Model Geena Rocero spoke of the need to support local health centers for transgender people during Saturday's Human Rights Campaign (HRC) gala in San Francisco.

Rocero, the founder of Gender Proud, came out transgender during a TED Talk last year.

“I moved to New York City to be a model,” Rocero said Saturday. “I had a big dream. But after almost a decade of living stealth, I'd had enough. I wanted to free myself. I wanted to own my story. So, I decided to come out in a TED Talk last year.”

Born in Manila to a working class family, Rocero began competing in beauty pageants at age 15. She immigrated to San Francisco at 17.

“I will be forever grateful to the trans initiatives at the [San Francisco] Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center,” Rocero said. “They took me in like family, taught me important things, like hormones, about my health and about my human rights. It is critical that we support local community health care centers.”