Friday, June 14, 2019

SpeakOut with Pride

Students laying on Green spelling out PRIDEIt's Pride Month, and to get in the spirit we have been pouring over SpeakOut interviews that are now available online. In collaboration with DGALA, Dartmouth’s LGBTQIA+ Alumni Association, SpeakOut is an oral history project dedicated to documenting the history of Dartmouth’s LGBTQIA+ community. There are many incredible stories. Check out Leandra Barrett's:

Leandra BarrettGrowing up in Alice, Texas, a small predominantly Mexican-American rural town on the border of Mexico, Leandra Barrett ’15 describes her hometown as being “what people picture when they imagine Texas.” The daughter of a middle-class Mexican-American mother and a working-class Anglo-Cajun father, she describes how her intersecting identities influenced her sense of self as a child and later how they shaped her time at Dartmouth.

Barrett explains that she was “so sure of [her] identity” when she arrived at Dartmouth. For Barrett, her coming out at Dartmouth “wasn’t like a tortured process.” Unlike her experience in high school, Barrett felt as though she could express her queer identity more freely and openly at Dartmouth. In high school she remembers “the very material risk of being thrown out of my house or being—you know, sent to conversion therapy…” Barrett describes living a double life between home and Dartmouth which was shattered when someone outed her to her parents. Barrett graciously shares how her relationship with her parents has evolved since that life altering moment her freshman year.

Rainbow arcing over Webster Hall
Barrett shares how she felt her Mexican-American identity was challenged as a student at Dartmouth. She struggled to have her Mexican-American identity feel validated not only because she was ethnically ambiguous and did not speak Spanish, but also because she inhabited an environment that was so “white” and where “so many Latinx students came from immigrant backgrounds.” Barrett explains how “a certain subjectivity was presumed when the university was constructed and that was not a queer Chicana girl from south Texas.”  Barrett goes on to say that “I don’t regret going to Dartmouth. I actually, really like it. [Chuckles.] I think my critiques come from a deep place of love, right? I wouldn’t have worked as an admissions officer if didn’t think it was a transformational educational space.”

We are thrilled that members of Dartmouth’s community continue to reach out to participate in SpeakOut. If you have a story you would like to add to the SpeakOut collection, please sign up here.

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