Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Leader in LGBT Housing

Nelson Lin talks about his experience here as a Resident Adviser for the LGBT preference housing at the Village. Being a transfer student himself he wanted to become more involved in the campus life and becoming an RA has allowed him to be behind the scenes of on campus living. The residents in the Village look to their RAs for leadership and guidance especially because it is a completely new environment for them similar to incoming freshmen. They transfer from community colleges, state colleges and other universities as well. Coming to UCSD as a transfer can be a little unnerving and the Resident Advisers are there to help. I live in the LGBT housing in the Village and Nelson is my own RA. I wanted to see what he thought about taking on this position and his own perspective of LGBT housing at UCSD.

Lin didn’t originally choose to be an RA for the LGBT housing in the Village but he willingly accepted the challenge. He states that, “We are the biggest community compared to other dorm complexes for LGBT housing.”  Choosing the LGBT preference housing is available for everyone, it offers a safe place for the LGBT identified community and its allies. There are of course other LGBT members all over the village because it is something one can opt into or out of.

Anti-LGBT bullying has sadly been in the news quite often as of late and I had asked Nelson if he had to deal with any conflicts concerning his residents or even non-residents being involved in LGBT harrassment or bullying. Lin, being an RA, has a certain kind of authority at the village and many people know who he is. He had discussed that his residents didn’t have any bullying problems within their own rooms but instead dealt with typical problems that occur in dorm living. However, one of his friends who lived in non-LGBT preference housing had come to him with some problems concerning his roommates. The situation was that this friend of Nelson’s was struggling with his sexuality and one of his friends had found out. In turn, another friend found out and started to bully him. Nelson tells me that, “…it became a pretty big deal…but it happened over winter break so it was kind of out of everyone’s reach even the supervisors. I tried to contact him but I guess it just ended.” I had thought that it was very noble for Nelson to step up and help his friend out in his time of need even during the winter break in between winter and spring quarter. As an RA, Nelson is more than just a guy that stops by and checks on you because it is his job, he is a person that people look to for help. He tells me that in his experience,  “A lot of times, even though our generation is becoming better and better about it…even if its just to listen to someone complain about it, not to really bring it to the higher up level of authority is still better than not helping out at all.”.

I came to this university as a transfer student from the bay area, so coming down to La Jolla to attend UCSD was a major change for me. I was faced with a lot of questions and anxieties about what my experience was going to be like here. I had decided that I was going to live on campus in the transfer housing and opted for the LGBT preference housing because I thought that it would help me adjust to this brand new life so far from home. I waited anxiously as I moved into my new apartment to meet my new roommates. Knowing that the people I was going to be living with were at the very least okay with my sexual orientation was a huge comfort. Nelson had helped me and I’m sure many other students adjust to this new life. I know as a resident under his advisory that I can always go to him and he will put his best effort into solving my problems.

Being a Resident Adviser is a tough job indeed. Nelson Lin offers a look into the experience as to what it means to be a leader in the LGBT community, even if it is only for the housing because in fact this position requires so much more. Lin gives perspective as to how he has used his own judgement and skills to keep the peace in the village whether its within the building he oversees or otherwise.

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Harvey Milk in San Diego

Harvey Milk is a symbol of equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. He made a world of difference for the community especially in the bay area of California. His death is a reminder that even though changes are possible there will always be challenges. May 22, 2012 his impact was commemorated in Hillcrest by naming a street after him. The end of this street
is right in front of the San Diego LGBT community center.

This simple renaming of a street will have an impact on the Hillcrest community. People will walk by this sign and along this street and may not even notice anything different but that street holds a great significance for the LGBT community. It is only a few blocks long but it is on a street that is also culturally significant to the LGBT theme.  It is a representation of forward thinking towards tolerance and full equality. It will be one of the next few additions to the community, among them a park and of course the soon to be 65 foot flag pole full clad with a rainbow flag all year round.

Naming a street after Harvey Milk was something that put Hillcrest and San Diego in a promising direction. Hillcrest has been a symbol of this strength and sense of community within the LGBT neighborhood.

Out and Proud Week

Here at UCSD there is a week set aside for the LGBT community to celebrate their identities and solidarity. Each day during the week of April 23rd through the 27th from  10 to 3 the booth was out there focusing on a different community component. Being a member of the LGBT community this week resonated with me especially.

I was vaguely aware of this week-long event on library walk simply because I am a part of the e-mailing list my RA sends out with information. It wasn’t until I was able to make my way down to library walk itself that I became aware of it. Immediately visible is a giant rainbow arch across the walkway that serves as a beacon for the Out and Proud Week booth. I was expecting all of the student organizations involved with the LGBT community on campus to be out there to show their visibility.

I walked up to the lonesome booth to be happily surprised. It was a very relaxing booth to be at as opposed to the aggressive flyers that are usually shoved at students faces whenever we dare to walk down to library walk. I was greeted by a man named Shaun Travers who is the director of the LGBT Resource Center on campus. As I was sifting through all the pamphlets and flyers I asked if I could get an interview with him about what this week means to the resource center. His interview enlightened me as to what Out and Proud week was really about. Travers told me about how their booth receives many people asking questions or to just talk.

Out and Proud week at UCSD was a little and small event at first glance. Once one has the ability to actually walk up to these booths and become educated it is truly an eye-opening experience. One of the best things about this week is that it is not necessarily about identifying as a member of the LGBT community but your connections with it as Shaun Travers stated in his interview. The volunteers manning the booth were very open and knowledgeable about any information that anyone had.

Day of Silence

This year on April 20, 2012 it was the Day of Silence. I live at the LGBT preference housing on campus and one of my suite-mates is co-chair of the student organization AS Alliance. This club in particular had been dormant and basically nonexistent until recently. The Day of Silence was their first event and being that I live with one of the co-chairs and next to the other I got a little inside look as to what this student organization is doing on campus for students.

The Day of Silence is a day in which participants choose to take a vow of silence in a protest against violence, harassment and bullying towards the LGBT community. During the week prior to the Day of Silence AS Alliance went to the center of all campus “flyering” and “tabling” and set up their own table. Free Day of Silence merchandise, flyers and candy was available for anyone who stopped by the booth. I helped volunteer to help out at the table during the week and I found it very different from the other “flyering” experiences I’ve had. When I was sitting at the booth for no more than two and a half hours I didn’t really have to get up and ask people to take flyers or try and coax them my way to tell them about something they may not actually care about at all. I was happily surprised to see how many people actually approached us. They would often walk by glance at us, then take a second look and come back and ask us what the booth was about. According to the co-chairs, Laura Ross and Jaime Lopez, they signed up over 250 people who were interested in getting more information about what AS Alliance does. Throughout the week we ran out of free shirts to give out but were still out there giving people information and handing out speaking cards and free bracelets. This was a very refreshing experience for me and I am excited to see how AS Alliance will grow as a student organization.