“…I could see myself…running for public office or being a leader for my community”

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“(LGBT public officials) make me feel like I’m more of represented. Fortunately, when I was growing up in Riverside, California, my congressman Mark Takano, was the first openly gay person of color and I was able to look up to and be able to identify with not only just as someone who represented me in like my issues, but someone that I could look up to you as a leader and like, oh, maybe I could, I could see myself doing something like that one day or running for public office or being a leader for my community. So seeing more public officials run for office who are part of the LGBT community definitely makes me feel like we’re gearing more towards a progressive agenda, especially in our government since a lot of our government, no offense to any one of this demographic are usually straight. Especially if you look at our Congress, it’s a majority of that. So I think it’s better to have people that are equally as qualified with their work experience than what they’ve done in their career paths. But can bring a diverse perspective into that office. “

“I grew up in a very upper middle class conservative environment, where I lived in California, so I didn’t feel like I could always be myself with my sexual identity or even my political views just because a lot of the people around me I know that I would get a lot of hate for it. So going into college in a whole different environment with so many different opportunities that such a big university, I found myself having a lot more possibilities. Like, oh, I can join all these different political clubs or stuff within my scholarship program. I can meet other LGBT people and be more openly myself without having to have that negative pressure every day where I went to school. So I’ve found it a lot more, almost like relaxing going into a whole new environment.”

“So personally I haven’t been completely out, especially with my parents, although my parents are supportive of lgbt issues and would support me, I just have other members in my family that I’d rather choose, who are older and more socially conservative, to wait a little longer. But mainly with my friends and stuff for the most part I’m open and I could already tell or like they’re supportive anyways. I just hang out with my friends who I know I’m going to have a good time with and be myself. So it’s a lot better coming back home, being with only the friends that I really care about and being able to like do adventures and stuff and just be myself with. So coming home now is a lot better than what it was like in high school.”

“I mean just being able to hang out with a lot better people that are more open, is what I really appreciate. So that’s pretty much what I really liked about ASU. I mean, there’s so many different memories with my friends, especially through Young Democrats on campaigns, through events that we go to, canvases even hanging out outside of school that there’s, there’s so many I can’t name one specific one. It’s mainly a lot of the socially liberal, more progressive friends that I’ve made on campus.”

“I think I’m waiting if I were to run the office more into my later thirties or early forties once I’ve already made a career, have had a stable income and have contributed to my community before running. I think I would definitely like to run. I’m definitely in support of LGBT rights, as that personally affects my everyday life, but also for the environment. I am a political science and biology double major. And so something of environmental rights law or water rights law or environmental lobbying is something I’m definitely interested once I’m done with graduate school. Then also looking at options of working with LGBT non-profits and see what I can do there. I’m pretty much just keeping my options open of what I can do with different issues I’m passionate about. So I’m waiting until those opportunities arise.”

“Especially with incoming freshmen, take whatever the size of step you want into coming out and being yourself with people, whether it be baby steps or big steps, whatever you feel comfortable in the moment feels right. I feel like that’s always advice people get, but I feel like it’s most true advice you can give them. Just because, if the moment’s not right you never know what trauma they could face. So whenever the moment strikes, come out, do what you want, be open with their friends. I don’t think it’s anyone else’s decision to make unless they’re personally in your shoes. I would say join clubs on campus where you feel like you can be most comfortable about, such as with the Rainbow Coalition, Young Democrats, a whole range of clubs on campus that support LGBT issues. So, I think that’d be a good place to start.”

“Well since 2016 and that whole mess and the mess that’s been happening since then, what’s given me a lot of more confidence I think in American society as a whole is that there’s a lot more people activated politically and grassroots wise with their community. Honestly, I feel like if Trump wasn’t present, myself and others wouldn’t be as politically active as they are right now. I think it was a good, a good awakening to people that you need to be civically engaged to fight for things that truly matter to you. You can’t sit on the sidelines and let things happen. So I think with all the movements with, women and facing sexual assault, black lives matter, all these movements are bringing people together in a progressive way.”

“I mean, we’ve seen it with LGBT issues where he(Donald Trump) doesn’t even recognize pride celebrations and pride month. He’s said multiple racist things about different communities. And his whole range of accusations from sexual assault and what we’ve seen on camera with him. I think everyone that’s coming together and making these movements is what’s giving me hope because even though those people that are in the administration are in charge and the public sector, it’s not what American society is about or the country is about. I think it’s really from the power within the people.”

“I feel like it means to love whoever I want, no matter what anybody else thinks I should do with my life or with my relationships, with anyone else regardless of gender, being able to choose who I love acts, who I love with, whoever I want is what, how I identify. And, I think that’s a freedom that a lot of people should be able to express even if, how they feel that society and the frameworks and it doesn’t allow them to truly be themselves.”

“Well I’ve had situations with previous close friends, friends who didn’t know my sexual identity and I’ve told them, well, how are people choosing to love others of the same sex affecting you personally in your day to day life? Is that taking up a lot of your time? Is that something that’s personally affecting you? If not, why should it matter to you? It’s not that much of an issue. There’s other things you could focus on. Especially since it’s a really negative lifestyle to live of just hating people and their lifestyles when it doesn’t personally affect you as. That’s just the way I react to them and I think it’s a very honest way to talk to them cause, if it’s not personally affecting why should you be dictating who they love.”

 

What’s one piece of advice you would tell someone who’s exploring their identity?

“Don’t be afraid. If you’re exploring your identity, don’t close any options off or any windows and go by instinct and what feels right. I think that’s how most people, when they’re finding their partner who they love, or their different identities, they usually go with your instinct, especially as they’re young and in college. So if it feels right, whatever path you’re thinking of going to, continue on that path and leave your options open.”

“There is an LGBT civic engagement panel that I’m working on with partnering up with Rainbow Coalition. So we’re trying to get a civic engagement panel, during pride month in April that we’re organizing or possibly in the future where we can bring up, um, LGBT progressive officials on a panel. Being able to discuss their life experiences, and talk to kids, LGBT kids that are allies on campus of how they can support them. How LGBT youth can look up to them as role models, especially if they’re thinking of working up as becoming a leader one day in the private or public sector and what they can do as well, if they want to get involved on a campaign for an LGBT candidate or LGBT ally. These are the different campaigns and resources you can contact to volunteer, intern with. So that’s something that I’m working on right now. I think it’s going to be a great event, especially during pride month.”

– David Huff, He/Him, Bisexual

drhuff1@asu.edu

Instagram: @huffinator_

 

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