Today was a day of bittersweetness.
Today was my last day as Secretary of Texas StandOut, UT’s only organization solely based on spreading awareness of queer activism as well as grassroots organizing.
I joined StandOut 3 years ago during my second year at UT, and it was also the first organization I joined here. After I came out as gay back in January 2010, I knew that I wanted to get involved in activism and become a queer leader so I could learn more about queer issues and be in solidarity with other queer folks.
In 3 years, I’ve learned to:
- lobby at the Texas Capitol
- advocate for Domestic Partnership Benefits (a.k.a. Competitive Insurance Benefits) for UT faculty and staff
- advocate for and help draw up a proposal for implementation of gender inclusive housing at UT
- take notes for meetings
- do more community outreach
- phone bank
- call legislatures to voice support or opposition of bills in Congress
- organize events for Pride Week and Coming Out Week
….and probably a few more things I’m not thinking of.
StandOut has done so much for me. It helped me start out as a queer leader. It helped me reach out and get more involved in other organizations. It helped me become more confident in myself and allow me to figure out the intersections of my identities. It helped me learn more leadership skills that I’ll be sure to use later on down the line.
It was bittersweet watching the new exec board get elected and joyfully take on their new leadership positions. It reminded me of what I looked like 3 years ago when I was enthusiastic about starting my journey to becoming a better queer leader and how excited I was to learn as much as I could. It took everything within me to not cry while saying my last words of wisdom and relinquishing my position after one year of secretarial duties.
But it’s not over yet. I still have one more semester of undergrad work here at UT, so I’ll still have one more semester to go to meetings and events and continue contributing to StandOut like I’ve always done. I’m so fortune to have had the privilege to be an outspoken leader and work with so many amazing fellow queer leaders and allies. And I have confidence in the new leaders and am excited to see what they have in store for StandOut in the coming year!