May 11, 2010

Summer Session: San Antonio

This summer I half-decided to stay in San Antonio. I hope to bring some necessary resources to San Antonio and eventually create a fiscally sustainable LGBT Center (using Duke money of course.) I will continue posting but be warned that my experience in San Antonio will be the main topic. I'm going to start off with a reply to a comment I received on my How I Stopped Worrying and Learned To Love San Antonio...Not post because it encapsulates the strong feelings I'm experiencing at the moment:

One problem I see with the LGBT community in San Antonio is that it's very content in its position. Speak up about San Antonio's ills and someone will quickly try to make it seem like everything's fine. In high school I was too often silenced by people who thought because they were happy and "tolerated" that I had nothing to complain about. People think San Antonio inherently can't be like other big, boisterous, gay-friendly cities. It can't support a gay district. The community is divided and lacks political clout.

But San Antonio is not a little city where this situation might be understandable. San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the United States! Its peer cities in size are Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego and Philadelphia, all of which have basic resources for LGBT people. San Antonio might be "fine" if you have a home, education, job, community and your health. If you don't, San Antonio might seem like the worst city in America. Last night I discovered that of the 50 largest cities in the United States, 15 did not have general LGBT community centers. Of these 15 cities many had centers for youth, discussion groups for youth, were part of a gay-friendly metroplex, or had services for LGBT youth in foster care.

I think Duke's situation is similar to San Antonio's. Many non-LGBT people might think that the LGBT experience at Duke is "understandable" because Duke is in the South and not historically known as a gay-friendly university. (You're in the South, what do you expect?) Many LGBT people, because of their gender, gender identity, race, interest in *gasp* non-LGBT things, lack of interest in being a part of an LGBT community or any number of other reasons don't see how much room Duke has for improvement. Duke's peer institutions are not Baylor and Texas A&M. Duke attracts students from around the world and its peer institutions are some of the most progressive in the country. Duke cannot be complacent and neither can San Antonio.

For those of yall who found this via Google and want details about the LGBT youth discussion group I started for the summer: the first meeting will be Thursday June 17th at 6:00 PM at the Cove. Check out the Facebook group San Antonio LGBT Youth Discussion Group. Please RSVP for the event. I look forward to meeting you!

1 comment:

  1. I love this-break the status quo!!! Also, your summer off-school research sounds pretty awesome. :D Nice work!