SAN DIEGO -- Volunteer work and community involvement always bolster the quality of a résumé, and by that standard, Thomas Negron Jr. makes for a highly employable candidate.
Balancing the maintenance and teaching of LGBT history with the creation of a safe environment for students at SDSU, Negron perceives his duties to be all part of a wonderful opportunity. Both organizations have put him in contact with inspiring, passionate people who have similarly worked to better the community.
Negron speaks with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News about the significance of the organizations like Lambda Archives and SDSU's Queer Union.
Hometown: Imperial Valley
How many years have you been in San Diego? 1 year and 6 months
You’re involved in two incredible organizations, Lambda Archives and SDSU’s Queer Union. How’d you get started with these?
I was a student at the SDSU Imperial Valley Campus. Two years ago I picked up an LGBT Studies major and spent a semester commuting to San Diego to take courses in gender and sexuality. During this time, I began an internship at Lambda Archives and immediately fell in love. The history available to the community is so vast and it’s incredibly exciting and I am always learning (history geek).
The following semester I decided to move to San Diego and attend the SDSU campus in San Diego full time, to focus on LGBT Studies. At the end of the semester I was elected onto the board of Lambda Archives. The following semester I became heavily involved in the queer community on campus including sitting on the SDSU LGBT Advisory Board and joining the board of the organization formerly known as the LGBT Student Union. That semester I was elected to the 2013/2014 board and we changed the name of our organization to the Queer Student Union. These organizations have been my heart!
Lambda Archives is a collection of historical San Diego LGBT materials - what is your specific role there?
I am currently Membership Chair. If you haven't been by the archives, you should! The history we are preserving within our walls truly speaks for itself. A visit to the archives will reinvigorate your pride in community!
What are some events and activities SDSU’s Queer Student Union carries out to enrich student life?
Gosh! The QSU is in a really exciting phase of reinvention. Our executive board has been really involved in turning out new ideas and creating exciting opportunities for our members like: Dykes on Hikes, the Rainbow Tailgate Party and coming soon, a collaboration with other campus organizations for Transgender Day of Empowerment.
Also this semester, we will be hosting the 28th bi-annual Big Queer BBQ (formerly the Big Gay BBQ) on April 11. The BBQ was started by former president Benny Cartwright in the year 2000 and has become the largest and longest-running queer-centric event at SDSU. However, I feel like the most important role the organization has played over the years is creating a space on campus, for students who identify themselves as members of the queer community, to engage with and learn about their community.
What’s a little piece of trivia we don’t know about you?
When I was a child, I was in karate for two years (stayed a white belt for two whole years).
What would you like to see change in the LGBT community?
I say this from a place of great privilege, but I would love to see the community start to focus our efforts on the most marginalized in our community. Gay marriage is NOT the height of our community's problems. We have some serious issues in society including a lack of workplace protections and violent transphobia; not to mention, there are still racist, sexist and classist mind-sets that exist even within queer spaces.
What do you like most about the local LGBT community?
The community has given me the opportunity to grow like I have never experienced before. I have met the most fantastic and inspiring people and have found some super-queer enclaves within our community. I don't know who I would be today without these spaces.
What sorts of things do you do to enrich your social life outside of Lambda and SDSU?
Deconstruct the effects of colonialism with friends, and sleep.
If you could host a dinner party and invite three people (dead or alive), who would they be and why?
Audre Lorde, Mia McKenzie and Paul Ryan. I would just watch them go at it ... it would be amazing!