms the heart.
What are you, quite frankly, over?
The Learning Channel. When did it become the trash reality TV channel?
What is your biggest challenge?
Trying to keep to an exercise schedule and cutting unhealthy food out of my diet. I’m really trying to get healthy and it’s not easy. Sometimes I feel like I need to go to fast food rehab or something.
What was your favorite decade so far?
Out of the 3 decades I have lived through in my life, I have to say the 90’s. The days of the Spice Girls and their Girl Power campaign was really empowering for me as a teenage girl. Not to mention, probably my first years of acknowledging (at least to myself) that I was a lesbian in love with Posh Spice.
Who is your favorite person to talk to?
The one person who I talk to pretty much every day is my little sister, Lauren. She and I have the same sense of humor and I know if I’m having a really rough day she will always find a way to laugh about it with me. We can start out complaining together and end our conversation laughing over a battle of puns.
Name a person you know personally who has had the biggest impact on you?
Without a doubt, my mother! She has raised 3 amazing women (including me) as a young single mother. She’s had heartbreak but never settled for less than what she deserved. Now she is a marathon runner who shows me anything is possible with hard work and dedication.
Name a person you don’t know who has had the biggest impact on you?
Angelina Jolie. She was the person who made it impossible for me to deny I’m a lesbian. I credit my coming out to her and that Lara Croft outfit.
The most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
No matter how kind and considerate you are, there will always be someone who will challenge you, disrespect you, not appreciate you, and just overall, find a reason not to like you. You can’t and won’t please everyone. The most important person to make happy is you, those who stick around, will love you more than anyone else.
Besides a phone, what piece of technology can you not live without?
GPS. I don’t think I’d be able to find my way to my own bedroom if I didn’t have GPS.
What superpower would you most like to have?
I always want to say “to be able to fly” but honestly, I’m afraid of heights and I’m not sure I’d use that super power to its fullest extent, then again, I might not be afraid of heights if I could fly instead of fall. I guess I’d say I want whatever super power Shane from the L-Word had….hahaha!
Who would you like to play you in a movie about your life?
Tina Fey, I think she’d have the perfect combination of nerdy, funny, and sexy (mostly, because of the sexy part).
What is the best part of your day?
That moment after a good workout, when you’re all hyped up on endorphins and you feel like you can take on the world. That’s the best part of the day! That, or the part of the day after you finish a cup of coffee. I’m pretty sure it’s the same feeling.
What is your proudest moment?
My proudest moment was when we first debuted SheBar in February of 2013. Over 250, women packed the bar that night. We had amazing drag kings that completely enjoyed themselves and a bar full of women who danced the night away. It was the most exciting moment of my life. It was really overwhelming to see the amount of support the Fresno Fresbians have.
Who did you overlook in your past?
Considering I’m shorter than 90% of the people in my life, I don’t think I had the ability to “OVER”look anyone. I may have “under”looked a person or two.
What have you overcome?
I graduated high school with a 4.60 GPA when my principal told me I wasn’t going to meet the graduation requirements because of a mistake my school counselor made. I then got accepted to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, when the same principal told me it would be a waste of time to apply for any college that wasn’t a community college because I wasn’t going to be accepted because of the same mistake my counselor made. I then graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture even though a design professor tore up my final project and suggested I switch majors because I would never make it as an architect. I’m now currently working as an architectural design while pursuing my California State Architecture’s license.
Where is your ideal place to live?
Eventually I would love to move back to San Luis Obispo. Being nestled in that city between green hills and beaches is a feeling of relaxation I will never forget. Even at my most stressful moments could be cured by a walk down the pier in Avila Beach.
What words do you live by?
Be kind everyone you meet and always help those in need when possible because someday you may be the one in need.