Margot van der Bie

Major: Women’s Studies and Comparative Religion (Gender & Sexuality Studies minor)
Hometown: Irvine, CA
Class: Graduating Senior! Woo!
Program Position: Queer Program Coordinator

As long as the ties that bind us together are stronger than those that would tear us apart, all will be well. -12 Step Proverb

How did you first get connected with the Gender & Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC)?
The month I moved to Chico, I attended GSEC’s first annual Trans Conference and immediately knew I wanted to be involved in this important work. I interned at the GSEC during the spring 2016 semester, and it was truly the best experience of my life. I found likeminded people, community, a sense of purpose, and professional skills that will serve me a life time. Serving as staff for the GSEC continues to increase the meaning in my life and has shaped my college experience in the best way possible!

How would you describe your role as coordinator for the Queer Program?
Dynamic! Coordinators at the GSEC wear many hats – there is never any monotony! As the Queer Program Coordinator, I spend most of my time planning for my program’s events and working with my interns to find innovative ways to engage the community. As GSEC coordinators, we work as event planners, social workers, social media connoisseurs, community organizers, and much more!

What does working for GSEC do for you personally, professionally, or academically?
The personal and professional development that I’ve received from working at the GSEC is truly immeasurable. Personally, working at the GSEC has given me life-long friends, a healthy structure to my week, time management skills, and a home away from home on campus. Professionally, I have learned time management, professional communication, budget management, delegation, and when to ask for help!

What do YOU bring to the table in your role as the Queer Program Coordinator?
My passion lies at the intersection of interfaith religious dialogue and queer identities, so I try to bring religious tolerance and interfaith narratives to my event programming and group discussions whenever possible! When I came out five years ago, I felt like I had to choose between my religious identity and sexual orientation – when I was in religious spaces, I felt ostracized and judged for my sexuality; when I was in queer spaces, I felt alienated and judged by my spiritual orientation. So at the GSEC, I try to find a balance between processing the very real and felt hurt that so many queer people have felt from religious institutions, communities, and individuals while also making sure our activism does not exclude queer people of faith. There is certainly room for all of these discussions and much more!

What are your career plans and how does your role with the Associated Students better prepare you for that path?
My career goal is to perform individual and family therapy as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, specifically serving queer people with various religious/spiritual identities. My role as the Queer Program Coordinator has, without a doubt, set me up to be successful professionally and in my furthering education. This position has given me relevant job experience in office management, event planning, social media outreach, social work, and has overall made me a kinder and stronger person!