Marcy, 28, is local photographer, artist and writer. (Courtesy of Marcy)

Transgender individuals still face discrimination despite growing acceptance

EL PASO— Jenna Talackova, a 32-year-old Canadian model and television personality, was one of Miss Universe Canada 2012’s finalists, but she was disqualified from the competition when it was discovered that the beautiful blonde was born a boy. The contest organizers said that contestants must be ‘naturally born females’ and since Talackova had undergone surgery to become a woman, she could not compete. This is an example of the problems that transgender individuals face throughout their lives. These individuals also endure discrimination and harassment at school and in the workplace. Marcy, a 28-year-old woman who says she just happened to be born into a male body, realized from a very young age that she did not relate to the male gender.

A devout yogi for 3 years, Garza's flexibility and balance has increased considerably. (Jessica Alvarez/

Yoga practice stretches to new heights in El Paso

EL PASO — Yoga –the fastest growing form of exercise in America–  is connecting the body, the mind and spirit of El Pasoans in greater numbers than ever. Currently over 20 million Americans practice yoga on a regular basis and five new yoga studios emerged here in the past year, drawing as many new practitioners to bend and stretch as there are different reasons to join. “Yoga is an ancient Indian body of knowledge that dates back more than 5,000 years. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means ‘to unite or integrate,” according to the website the a-b-c of yoga. Yoga then, is about uniting a person’s consciousness with the universal consciousness.

Villanueva viene a El Paso como invitada a la premier de la película “Bendíceme, Última” o “Bless Me, Ultima.” (David Smith-Soto/

Zoila Villanueva – Una curandera con fe en dios y en la naturaleza humana

EL PASO — Recuperar el alma y limpiarla de malas energías es lo que hace Zoila Villanueva usando plantas medicinales. Pero antes, pide permiso a la tierra para arrancar las hojas necesarias y frotarlas en el cuerpo de sus pacientes. Al terminar la limpia, pedirá que las energías negativas abandonen el cuerpo del paciente y regresen a la tierra. “Las limpias se llevan a cabo cuando se dice que se perdió el alma, se te salió el alma. Es como regresarla,” dijo Villanueva.

Cultural background strongly influences a student’s decision to attend college

EL PASO – Vanessa Mata, a senior at Bowie High School, had to make the choice to be the first to attend college in her family. For Derek Emmett, a senior at Franklin High, attending college was not even a question. It was understood that he would attend. While both students will be going to college next year, the circumstances under which they decided to attend and which schools they chose to attend were very different. College attendance and choice today for El Paso students is directly affected by family involvement, socioeconomic status and cultural background.

D.J. Alfredo Macias. (Jessica Alvarez/

El Paso safer home for the border Electronic Dance Music community


El Paso’s Electronic Dance Music scene


[Natural sounds: Borderline Skitzo’s “Technopal” track]

JESSICA ALVAREZ (Reporter): While the violence in Juarez has increased significantly over the last 3 years, so has the safety and unity of El Paso’s Electronic Dance Music (EDM) community. Since 2008, many kids and young people have ceased going to Juarez to see their favorite DJs and acts and El Paso has become the place for such events. The EDM scene that existed in Juarez has now jumped across the river and is now thriving here in El Paso making it safer for young people to attend the events. [Nats: Borderline Skitzo’s “Technopal” track]

ALVAREZ: Rasmiyeh Rishdi Asam, also known as Miss Mia, is a regular party-goer and she is also a photographer for the local Electronic Dance Music scene. [Nats: Fredo Maci’s Original Track- “Something Made Simple”]

RASMIYEH RISHDI ASAM: “Because of how the violence has escalated in Juarez, it’s just dangerous to be in the streets in that kind of city or environment.