Meet the Point Foundation’s Class of 2010

The Point Foundation searches for the best and brightest LGBT students.

BY Editors

June 15 2010 1:10 PM ET



Tatiana Young
-from Austin
-pursuing an MA in women’s and gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin

Young is, in her own words, “moving beyond mere survivorship to smile in the face of continuing adversity.” As an adolescent, however, she was far removed from this image of herself. Enduring years of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, Young learned early on to repress her true feelings and, more, to hate herself.

In 1999 these feelings led her to attempt suicide. Thankfully, since that time, she has chosen to affirm life. Realizing that life is to be cherished, Young first came out as bisexual, then as gay, and by 16 as pansexual and gender-queer. Despite her newfound freedom, Young continued to face hardships both in school and at home, which eventually forced her onto the streets in 2003. As a last resort, she turned to prostitution, experiencing firsthand the particular vulnerabilities of life on the streets. Eventually, Young made her way back to school, graduating from the University of Texas, Austin, in 2009 with special honors in anthropology.

Amid writing an 88-page senior thesis, she served as both vice chair for the transgender education network of Texas (formerly TACT) and campus advocacy director for the Queer Students Alliance. That same year, she cofounded TransAction, a grassroots movement aimed at making Austin's homeless shelters more accessible for transgender people. She earned an exemplary commitment award from the Clinton Global Initiative. Today, Young is at the top of her class in her first year at the center for women's and gender studies at the University of Texas, Austin.