Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ver: At the Border of Divided Communites, Lives, and Experiences

A few weeks ago I blogged about an upcoming trip to the US/Mexico border. Alas, I have returned from my visit to Tucson, AZ and Nogales, Sonora (México), with a lot on my mind and a lot to still process. The topic of immigration and the borderlands conjures up many emotions for a lot of us, and my experiences of hearing stories in the region has definitely challenged and reaffirmed many of the feelings I went into the trip having. In short, the trip was a very transformative experience. I had some tough and emotional experiences while in México and in the border region; but the experience was also rewarding and inspiring.

Our trip was hosted by an organization called BorderLinks. The BorderLinks' educational philosophy to these type of trips that they hope will incite delegations to forge a path towards dialogue and social change is simple: ver, pensar, y actuar. See, Think, and Act. Which is the way I will present my experiences of visiting the border. In this post, I will focus on what I saw, what I heard, and the type of experiences I took in. In two following posts, I will address my thoughts and what I'm still thinking about; and what I hope to do with the stories I heard and that really hit me hard with a plethora of emotions and feelings.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Finding Freedom and Coming Out of a Christian College

In 2007 I had the unique, but rewarding, opportunity to be a Rider on the Soulforce Equality Ride. We visited various Christian colleges and university across the country that have policies and/or environments that discriminate against LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff. Part of my interest in the Ride came from my own personal connection with Christian colleges. Prior to my involvement with Soulforce I was a student at Azusa Pacific University, one of the largest evangelical Christian universities in the country. However, after coming out as openly gay to the entire university, I was forced to make a very difficult decision: to leave the university.

When I talk about my coming out experiences, I am often asked, "What was it like to be gay at a Christian college?" And as I think about my own story and the stories I encountered from queer students on the Equality Ride, I feel inclined to reply by just simply saying, "It sucked." But if I'm going to really think about what it was like to be a gay student at a Christian college, I need to elaborate just a bit more. Granted, I can only speak from my own experiences and the stories I've heard from other LGBTQ students.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Border Crosser: Into the Wilderness

In a little less than two weeks I will be joining a group from school to visit the US/Mexico border by way of the Arizona border. Our objective as a study group is to examine the border in a theological perspective (if the task can be done at all). We will be spend a week in the Tucson, Arizona (US) and Nogales, Sonora (MX) areas having conversations with local organizations, churches, and community members. I'm definitely looking forward to blogging about my experiences when I return from my trip.

As I prepare myself logistically for our trip, I'm also spending time preparing myself mentally and spiritually. When I think about borderlands and the idea of borderland theories, liminality, and all that academic jargon, I can't help but wonder if any of it is relevant. Can I expect to put a label on the experiences of border crossers? Why does that space need to be labeled?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011: Time For Change

As I reflect on 2010, I am thankful for the many opportunities that were presented to me. I am thankful for the experiences I had. I graduated from the University of California, Riverside, moved clear across the country to Boston and here I am.

Moving to Boston has been a time of rebirth and new-birth for me in many ways. I find myself passionate about different things, writing about different things, talking about different things. My resolution for 2011 is to embrace the changes in my life. That begins with changing the look and feel of my websites. Both my blog and personal site have taken on new looks and new objectives.