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Daily Inspiration: Meet Sergio A. Gonzalez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sergio A. Gonzalez.

Hi Sergio, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Well, I like to start by always saying that I’m a first gen academic. By that, I mean I’m the first in my family to graduate from high school, the first to graduate from college (undergrad), the first to graduate with a master’s, and will be the first to graduate with a Ph.D. I was born and raised in the Bay Area as we moved around a lot. I started out in South City (South San Francisco), moved to EPA (East Palo Alto), and then Redwood City, from one hood to another.

All of these transitions taught me to hustle my way through in order to survive. As I’ve navigated the ivory tower (academia), I find myself applying this same mentality as I reach the Ph.D. The opportunity to go to college gave me the time and space to understand and explore the intersecting aspects of my identity, what makes up Sergio. Because of this, I identify as a joto (queer), Latinx, feminist, first gen academic, neurodivergent (ADHD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder), and activist.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has definitely not been a smooth road whatsoever. For starters, connecting to my jotería, or queerness, has created a variety of obstacles, both personal and academic (professional). In my personal life, coming from a traditional Mexican household, identifying as a joto (queer) is one of the worst things you can do to a family. My Apa’s (father) internalized machismo really put a dent in our relationship for years when I came out. He eventually came around, and we developed a really close bond, but that took a lot of time and healing. In academic spaces, I have had to deal with countless microaggressions and folx calling the research I do around jotería pedagogy centering Queer/Trans Latinx/a/os “inadequate” and “fallacious methodology”.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a doctoral candidate pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education & Student Affairs at Claremont Graduate University (CGU). I earned an M.A. in Applied Gender Studies from CGU, an M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California (USC), and my B.A. in Communication Studies from Manhattanville College. I write from the core of who I am: joto, Latinx, feminist, hijo de a first generation Madre, and Mexican immigrant Padre, Jotería scholar, and activist. As a scholar-activist and future tenured faculty, I focus on co-creating counternarratives of Queer/Trans Latinx/a/o individuals within higher education. My research takes an interdisciplinary approach as I expand on Jotería pedagogy as opposed to queer theory in higher ed spaces and disciplines.

What am I most proud of? That’s hard to pinpoint to be honest. I’m grateful to be able to do what I love with people that I love in academia. Currently, I’m really proud of the co-edited book I had the honor to be a part of that was recently published, “Queering Higher Education: The QTPOC Experience” (1st Ed.) with Dr. Diaz. Growing up I never saw something like this book in any class I ever took. It’s the first of its kind to center Queer and Trans People of Color in higher ed.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
You know, coming from the Bay Area, I really thought I was going to hate LA and just not connect. But, like I tell my family, living in South Central was one of the best decisions I ever made. For me, what I love the most about LA is that you can find a spot for whatever mood you’re in. If you’re craving donuts at 2AM, you can go to California Donuts in K Town and indulge yourself since they’re open 24 hours! If you’re over the scene in Weho, you can head to DTLA and check out Precinct and Redline for a different vibe! As for what I like least about LA, well that’s pretty easy, NO PARKING AND TOO MUCH TRAFFIC!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Julio Salgado (jotería cover)

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