USC is a pluralistic community, welcoming students from every race, creed, and background. And in honor of LGBT History Month and National Coming Out Day, we interviewed a current student who self-identifies as part of the LGBT community on campus. Adriana describes her coming out experiences, identity, and life on campus. Our LGBT Resource Center is located in the Student Union, which is also the home to other cultural resource centers – El Centro Chicano, the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs (CBCSA), and the Asian/Pacific American Student Services Center (APASS). All of USC’s resource centers provide students, parents, faculty, and staff with programming, mentoring, education, and support. The LGBT Resource Center coordinates the following events and resources throughout the year: Lavender Graduation, Queer Rising Fall Retreat, LGBT Peer Mentoring Program, Safe Zone Training, and more!
Q: To start, can you share your name, where you’re from, what year you are at USC?
Adriana: I’m Adri! I’m from Austin, Texas but was originally born in Monterrey, Mexico. I’m currently a sophomore at USC.
Q: How would you identify yourself (i.e. ethnic identity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, etc.)? What have your experiences been like between the intersectionality of all your identities in your personal life and at USC?
A: I identify as a cisgender Latina queer woman. I’ve had to pick and choose what I’m more involved with, LGBTQ+ or Latinx cultural centers, mostly due to personal time constraints rather than availability. The Chicano Center is actually located right on top of where I work at the LGBT Resource Center, so, it’s not for lack of proximity. But I’m able to express my identities openly in both spaces and beyond them on campus, which is wonderful and I’m immensely thankful for it.
Q: Can you describe the first time you ever came out to someone?
A: The first time I recall was when I had my first crush on a girl going into middle school…I had butterflies in my stomach and told every one of my friends about her. They were a little confused (to be fair though, as was I), but incredibly accepting, and at the time, I didn’t even realize I was “coming out” by telling them.
Q: When did you come out at USC or do you feel like you came to USC already out?
A: Coming in, I immediately got involved with LGBTQ+-related organizations, as I have been pretty open about my sexuality since middle school. I come out in everyday situations still today merely by having a rainbow sticker on my laptop or bringing up queer life on campus.
Q: Did you know about any of the student clubs/organizations to support LGBTQ+ students before applying/matriculating to USC? If so, how did that impact your final decision?
A: Most definitely! I did my research and provided my own little guide to LGBTQ+ life on campus on the student blog, Trojans 360, to make it easier for incoming students to find the resources. I was aware of all the opportunities the Queer and Ally Student Assembly had for being involved on campus, and got involved with the First-Year Advocacy Board, a group for first-year LGBTQ+ students to come together, and applied to work at the LGBT Resource Center straight away (all puns intended!).
Q: What advice do you have for LGBTQ+ students applying to colleges now that you wish you had received during your college search process?
A: Make sure you find a place where you can truly be yourself as much as your heart desires. USC is, personally for me, a very accepting campus where I never fear openly talking about my sexuality or my extracurricular activities involved with LGBTQ+ matters. It’s the norm for me, and I’m incredibly fortunate to have found a campus that suits me in this way.
Q: Lastly, what are some fun/exciting things you are involved in at USC that future Trojans can look forward to?
A: If you’re interested in law, I’d highly recommend joining Phi Alpha Delta or the Journal of Law and Society! I’m personally involved in both and loved them. I worked with the student blog this last year, Trojans 360, which is an incredible resource for incoming students. Any organization under the Queer and Ally Student Assembly (QuASA) is wonderful — if you’re looking for volunteering opportunities, check out OUTReach, an LGBTQ+-oriented community service organization. If you like movies, QueerCut is great. And if you’re looking to celebrate your intersectionality, QPOC (Queer People of Color) is perfect. There’s a ton more to check out, but I’d recommend getting involved in at least one.
In addition to the clubs that Adri mentioned, here are some additional groups and resources for members of the Trojan Family:
Academic Organizations: Rainbow Scholars, a student-run organization for students living on the Rainbow Floor, one of our special interest residential communities; SCA Queer Cut, an LGBT Film Club in the School of Cinematic Arts; Queers in Engineering, Science, and Technology (QuEST), a networking club for LGBT students studying a STEM field
Political Groups: Price Queer Policy Caucus, a space for LGBT Sol Price School of Public Policy students and allies to network and discuss policies that directly impact the LGBT community.
Professional Resources: OUTLaw, a networking club for LGBT students interested in pursuing Law; and Trojan Alliance, a pre-professional association aimed at bringing networking opportunities and resources to LGBTQ students at USC.
Social Organizations: MedLambda: LGBTQIA+ Student Interest Group, a group that supports LGBT students, faculty, and staff in the health sciences through social events, activism, and programming; and Transgender Advocacy Group, a student-run organization for transgender USC students and their cisgender allies to mingle, discuss, and dismantle transphobia.
For more information about the LGBT Resource Center, programs, student organizations, and more, visit the LGBT Resource Center website: https://lgbtrc.usc.edu/ and the Campus Organizations website to get a full list of all of our registered club and organizations at USC: https://campusactivities.usc.edu/organizations/.
By: Marcel Hite
Assistant Director of Admission