RACHEL will serve as the University Rap Coordinator this upcoming school year. Her previous experience within the USC LGBTQ Community includes uRap facilitator, Generation Queer participate and executive board member for the Queer and Ally Student Assembly. Get to know Rachel, a leader within the LGBTQ Community.
How and why did you get involved with the USC LGBT
When I first came to USC, I didn’t self identify with the
LGBT community, I felt I was more a skier, hiker, feminist, engineer who
happened to like women. Some of the first people I met at USC invited me to
come to the Queer and Ally Assembly’s Welcome Back Dance with them and ever
since then I’ve been part of the community. While this initial involvement was
because of my friends, I choose to stay and eventually take on leadership positions because of how welcoming and supportive this community was and still is. It gave me an opportunity to learn about others and myself while having a great time with the people around me.
How is it being a queer women at USC?
Being a queer woman at USC has been a positive experience. I
was born and raised in Utah, and while I loved living there, my sexuality was
definitely not accepted by a large part of the community. While USC and its
football players aren’t perfect, I feel comfortable and generally accepted on
campus. USC has provided a lot of opportunities for me to try new things and
have new experiences that would have never been possible in Utah. Most of all,
it allows me to learn more about my queerness while having a great time in
What are you looking forward as the uRap coordinator for
I’m looking forward to playing a larger role in this discussion group that I’ve enjoyed for the last two years. Helping to provide a warm environment with great people, new and old, that helped me when I was first getting involved in the community. Whether it’s encouraging people to look at new perspective or talking with a new face over hot coco at the weekly trips to Starbucks after the meetings, I look forward to engaging people in the supportive environment that’s characteristic of uRap.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be
If I could change one thing in the world I would want there to be more respect. Respect for each other’s ideologies, cultures, sexualities, etc. I think that if there was more respect for human life and nature then the world would be a more peaceful and understanding place. When you respect another person you see them as more than just an object to use to obtain personal wealth and power. In essence, respect undermines our fabricated hierarchies that have allowed people for so many years to ignore suffering and destruction around them.
Joshua served as the Assistant Executive Director for the Queer and Ally Student Assembly (QuASA) for the 2010-2011 academic school year. In 2011, he graduated from The College of Letters, Arts and Sciences as a Psychology major. During his tenure at USC, Josh served as a student leader in several student organizations: President for Rainbow Scholars, Training Coordinator for Outreach, Creative Research Specialist for QuASA, and co-Founder for Genesis 9:13. He also worked at the LGBT Resource Center and the Division of Student Affairs.
As a leader he remained focused and dedicated to the community. His leadership helped QuASA win The Tommy Award for Best Cultural Student Organization and he initiated new QuASA traditions like the PDGay March. Even though he graduated, his work and efforts to promote equality on campus will live on through the next generation of student leaders.
Recently, Josh shared some final thoughts and perspectives about his time at USC.
What was your most memorable moment working for the USC LGBT Community?
My most memorable moment was during an event I spearheaded called the PDGay March. There were around 20 college students who showed up to march around the USC campus and demonstrate our community’s pride by chanting and showing same-sex affection at the march’s conclusion. To my surprise, at the end of the march a large group of visiting high school students decided to join in. I felt very touched by the fact that 30 or so boys and girls without affiliations to the LGBT community would be so supportive. Every time I look at the picture of both groups together, I feel inspired by the changing attitude towards homosexuality. This event made me realize that there will be a day where homophobia will be more taboo than the subject of gay marriage.
What was your experience being a person of color involved with the community?
Being an African American male in the Queer community at USC was a very interesting experience for me. For the most part, I felt that my peers were welcoming and had no visible issues with my race/ethnicity. However, I did observe what I believe to be a slight disconnect in the community’s ability to engage in other cultures and backgrounds. Thanks to a great initiative by QuASA’s Executive Director, and my partner in crime, the LGBT community was able to build bridges with dozens of other communities. This year, I am excited for an initiative to create a member organization specifically for Queer and Ally people of color. I think this will help introduce important conversations that are needed between the LGBT community and various ethnic communities.
As you reflect on your college career, is there something you wish you would have done while in college?
There are so many different paths to explore in college and I am thankful to have experienced many things that are both typical and atypical of college life. One aspect of my college career that I felt was somewhat lacking was my involvement in the Black Student Assembly. Since my first year at USC, I dedicated most of my time to the Queer community and school. I would advise students to experience as many of your passions and interests early on so that you get a good idea of how you would like your career at USC to look like by the time you graduate.
What would you like QuASA to be doing over the next 5 years?
Over the next five years, I would love to see QuASA creating and hosting a LGBT Student Caucus event. Colleges and high schools from all around would participate and the purpose would be to address the dire needs of Queer students and the surrounding community. However, the most beneficial point of the caucus would be to plan and schedule large scale demonstrations and movements that would have a greater impact on the lives of everyday people than members of one school’s assembly or group could ever have. In my opinion, change can sometimes be a numbers game. Without the numbers, minority voices are always harder to hear. Establishing unions and utilizing those unions to jump start change is something USC’s Queer and Ally Student Assembly is very capable of doing.