Volunteer Spotlight: Kobi Mar
To the attendees, AHP’s annual auction is a gala: delicious food and wine, great art, exhilarating competitive bidding, views of Yerba Buena Park and downtown San Francisco from the City View’s terrace. For San Francisco-based therapist Kobi Mar, Psy.D., the auction is remarkable not only because of the art, the food, or the venue. Art for AIDS is remarkable because of the diverse group of individuals who attend: “It was impressive to see people from so many walks of life coming together in one room—artists, students, and health care providers.” That’s one of the reasons Kobi volunteers with AHP. Even though he is not a professional art installer and even though the task is hard work, Kobi is one of a cadre of volunteers who has been eager to lend a hand to create this collective good will and raise money for AHP. In fact, it’s no coincidence that, with the help of energetic, engaging, creative people like Kobi, the installation effort resembles the auction; as artists, collectors, students, UCSF faculty and staff, health care providers, AHP staff, and others come together to create a dazzling night of good will generating and art bidding and buying.
Kobi began to identify as gender complex when he was 24. It was also around this time that some of Kobi’s friends and acquaintances were diagnosed as HIV-positive and a few passed away. Today, Kobi’s therapeutic work focuses on helping transgender and gender diverse children and adults. He asserted that no one, whatever their gender or orientation, should be denied health care or should find it difficult to get support, “Providing mental health services for those who do not always have equal access to health care is something I see as important. AHP creates a safe space” for these services.
That’s why Kobi serves on the AHP Community Advisory Board. He does not see himself as a spokesperson for the trans community, gently reminding that he is “only one of the many voices.” Still, he hopes his voice can create change and looks forward to continuing his work with AHP in order to further represent and affirm health care services for people who identify as transgender, as well as for people of color.
As a CAB member, Kobi’s networking and advisory efforts, just like installing artwork in an exhibition space for AHP’s fundraiser, represent simply another way to put the pieces together. Yes, he’s giving back to AHP, as a volunteer and advisor, acts which we so much appreciate, but there is no doubt about it: Kobi inspires us in his commitment to equal access for transgender, genderqueer, and people of color, and the wisdom he displays toward this goal in his advisory role on the CAB. Thank you Kobi Mar!