Queer in College is going to introduce three students who are part of the LGBTQ+ community and how they navigate that. There is always more to be talked about with school, jobs, intersectionality, self expression, friends and more!

Meet Maddie

- Maddie is a 3rd year student who I recently met and instantly clicked with. She is an art education major and works part time as a barista. Maddie also believes that moving out to San Marcos has helped bring her to so many other people and new experiences. Maddie takes advantage of being able to express herself as well and especially with more visual outlets. She mentions how style, clothes, accessories and hair are just some outlets to express and relate with other people in the community.
- Music also plays a part into her life with the alt pop and mainstream pop girls she admires. She indulges in music along with her other art outlets to accept and express herself. While Maddie is very confident in her queerness, she believes being in college and expressing herself is even better. She has met many other queer people through school but also just from being in the Central Texas area. This is obviously a high for her and she enjoys every moment she gets to explore and meet other people in this college town. The downside of being such an expressive and open person is that with various pressure there can be the balancing of mental health with school life. Besides those bumps in the road, she knew who she was very early and has just been able to learn, explore and express herself more since moving out to San Marcos.
- When I asked her about intersectionality, she said she thinks of “a broad, deep spectrum where we all fall/fit upon.” She sees it and feels it to be a home in which where we all belong despite how far away we may feel from it. I also asked and spoke to her about how others may feel about expression when it comes to college and moving away from home. Maddie thins people grow and feel more comfortable with expressing themselves after high school, especially in their identities! She mentions having a sense of relief when there is not the fear of being closely judged by peers in high school. She goes on to say, “Knowing you can be accepted for who you are is a crazy feeling!” Maddie also acknowledges how Texas State welcomes diversity and again how she has found so many of ‘her’ people by finally expression who she is proudly. Finally, if she could talk to her younger self she would say, “It is going to be fine! Your anxiety is a real thing you are feeling, and it is okay. You won’t feel so bad forever and you should definitely spend more time on worrying/focusing on yourself."

Meet Sophia

- Sophia is a 2nd year student here and she is currently majoring in history with a minor in psychology. She is hoping to continue her education and go into teaching and become a professor one day! I met Sophia last spring and instantly became good friends with her because of how much we had in common and how friendly she is with everyone. Her hobbies include sewing, painting, making her out clothes/outfits and cooking. When asked about how college has been so far, she explained how great it has been and being able to have her own little home in San Marcos. She also mentions how TXST has been great and such a learning experience as a student and for her personal growth. Sophia also mentions how she is able to express herself with fashion and music.
- She says that her music and attitude sometimes is reflected in what she wears for the day. A highpoint of college and her identity would be that she and other students are surrounded by a great support system. She mentions having others in the community and being able to feel the comfort that they have to offer. A low would be that sometimes she may feel as though people could use her sexuality against her if she does decide to come forward and be open/honest with everyone.
- I asked Sophia what comes to mind when intersectionality she thinks of, “The framework that society conceptualizes on ways to discriminate people.” She goes on to mention how this can include sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and much more, but it can also be used in ways to uplift and appreciate our differences.For expression and identity, Sophia does believe that after high school people tend to grow more into themselves. She thinks it has to do with less peer pressure and having a set group that may influence the way you present yourself. In her own experience, she acknowledges that coming to TXST has encouraged her to express herself more than she was able to in high school. She does think that in high school there is more of a gloom when it comes to self-expression not just in sexual orientation/identity. On the up side, she does mention how in college there is encouragement from all around to just be yourself and embrace it. I asked her for any words she would like to tell her younger self and she said, “Happiness comes first, you cannot keep others happy if you aren’t happy.”

Background & History

I put together some important milestones and moments in history related to the LGBTQ+ community. I think that a lot of people need to be educated and at least acknowledge what has happened to make this community a safe space and inclusive to all. There are obviously way more things I did not mention but I picked these to highlight the highs and lows.
I know that these things are not necessarily talked about in schools until maybe even the university level. A lot of what people might know is only what they see on social media and in the news whether it be positive or negative. I do think that maybe there should be more access for younger people to learn some history/background of the community to an extent.
Overall, there are obviously many layers to the community and all the strides that have been made. For a lot of people, I do think that there is a lack of involvement as well and the only way to fix that is by educating people. It all starts with just a quick search online or even just listening to someone they may know. Keeping an open mind and being aware is super important and we can all do our best by just trying to be good human beings!

My Pride Experience

For the past two years, I have attended Pride in the Park near my hometown. Both times there was a whole weekend with different events, but I went for one day to see the performances and walk around for booths and vendors. My first pride experience was with a friend that I have known for years and had come out around the same time as myself. We obviously didn’t know what to expect since we had never been to pride or had other friends who had gone. The theme was semi-outdoors/ picnic aesthetic and had a set up to match up. There was a paper flower wall that was used for pictures and also for some of the drag performers to come take pictures in throughout the day. I actually met a few local queens and Mariah Balenciaga, a queen who was on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and got to talk to them for a bit.
It was nice since some of the local queens got to perform and get exposure through pride events. That first year of pride was also pretty memorable because there were so many artists who were able to showcase their art all over the convention center. The majority of it was paintings and sketches but there was also those who made jewelry, clothing and even small sculptures. This past year was a bit different since I went with a bigger group of friends and we were able to split up and take our own time going around. Two booths that I did appreciate this time around was one for Planned Parenthood and the other for Texas Rising. I think having both of those to offer resources and more information for queer people is great to make sure they stay up to date and educated. Overall, it was great to meet more people through just attending since everyone is comfortable/in a safe space. I noticed that so many people were more comfortable to give compliments and approach each other to chit chat. I definitely think it was eye opening as well to see all the differences in the community and just spread love!

About Me

Hello, I’m Sabrina Rhea and I am majoring in mass communication with a minor in English. I’m originally from a small town in South Texas and moved up here two years ago for school. I want to work in publishing and hopefully be able to help others tell their stories and share with so many people. I think being able to share my own experience as well would be super exciting.
I did not grow up being very accepting and open about my identity especially in high school. I was a bit scared of what people would think and say if I came out while I was still going to school here. There was also a lack of people that were out and open and even having any other people to look up to in my area. There was really no one to relate to. It was also hard to not express myself and learn more about who I was, until I was finally leaving for college.
Once I had moved to San Marcos and was able to meet more people who were proud of who they were. I was able to come across organizations and resources that help other students as well. When I started college, I also saw more representation and there was more to understand with people and their backgrounds. I hope that more and more people become aware and educated and that there is the proper resources to be able to address and support the LGBTQ+ community.

My Story