In the spirit of Pride Month, we are spotlighting two students who are honing their advocacy skills at the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC), a space on campus that’s dedicated to women and the LGBTQA+ communities. Now approaching its 15-year milestone, the center has grown into a major hub for student organizations, trainings and workshops, speaker events and various other activities.
Leslie, College of Liberal Arts Senior
What pronouns do you use?
Who do you admire in the LGBTQ community?
There are so many individuals within the LGBTQ community deserving of praise and admiration for their work in movement. I greatly admire Sylvia Rivera. She was an avid activist who fought for transgender rights. Rivera is known for her involvement in the Stonewall Riots, but what inspires me the most was the direct action she took to get LGBTQ folx off the streets with S.T.A.R., a group that provided shelter and support for homeless queer youth. Her, along with countless other queer activists, have inspired me to dedicate my career to helping queer youth through mental health counseling.
Why did you decide to get involved in Peers for Pride?
I wanted to get involved because I was able to attend one of their workshops in the spring of 2018. I was so impressed at how inclusive the space was and how knowledgeable each of the members were about intersectional, queer issues. I was also very moved at how much of a bond they had built within their cohort. I, myself, learned so much during that one workshop. After their performance, I knew I wanted to be a part of that learning process for others and that Peers for Pride was definitely something worth pursuing.
Looking back at your advocacy work here on campus, what has been your proudest accomplishment?
I am proudest of my own growth through the advocacy work I’ve done. I’m gonna go ahead and quote Michael Jackson here: “If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and then make that change.” I’ve always been passionate about the LGBTQ movement but felt as if I wasn’t worthy of the title “activist” because I wasn’t knowledgeable enough or a mover and a shaker. But Peers for Pride has taught me so much about LGBTQ issues and activism. This cohort has taught me to be confident in the knowledge I have, and to always be open and constantly seeking new experiences and knowledge about intersectional, queer issues. I am proud to call myself an activist and do my part in creating a thriving queer community.
Lukio, College of Liberal Arts Senior
What pronouns do you use?
Who do you admire in the LGBTQ+ community?
It would be my high school friend back in San Antonio. She was one of the first feminists I met in my life. She was strong and inspirational in her beliefs and forever informed by social justice framework. She was also the quietest person I knew. We got to know each other by our love of Yaoi.
Why get involved in the Gender & Sexuality Center?
I decided to get involved with the GSC merely because, well why not? The center does great work, and I want to contribute my labor in order for the center to continue its mission.
What has been your proudest achievement on campus thus far?
My proudest achievement is being involved with many great centers and organizations. From the MEC [Multicultural Engagement Center] to LULAC [League of United Latin American Citizens], there is no singular moment but the wealth of experiences bringing me here.
Interested in becoming an Ally, joining a student advocacy group or attending a LGBTQ+ training session? Go here to learn about the many opportunities and resources the GSC has to offer for students, faculty and staff.