Tita Aida

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Tita Aida
Tita Aida at TDoV SF (cropped).jpg
Tita Aida receives an award at the 2016 Trans Day of Visibility celebration in San Francisco.
Nikki Calma

OccupationDirector/ Entertainer/Bay Area Local Personality
Known forHIV/AIDS & Transgender Activist

Nikki Calma, better known as Tita Aida, is a social activist from San Francisco, California. She is a long-time advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness, particularly among Asian American communities, and for transgender people.


Nikki Calma co-created the persona "Tita Aida" with the Filipino Task Force on AIDS for her role as an auntie, advocate, and HIV/AIDS awareness mentor. "Tita" means "Big sister" in Hawaiian, and it means "Aunt" in Tagalog. "Aida" is a reference to HIV/AIDS.[1]


Tita Aida was crucial in educating and de-stigmatizing HIV/AIDS in the Asian & Pacific Islander (API) LGBT communities in the early 1990s through her work with the Asian AIDS Project, which became Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center and now known as San Francisco Community Health Center in the San Francisco Bay Area.[2]

Tita Aida is active in many transgender initiatives in the United States.[3] She is currently the Director of Community Programs and HIV Services in which she also oversees and provides the direction over fifteen HIV services and community programs that is very important for San Francisco. Among them is TRANS:THRIVE, a drop-in center in San Francisco, California that caters to and serves the transgender community of the Bay Area.[4][5] She oversees the program, activities and services offered by the program.

In 2008, Tita Aida was assigned by Mayor Gavin Newsom to be the first transgender female as a commissioner to the Commission on Status of Women in the City of San Francisco in which she was instrumental in educating and providing vital information about the transgender community to the commission and its constituents.

She participated in the "I am Trans March" campaign for the 10th annual Trans March in 2013.[6] She was also featured in the first PSA developed by and aimed at the wellness of the Asian Pacific Islander transgender community as part of the 20th observance of World AIDS Day.[7]

Tita Aida was the subject of a 2012 film, Tita: Still Around, directed by S. Leo Chiang.[8]

For the past ten years, Tita Aida also has taken lead in organizing events such as Trans March SF, Transgender Day of Remembrance, National Transgender HIV Testing Day, API Pride Pavilion and Stage at San Francisco Pride in which these events provide safe spaces for these communities to congregate and flourish.

Honors and awards[edit]

Aida receiving a certificate of honor from San Francisco supervisor Aaron Peskin, November 2019

Tita Aida has been recognized by the various organizations and was given recognition for the following awards: The 2003 GAPA George Choy Community Award, KQED’s Pride Unsung Hero Award, Transgender Law Center's 2010 Claire Skiffington Vanguard Award,[9] Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center’s Grassroots Award, and the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club's 2014 Bill Krauss HIV/AIDS Activism Award.[10][11]

In early 2015, Tita Aida was nominated as a Community Grand Marshal for San Francisco Pride, but was not elected. However, she was chosen to receive the Teddy Witherington Award, an award chosen by SF Pride and by the current City of San Francisco Mayor, recognizing those individuals who have contributed a longstanding, large body of work to the LGBTQ community.[12][13]

In November 2019, Tita was commended by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors during Transgender Awareness Week.[14]


Tita Aida is also a member of the "Ladies of Asia SF". Asia SF is a 3-Star Cal-Asian fusion restaurant in the SOMA neighborhood in San Francisco, California. All wait staff are trans women and the group performs for the guests.

Asia SF along with L.A. based production company, World of Wonder Productions, produced their first documentary series, Transcendent, which aired in the summer of 2015 on Fuse Network, featuring the Ladies of Asia SF. Tita was featured in the third and final episode of this first season, and made cameo appearances throughout the second season.[15]

Tita has hosted numerous fundraisers and community events. She was part of the hosting committee for the Transgender Law Center's A Movement in Motion in 2007,[16] TLC 6th Anniversary Event in 2008,[17] co-hosted the TLC 7th Anniversary Event in 2009 with Margaret Cho,[18] and was the Mistress of Ceremonies for its SPARK! event in 2012 and 2013.[19][20]

She has MC'd for the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center's Annual Spring Benefit, BLOOM, in 2008.[21] She has MC'd for the SF LGBT Center's STUDIO 11 celebration in 2013.[22]

She has also MC'd for the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA)'s 20th Anniversary Celebration awards banquet in 2008,[23] and its annual fundraiser, RUNWAY, in 2010, 2011,[24] and 2013[25]

She hosted the Ms. Tang Tang show,[26] which featured a number of Queer API artists, including D’Lo, Mia Nakano and Kit Yan.[27]

Most recently, she has MC'd San Francisco Community Health Center's Pearl Gala in 2018 and 2019.


  1. ^ Chan, Celeste (26 July 2014). "Tita Aida - A community icon". Hyphen: Asian America Unabridged. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Staff bios: NIKKI "TITA AIDA" CALMA". Mariposa Project. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  3. ^ Mey (9 April 2014). "Want to Support the Women of the Trans 100? Here's How". Autostraddle. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Nikki "Tita Aida" Calma: Program Supervisor of Trans Thrive at API Wellness Center". Mariposa Project. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  5. ^ "TRANS: THRIVE". Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center. March 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  6. ^ gwen (21 June 2013). "I am Trans March: Tita Aida". Trans March. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  7. ^ Mik @ GLAAD (3 December 2008). "New PSA Speaks to API Transgender Women". glaad. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  8. ^ "About | Filmography". S. Leo Chiang. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  9. ^ "SPARK! 2015". Transgender Law Center. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  10. ^ Merlo, Sam (20 July 2014). "2014 Annual Dinner and Gayla". Harvey Milk LGBT DemocraticClub. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Teddy Witherington Award: Tita Aida (AKA Nikki Calma)". SF Pride. Archived from the original on 19 July 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  12. ^ Huqueriza, Chris (25 June 2015). "Mayor's award goes to leader in API community". The Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  13. ^ "2015 San Francisco Pride grand marshals and honorees announced". San Diego LGBT Weekly. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  14. ^ "SF supervisors honor transgender leaders". Bay Area Reporter. November 20, 2019. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  15. ^ Conclara, Rommel (30 June 2015). "Fil-Am transgender advocate honored at SF pride". ABS-CBN North America News Bureau. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  16. ^ "TLC's A Movement in Motion Exceeds Expectations". Transgender Law Center. 21 August 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  17. ^ "TLC 6th Anniversary Event". Transgender Law Center. 20 October 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  18. ^ "TLC 7th Anniversary Event". Transgender Law Center. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  19. ^ "SPARK! 2012". Transgender Law Center. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  20. ^ "SPARK! 2013". Transgender Law Center. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Bloom 2008 — A&PI Wellness Center's Annual Community Event and Fundraiser" (PDF). API Wellness Center. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  23. ^ "Margaret Cho was in a Zoo for GAPA (San Francisco Bay Times)". Chinese for Affirmative Action. 11 December 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  24. ^ Soto-Suver, Ariel (15 August 2011). "Live Shots: GAPA Runway 23, 08/13/2011". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  25. ^ "RUNWAY Silver: The 25th Annual Mr. and Miss GAPA Pageant". Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. 27 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  26. ^ "Yvette Choy and Alicia Ohs Present Queer Asian American Artist Live Variety Talk Show 'The Ms TangTang Show'".
  27. ^ "Tita Aida - A community icon".

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Tita Aida at Wikimedia Commons