Meet the 2013 Point Foundation Scholars
BY Advocate.com Editors
June 19 2013 6:00 AM ET
Growing up in Bakersfield, Calif., the West Coast’s most conservative city, Valentin Sierra experienced his fair share of discrimination and homophobia while growing up.
Born into a small family of migrant farm workers and raised by a single mother, Valentin also had many other struggles throughout his life like finding access to finances and educational resources, but he still rose to the challenge of promoting acceptance and tolerance in his small, closed-minded city. In his junior year of high school, he helped establish his school’s first gay-straight alliance, and was elected as studen body president his senior year. Under his leadership, the GSA spearheaded a campaign to end bullying of all sorts on campus, in addition to offering many opportunities for community involvement. Valentin will be attending the University of California, Davis, as a first-generation college student, where he hopes to continue the fight for equality and social justice.
What Valentin hopes her scholarship will help her accomplish:
I hope that being a Point Scholar will open up many doors and give me the necessary resources so I can continue my education at the collegiate level, as well as continue the just fight for equality in the LGBTQ community.
What Valentin is most excited about in being named a 2013 Point Scholar:
I’m most excited about being part of the amazing Point family. Being a Point Scholar means I’m part of this tremendously diverse and loving family; there’s so much passion, drive, and talent in everyone, so naturally, to be part of this family is very thrilling.
Valentin's words of advice to LGBT youth struggling with familial rejection, educational difficulties, or other hardships:
I would like to say that it truly, without a doubt, 100% gets better. I was always known as "that gay kid" and was horribly bullied verbally and physically throughout all my years of schooling, but I never let it get to me. Now look at me: I graduated at the top of my class, and I am going to a top-ranked university far away from my conservative hometown and all the people who told me I would never amount to anything because I was gay.