Meet the 2011 Point Scholars

BY Advocate.com Editors

June 08 2011 2:30 AM ET

2011 POINT SCHOLARS BRENNAN PETERS X560 | ADVOCATE.COM

Brennan Peters
- from Blytheville, Ark.
- pursuing a BA in psychology at Loyola University New Orleans
- Point Honors New York Point Scholarship

How do you feel your Point Scholarship will change or help your future?
As a single parent, money is always an issue. Frankly, it was a much stronger factor in my decision about where to go to school than I would have liked. The financial assistance from the Point Foundation has allowed me to pursue the absolute best quality of education at an institution that is the right fit for me. Additionally, coming from a fairly conservative community where many people—even some who are actively engaged in LGBT activism—aren’t fully “out,” it’s been really inspiring to meet with and learn from individuals who are open about their orientation or identity and extremely successful in their chosen career. Even just the interview process was somewhat emotional for me. Throughout my life, I’ve never been able to answer the question, “Who is your role model?” because I almost never see people like me portrayed accurately or fairly in the media. When I met the people from Point, I met role models, people with similar stories and backgrounds, who I can admire and emulate. I really felt like I was getting something that I had never really understood that I needed.

In conjunction with Point, how do you wish to make difference in the LGBT community?
I see a lot of the problems in the LGBT community as issues that really come from the outside. Homophobia, transphobia, workplace discrimination, bullying—these all stem from heterosexist norms, this assumption that the sex-gender binary and being attracted to members of the opposite sex are “normal,” and anything outside that is an anomaly or unnatural or maladaptive. Culturally, historically, biologically—being gay or lying somewhere outside our very narrow definitions of what a man or woman are “supposed” to be is perfectly healthy. There are many cultures that embrace these identities, and queerness, in its many different forms, is a biological fact that has been around since the beginning of civilization. As I move upward in education and economic status, I encounter more and more people who understand this. I believe that educating those outside the community—those who oppose equality, often because of misconceptions or plain ignorance—is critical to the creation of more accepting society. I would like to work with the Point to learn the leadership and communication skills necessary to see this goal to fruition, to take this knowledge and understanding and present it in a way that is accessible to all people.
 

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