August 6 2015

To all Queer Bros reading this, just know that you are never alone. You have a network of people who love you and care about you, and will be there for you throughout your journey of self-exploration and social activism.

I learned over the course of the week at the Sons and Brothers Camp to always keep an open mind when meeting new people, and that sometimes going out of your comfort zone isn’t the end of the world. It’s actually a bit of an exciting experience after a while.

It was really a great opportunity to explain issues that impact students like me who are brown and queer. As a young man of color, it feels like LGBTQ information is not as emphasized as simply as other aspects of criminalization or hardships I go through. So to be able to shed more light on a topic not really explored outside of LGBTQ spaces was an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

This was my first year at camp; I felt a massive sense of pride in seeing fellow boys and men of color ‘come out’ as LGBTQ because it was a testament of our presence in the community we built at Portola, CA. There are always particular obstacles young men of color face with being a member of the LGBTQ community within communities of color. So, to see others step up and own that aspect of their identity was awe-inspiring; it takes a lot of courage to come out to your friends, but to come out in front of many other people from all over the state, that is courage on an entirely new level. Welcoming those new folks to our community with an embrace of open arms and caring was a special surprise.

After this transformative time at camp, I will continue to be an advocate of change. Many people forget that those of us who fall within the category of Queer People of Color have an even bigger load to carry in terms of their safety and well-being. In my community and school, I would love to see the reduction of unnecessary police presence that contributes to a school climate and atmosphere of unnecessary hostility and angst. To me, that change also looks like more restorative justice methods to support students and the establishment of more LGBTQ positive spaces for equality in student rights like my Gay-Straight-Alliance (GSA) Club. I want to see that change.

 

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