Major: Double Major in Comparative Religion and Multicultural and Gender Studies
Hometown: Ukiah, CA
Program Position: Trans Program Coordinator | Gender & Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC)
How did you first get connected with the Gender & Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC)?
I first got connected to the GSEC after a good friend of mine told me to consider applying for an internship. I always had a deep respect for the activism I had learned about in school, so hearing about an organization on our campus that essentially specializes in representing under-served communities was really alluring. I applied to intern in spring 2015 and was placed in the Outreach Program as a social media intern. I had such a great first experience, I applied the following semester and was given the opportunity to be a social media intern once again. And now here I am!
How would you describe your role as Coordinator of the GSEC Trans Program?
I would describe my role at the GSEC as evolving and super collaborative. During the inaugural semester of GSEC’s Trans Program, the community, on-campus sponsors, and the Trans Program interns, truly showed me how dynamic this program could be in the years to come. Throughout this semester I’ve realized that I’m here to utilize my position and inherent privilege to benefit and serve our campus trans and gender nonconforming communities in the most effective ways possible. Best summarized, my role as Coordinator of GSEC’S Trans Program consists of finding ways to foster collective learning on our campus while also making sure that I’m doing everything I can to ensure that members of these communities know they have the platform to advocate for themselves in a safe and organized environment.
What does working at GSEC do for you personally, professionally, or academically?
Where to start? Personally and professionally, working at the GSEC is easily one of the best things to have happened to me in life at this stage of the game. As a non-binary trans student, I often credit most of what I have learned to the GSEC and to my Multicultural and Gender Studies (MCGS) courses which helped me come into my own identity in a healthy manner. So personally and professionally, interning and now working at the GSEC has helped me realize that my passions can be incorporated into my future professions regardless of rhetoric that gets pushed around. It’s similar academically in that what I learn from my work can be applied to the material I learn in my MCGS courses to provide another perspective. It’s truly a great place to be in.
What do YOU hope to bring to the table in your role at GSEC?
In my role at the GSEC, I hope to bring anything I can as a student and activist to make this campus a safe and accepting place for trans and gender nonconforming students; in addition to supporting all other communities facing discrimination. It’s really weird knowing that I’m getting paid for this work to begin with. Keeping that in mind, I feel like getting paid to be an activist is like capitalism’s way of reminding me to pay it forward to the people that need it the most. I really grapple with this, but I know that I’ve conditioned myself to accepting my role as a support system. All in all, my biggest hope in my role at the GSEC is for people to know my face and to know that I’m here to serve them.
What are your career plans and how does your role with GSEC better prepare you for that path?
My career plans are really up in the air at this point. But, I know that every career path that I’ve pondered is tied to activism. I know that the GSEC is preparing me in a lot of ways to better understand the fields that I’m contemplating entering. As someone who has faced marginalization and prejudice consistently throughout their life, I finally know that I’ve found something that I’m good at; and that is speaking out against the injustices in our society. I love being relatable and accessible to people who are in need of a role model. So whether that be through me entering policy work after completing my undergrad or working as a barista somewhere, I’d say the GSEC has prepared me to stick to what I believe and to find ways to incorporate those beliefs into whatever environment I’m in.