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Season 02: Episode 11: Amanda Hart Transcript

Queer Diagnosis Podcast

Season 02: Episode 11: Amanda Hart


[Theme music plays]


Interview


Zarya: This is Queer Diagnosis. I'm your host Zarya, my pronouns are she/her/hers.


Srihita: I'm Srihita. My pronouns are also she/her/hers. Our guest today is Amanda Hart, the founder of GWEM. Hello, could you please introduce yourself?


Amanda: Hi, everyone. My name is Amanda Hart. And I'm the founder of GWEM. I was a former student at the University of Buffalo who recently graduated and GWEM is my magazine and movement.


Zarya: Can you tell us a little bit about what GWEM stands for?


Amanda: So GWEM stands for the global women's empowerment movement. It's is a culmination of efforts that started at the experiential learning network at the University of Buffalo, and has now turned into an independent organization that partners with the ELN at the University of Buffalo. So we have a lot of students working on digital badges from global collaboration, working on a lot of initiatives, which is a pretty amazing feat for a new organization.


Zarya: And how old is your organization?


Amanda: The organization just turned a year old in September. And I’m so proud of the fact that it's just turned a year old, and many organizations don't last that long. I'm really happy that it's gotten this far. And it just continues to keep growing. We have so much support. And I couldn't be happier about that.


Srihita: Can you talk about sort of what your inspiration points were for starting the magazine, and why you particularly chose to focus on global women's empowerment?


Amanda: Sure. As I was saying, that we started with the ELNat the University of Buffalo. And when we started, it was just me as the sole person doing these projects. I wanted to center the magazine around global women's empowerment because, in my last year at UB, I focused exclusively on public health initiatives and global collaboration. And during the summer of 2020, during the heat of the pandemic, there was nothing available for people to do virtual study abroad, or to go out there into the world and work on these initiatives. So I signed up for the first-ever Sunni global commons program. I worked with an NGO in Nigeria, and we were aiming to promote elderly friendliness. I made a magazine and had a team of other students to help rebrand that organization. And also provide educational materials for this initiative at Oyo. State Nigeria, which helps to also demystify COVID-19 superstitions. So then, after that was done, the magazine had a huge impact. I think they distributed to like over 1000 of its stakeholders in Nigeria, and it was wildly successful. So I came back from that experience wanting to give out more to the world. I was like, “Oh, my God, that was so great. I want to like continue to do this, how am I gonna do that?” Everything's still closed in New York, right? So we're like, “what are we going to do?” I immediately signed up for another virtual study abroad class, but this one was focused on Tanzania. And the small group of us, my class all had a creative project to help an NGO in Tanzania independently. During our class sessions, we had guests that would come in from Tanzania and talk about things that are going on in their countries, such as female genital mutilation, and rape concerns, and things like that. And we don't hear about that and public media. They don't talk about that in America very much. So I wanted to figure out how to disseminate that information. And that was part of my project. And when GWEM was born because for that reason, we wanted to disseminate this information on a global scale, because we want to make sure that that information gets into the right hands of the people who are willing to help.


Zarya: I think this is a very powerful mission statement. And very important, I think, as well. You were just mentioning female mutilation. I don't think I've heard about that very often, if at all. So thank you for bringing attention to that. So can you tell us a little bit more about the team behind GWEM?


Amanda: Yeah, sure. The team consists of myself, I run the editorial part of this, I do all the advertising, the marketing the campaigning, and then Hannah Baker. She's our newest member of our team officially. She just went through the digital badge system at the University of Buffalo and she earned her ELN badge for global collaboration. She helped with the second edition of our magazine. We have our technical guide of Briner, who helps us with our website and everything. And then we have Dr. Mr. Huber, who is facilitating the relationship between ELN University of Buffalo and GWEM. So it's a small team, but we're really on the move and we're motivated to get the job done. We want to be a fast-paced, moving organization, and we're doing all that we can to make this successful.


Zarya: So it's such a small team that has been working hard and you are rapidly expanding what are some of the challenges in establishing GWEM you know expect moving forward.


Amanda: Part of the challenges that we had was building capacity, which we talked about a lot within our organization and with the NGOs that we work with. Aside from building capacity is seeing the negative connotation of what People see feminism as versus what GWEM’s core mission is, which is women's empowerment and sustainability initiatives. We aim to promote a positive message of hope and recognition to those wanting to be change-makers in the world and the women’s empowerment movement. One of the biggest challenges we had is walking that fine line as we recognize that we can't ignore the ugliness of what the movement is fighting against Domestic violence. discrimination An array of unequal gender roles. We have to bounce between how highlighting these issues and featuring articles and promoting positive change. Being part of a good solution instead of just highlighting the bad. I believe that these are the biggest challenges that we have now and will continue to as we go forward.


Srihita: You mentioned the negative connotation that feminism has in certain discussions. Can you talk about the distinctions that you make between feminism and women empowerment if any or do you kind of use them interchangeably?


Amanda: You can use them interchangeably but for me, I tend to say that women’s empowerment is a general result of what feminine is working towards. Women's empowerment should include providing better training, support, education, and awareness, but feminism is more of a social construct. It kind of fights for the political and economic social rights of women. So when you put them together you have this great force behind the women's empowerment movement that aims to have it as the result. Feminists we that men and women are equal and women deserve the same rights as men in society, so technically with that definition, anyone can be a feminist. I think that would be the major distinction between the two. As far as the negative connotations, there are many different branches of feminism: some are more extreme and radical than others. It is our job to make sure that we have a palatable form of feminism that's right for everybody. We do not aim to discriminate or let people feel like they can't be part of that movement because we want you a part of the movement we want you to fight for these amazing things that need to happen in our society.


Zarya: How do you hope to see the movement grow in terms of fostering a relationship with the LGBTQ plus community concerning feminism specifically?


Amanda: Currently we haven't had such a diverse personal perspective within the LGBT community. As I said before we aim to be diverse and members of marginal communities often go unnoticed for the efforts within the movement. Your opinions and experiences are vital To have a good understanding of what needs to change in society. I understand that a trans- society, in particular, has been specifically targeted by certain feminist groups who are not so supportive of that initiative. We feel that's completely not the right way to go with this. We want that perspective to be known and heard about. We feel like if you want to find with our movement then fight with our move movement. We're looking for people who want to be a part of our movement without discrimination and we want to help by acceptance and understanding by breaking those stigmas we've been fighting against for years because I believe we're all fighting the same fight.


Zarya: In one of our conversations before this interview I know that you were looking for more Trans-speakers in your upcoming magazine features. Do you want to speak a little bit about that?


Amanda: Sure, you're reading all these things about transphobia right now all these terrible things that are happening out in society. We want to change that stigmatism. We don't want feminism associated with hate. We don’t want that to be the message that we're sending. I believe if you have transitioned into a woman that you are now fighting my fight so if you want to be submitting your information, telling your story, and letting other people know what you're fighting for and why it's important, that's important: to have your voice heard. To not be marginalized. To have a platform to speak and to be able to identify whatever way you want to without judgment from other people. GWEM wants to be a platform for everybody people to speak about equality and why it's important to fight that battle. So for our newest addition, we are looking for more diverse voices. All who want to submit their art or their poetry or their writing and their experiences; we want to have it be recognized.


Zarya: At the end of this episode, we're also going to include all the contact information and you can also find GWEM on our resources page on our website. So Amanda you have a very obvious passion for inclusivity. Could you speak a little bit more about why you're so passionate bout it and specifically why GWEM is for you?


Amanda: I grew up in a very diverse lifestyle. I lived in probably seven different states. I grew up for most of my formative years in California, LA. I had numerous experiences with all types of people and what I can say is that when you are marginalized because of being poor or because you're anything that you can be marginalized for, people marginalized do and it's not a good feeling. I've been categorized as being different my whole life. And this is part of the reason why I want this magazine to work because I feel everybody does deserve the chance to have their voice heard, especially to help the underdog. After all, the underdog always needs a team of support to surround them. I want people to know that they are not alone and I think that's a very important message to send out.


Srihita: Do you have an intended audience for the magazine or is it just the more people the better?


Amanda: At the beginning, we wanted to just put it out there into the world. Let anybody who wanted to read it because the more eyes, the more people want to read it the better. We have slowly started tailoring the audience toward trying to make sure that it gets out into areas that wouldn't necessarily see it. Now the audience is mostly college-aged women in their 20s when they're starting to come into who they are and where they want to be in life. And as GWEM grows, it’s been interesting because we're getting all types of people from all sorts of countries to Tanzania and Uganda. We're seeing this huge influx of people, they have all different types of backgrounds, experiences, and identities. It's amazing, I love it and I can't wait to see how people come to help us in our upcoming edition since I think it's going to be a very unique perspective.


Zarya: I think that is very exciting that you're able to connect with people. I remember I kind of freaked out, positively, when I saw that somebody from Germany was looking at our website, and ever since then, there are people from all around the world looking at the website. It is really great to see that kind of relationship being built. And the work that you've been doing is amazing. And for those of you who don't know, which is all of you at this point. I and Amanda met through the Women and Gender Studies Department at Stony Brook and actually Amanda and I hope for GWEM and Queer Diagnosis to kind of come together with new initiatives through the SUNY system. So definitely look out for those initiatives as well. There's a lot more to come. One of our other questions is: now that GWEM is one year old if you were to go back to the beginning of GWEM, what would you change, if anything?


Amanda: Well, that's a tough one. I think that I would have to change the tears that were spent at the beginning of that organization. The tears that I spent, the aggravation, and the self-doubt that I gave myself along the way. It's important to realize that these are growing pains. Any organization is going to have them, it's just part of the process. I think if I had gone back and told myself, “You're gonna get through this okay to cry about it. It's okay.” I think I would change that. A lot fewer tears spent that could have been used toward being positive and being more productive than thinking it wasn't going to work. So that would be something I would definitely change.


Srihita: I think we're coming up on a year in January. I think from like when we had the very first little seed of the idea of Queer Diagnosis. So I think that's definitely important for us to kind of keep in mind as we go along this process. Can you talk about the reception to GWEM and SUNY Buffalo and how that relationship has kind of played a role in the organization?


Amanda: Sure. We have had a pretty unique reception. I wouldn't say that it was like an instant boom, it was a slow-growing success. And as we move forward, we had great reception; we've had many organizations feature us and talk about our initiative. We've had the Gender Studies at the University of Buffalo post us on their blog. We do have support from you know, people at Stony Brook University including you guys, which is amazing. I'm so excited about that. We even recently interviewed Stony Brook President Dr. Morgan McGinnis. She was in our latest edition, which was a really cool experience to be able to talk to her and get her unique perspective about how Stony Brook is going in a direction of being more inclusive and diverse, which was really neat to hear from her. We had a lot of supporters on all of our social media and we get the emails coming in talking about the work that we're doing and how people want to participate. And it's just a really exciting time. I wouldn't say that we have a million followers and a million followers doesn't necessarily mean that they're the right followers. You need people that are organic. You need people that are slowly going to be a part of that. You want them to be motivated and a part of the team, even if they're not officially part of the team, you want them to support your movement. So it's been received very well organically by the people who are actually participating in it. And of course, we have a lot of anonymous likes out there and I don't know who they are. But the ones that are participating. It's s a really cool experience. And I can't wait to see how the organic on number starts to grow.


Zarya: I really like your use of the word organic because just from a perspective of trying to get Queer diagnosis up and running here. I think that we received nothing but support so far, I haven't heard anything but support but I do think that there is a big difference where the people who want to help you will make every effort to help you. I think everyone is coming from a good place but you can definitely sift through those meaningful relationships. So I do appreciate that. I want to start using the word organic. And also I didn't want to mention this when you said that you were partially from California but I could tell because of your hair. So I just wanted to let you know you give off that vibe.


Amanda: I mean California was great. You have just a very diverse population. But then I went to very un-diverse populations as well. I lived in Texas. T I was not well received there. I have a very outgoing personality and I'm very against the grain. So that was not well received there. So I think it's just keeping it light and keeping it fun and trying not to beat yourself up too much. Just expressing who you are is always better than suppressing it. It's good to do that to keep your sanity and to keep yourself going in the right direction and keep a light heart because it's important.


Zarya: I'm hoping that you can actually talk a little bit more about what you mean about your reception in Texas.


Amanda: I lived in a lot of states. And when I lived in California, they were one of the most accepting places I felt I grew up around. I had so many gay friends and so many even trans friends. I had a very diverse group of populations that I was friends with. When I moved to Texas, I slowly started to see that there was bigger segregation and it wasn't as widely accepted. So when you talk to people out there, “like, I have a gay friend named so and so,” they would look at you like, “what are you talking about right now?” and then you have to sit there and wonder like, “what's wrong with you? Like why are you not okay with that?” And that really bothered me and it stuck with me. One of the biggest things that I experienced when I was specifically going to Texas was when I was in California, I was a line I was a linebacker for the boy’s football team in high school, and I won the best lineman award for being the best lineman on the team. And I went to Ohio and played football there. I did high school football then I got to Texas, and I got on the football team, and all of a sudden they weren't okay that there was a girl on their prize football team, and they benched me. And that really hurt. It was I was called all sorts of things. I was called a dike. I was called all these things just for fun to play with the boys. And that was really hurtful. Not because I have a problem being called a dike, you can call me whatever you want. It was hurtful that they were using that terminology and not understanding that that was offensive. Even like to marginalize any group of people that way, using that type of dialect was not okay with me. So it was really hard going to hearing the derogatory terms generally used toward gay people in that region, benching you because of your gender roles. In Texas, they have this really sexist thing of having the cheerleaders bake cookies and stuff for the football players every Friday. So you're assigned a cheerleader when you join the team, right so he had to assign me a cheerleader and that was just so great. That was fantastic to have. I have a cheerleader that is making cookies. I was like “Alright, well-played sir. But you know, I'll gladly accept these cookies and I'll eat every single one of them and be happy about it. So, Texas was definitely harder. I felt like they still have a long way to go toward acceptance and sexism and all the, they are having these issues but it's not against the state. I mean, there's a lot of great people that are there. Just the overall mentality needs to change.


Srihita: I can neither play football nor bake cookies, so I would be completely in Texas, I would have no role to play. I guess going back before GWEM, you talked about all the different experiences that you've had, how they've been formed the perspective that you bring to GWEM. Was the activism and the strain of thoughts something that you grew up around, or was it something that you can do through your own experiences?


Amanda: I came to activism through my own experiences mostly. I grew up in kind of a rough area. I grew up with not a lot of money or things like that. So when you see racism play out in front of you, or when you see discrimination play out in front of you, because of where you live, or because of the apartment building that you're living in, or because of whatever the reason is, you slowly learn to you slowly learn how to be an activist, because you have to be a person willing to make a change in your life and in other's lives. When you experience these things and understand that the societal pressures that are put on you are not right. And that you see other people who look just like you, sitting right by you and skating through just fine. You're like “Gee, why why did they get a hall pass and why do I not?” I think that creates a huge divide in our society. So, people who go through these hard experiences actually tend to be more prone to activism, because they don't want to see other people go through the things that they went through. And it's good that we have these people that have gone through those experiences. So that they can be agents of change instead of being an on-looker.


Zarya: What you just said about people who look just like you but are skating by in life, that really resonates with me because I'm applying to medical school soon. I feel like everyone has the same stats, everyone looks the same on paper, but how do you distinguish yourself from other people, but also you can’t distinguish yourself from people too much otherwise, that means that you're not a good fit for the program and there are so many different factors so I feel like it's such a game of trying to conform or not conform to the mindset you're like everyone else. So I really appreciate you sharing that. Also, I should mention, I'm also an athlete, I used to play Wii sports for a long time. I was really good at the game. So it's nice to meet another athlete like myself. I also think it's funny because if they gave you awards and they called you best lineman? They didn't even change that terminology to accommodate your gender. So I wonder how that would be received by somebody who would have pushed up against that phrasing or the lettering of that award. So I do appreciate you sharing that with us. Also, I've been getting emails from Texas recently just in terms of applying to medical school, not Texas the state but schools in Texas. But I started looking at medical schools in Texas and actually I've been considering it. But I had no idea that they made up the cheerleaders to make cookies for the football team. That's crazy. I can't believe that's happening in the 21st century I feel except the 1950s Greece-related activity.


Amanda: I wouldn't say that all Texas are homophobic and terrible. There are great parts of Texas that are very accepting. I think what I mean is the older generation that has been there for a very long time and is set in its ways. They want their Texas to be the way it's been and they're having a huge influx of people that are coming into their state from very liberal places and they're very scared about that. Make no mistake, it's a very scary feeling for them. So you know, that comes with all sorts of things. But like I said, I think it's an overall older generation mindset change that needs to take place. I mean, there was no reason to bench me in football. I remember it was 105 degrees out and the coach was making the team run extra gassers, which is going up and down the football field, just to basically get me to quit, and I remember telling myself “you’re not going to quit” and all the boys are looking at me “like this is because of you. This is because you're here we're having to run through all these like extra drills and stuff” and I'm like “you're right. I'm not quitting.” The coach found a way eventually because you can't fight administration by yourself. But as I said, I think that the more we do to change how people see the world and be more accepting. We won't have the same issues that we've been having with acceptance. And I think that as GWEM moves forward and gets older and learns and matures from these experiences and the experiences of the collective, I believe that our message will become more clear than it already is; the message being we want diversity, we want equality for all, and that's such an important message to send out right now especially when people are so lost and without hope during this time. So I really appreciate that you guys are able to have me on here to talk about this because I don't take it for granted. I really am excited about your initiative. I think it's wonderful.


Srihita: I think you've touched on this a few times but I really appreciate the idea of hope that's behind the team. I think that even as a media ecosystem we accept there's such an avalanche of negative headlines and just negativity in general. And I think the message of hope that you have behind the magazine runs really parallel to how you've dealt with the whole best lineman thing in stride and didn’t give up when they were making you run 105 degrees heat. I have not run since high school when they made you run those weird tests like “can you run a mile.” But I like your tenacity and your commitment to positivity. Do you think that was like a learned behavior? Or were you always just like, “this is how I'm going to deal with it and not get too bogged down?”


Amanda: Absolutely not. I am so prone to being negative. It's almost sickening. I think that's one of the other reasons that you really have to have a good support system. And I created GWEM in essence so I can create a support system, not only for myself but for other people. Who wants to be in this movement or who wants to be the change in the world that they desperately need. And when you see the headlines, I mean all of 2020. I was stuck in the house, virtual classes, New York was shut down. Where are we gonna go right? So you're watching the headlines pop up above you, you're seeing body bags, you're seeing all these terrible things, like protests and riots, and for good reason. They were happening for good reason, but it's still scary. It's still unnerving. It's hard to stay, present and not to dwell and think about things that are happening in the world that you can't control. And when you don't have control, you're more prone to be negative, right? So even though I haven’t always been positive, I have always tried to be positive, even in the darkest of times, and have I have had a lot of dark times in my life and a lot of experiences. And I can say that even trying to tell yourself to be positive is a step in the right direction, especially when you're struggling. It's a message of hope that is sometimes all you need. And that's why I think GWEM it's so important, because some people who read it may not initially realize that they do, and then when they have it in front of them, suddenly it becomes very important to them. So that was one of the reasons why I've kept GWEM magazine going and didn't give up because there were many times I wanted to. And I feel like as a keystone I just have to get that message out there so that other people know that we're there when they need us.


Zarya: Oftentimes on the podcast, we interview guests well into their professional careers usually they are further along than we are. And I feel a sense of pride right now honestly, knowing that there's somebody who's, you know, kind of on our generation level and working so hard to put out this product is obviously very important and needed. And I just want to affirm in doing that. I think your mission is so important. And also the story behind it. You obviously are somebody who's resilient and able to make the best of the situation. So with that said, if you could kind of go back in time and talk to your 12-year-old self, what would you say to them?


Amanda:12 years old. That feels like a long time ago, doesn't it? I would tell myself a lot of things but mostly when I was young I struggled with society in general. I mean, basically what you're looking at right now is my 12-year-old self. I went through like a reckoning recently, like an early midlife crisis type thing. You know like when I was in high school, I was very against the grain. And I would probably say that I was even a feminist back then. And I didn't know. So I did everything society didn't want me to do and I challenged societal norms all the time, and I didn't even get a second thought about it. Right. I just went and did me I just went and like, in your face. That is just who I was: take it or leave it on. That's just the kind of person I was growing up. That changed though, as I got older and older. You have a lot of pushback in society. You can't have your hair blue. You can't dress like that. You can't do that. You just get all these naysayers telling you that you can't be who you are. The world starts telling you that being different is no good. You're recognized for it when you're young. And then as you get older, you need to conform. In order to achieve higher aspects of society, you have to mold to the expectations of society that they set out for you. So I think I would tell my 12-year-old self, to not let them stifle you, and to keep going and being the best version of you that doesn’t conform to the pressures of anybody, because you know, that's not the right way to go. You will come into yourself and usually, your self is who you are without the extra pressures of people telling you who to be and you're always going to do better when you're yourself, so I think I would just keep saying you got it, right girl. That's what I tell my 12-year-old self she got it right.


Srihita: I love asking this question because so often it is that children really do have it right. I've been in therapy for a while and I really think my whole mission is just to get back to before, not get back to it but those like those values of the precociousness and nonchalance that we have towards these norms and constructs that seem like they now control our role as we get older. And learning how to disabuse ourselves of all of those gross notions. That's like the whole point. So I feel like if you're on the same page with your 12-year-old self, you're in a pretty good place.


Zarya: I think this is a pretty good place to wrap out. So thank you so much for joining us. I really do appreciate it. Do you mind telling us a little bit more about where we find Gwen, in terms of your social media and where to find the issues coming up?


Amanda: So once again, thank you so much for having me. I am so honored. You can find GWEM on Facebook. We also have a website at www.GEMag.com. And you can message us and reach out to us. We're looking for submissions. You can email us from our website, there's a contact button. I am starting to feel a little bit like a stewardess right now. But you can find us at any of these locations. And we'll be happy and punctual with returning to you. I can't wait to meet you and talk to you and learn and grow with you and have you a part of our amazing network and support system of women and men and everything in between. I am so excited to talk to you, just reach out. You won't be disappointed.


Zarya: Thank you.


Amanda: Thank you.


Reflection


Srihita: Hello everyone. We hope you enjoyed our conversation with Amanda Hart. As usual for the reflection portion of the episode, Zarya and I have our interns Sofia and Aaliya joining us. So guys, what did you think about the episode?


Zarya: Actually we all identify with she/her pronouns Srihita, but thank you for using male-oriented vocabulary. No, I'm just joking. They're all laughing on the zoom for everyone who can’t see, which is all of our listeners at this time. So just something that I want to throw out is after the conversation we actually had the chance to speak with Amanda for a little bit longer. And she about this concept of organic relationships that you know naturally form as you create a new organization such as GWEM and, for us, Queer Diagnosis. I do really appreciate her mentioning that because organic relationships, I think come down to the idea of forming genuine relationships where you can actually reach out to the person. I feel like especially just at the time of COVID where things can be really isolating, especially with a pandemic quarantine. I think organic relationships have really come to light and I feel like we've developed organic relationships even with the interns. I just want to give a really quick shout out to all the interns who worked on this project. You can hear their names at the end of this recording. But really they've helped us expand in a way that we didn't anticipate to grow as quickly. So thank you again, and also thank you to Hannah, who actually is also on the GWEM team for making this possible.


Aaliya: I really felt Amanda's passion through the whole interview. She talked about wanting to make the world more accepting and listen because society tends to push us into these molds and they're like,” oh, you must be this way or else you won't be successful or you won't be accepted for who you are,” And Amanda really got into like details and talked a lot about how GWEM and like a lot of other organizations are based in this trying to make people feel like themselves and allow them to know that they are understood and accepted even though they aren’t what stereotypically society wants them to be.


Sofia: There is a standard in our society and everyone is just trying to be that standard. And I think that feminism is focused more on how the world is training the people. Feminism is focused more on changing how the system works because right now, there is a standard that makes men the standard prototype of humans. And everyone is just striving to be that standard. I've seen and read arguments about how feminism is kind of wrong at some point because they keep saying that women will never be equal to men and they bring up arguments saying that it's just biology, like women are just inferior to men. And that, like for example, a woman can’t carry like a heavy load or like you can't work jobs that men usually do for work. I think feminism is centered more on how the world should be changing to treat all genders the same. We want equal wages and things like that. For me, that is what feminism is about. It's not more on why women should not be in government because you're too emotional and stuff like that. It's not like that, but it's more on asking for equal treatment.


Srihita: For me, the big takeaway was her learned behavior of being hopeful when Amanda was talking about GWEM and obviously Aaliya, you touched on just how passionate she was about this project and so to her commitment to hope, I just assumed that that was just like always the way that she was. And she kind of shared how that was a process and kind of getting to a place where she has hope even though she's faced adversity in her life. She's aware of other people's experiences. And empathetic towards other people's experiences and can is aware that there's a lot of negativity out in the world, but kind of seeing that there was a need for something like GWEM where people could share their words and share their experiences and kind of being hopeful for a better future and taking her hope and turning it into action by the creation of GWEM. And one of the more unexpected parts of the interview for me was just really having the opportunity to talk to like another creator who kind of started around pandemic time and we touched on this but GWEM has a connection with SUNY Buffalo similar to the way that we do at Stony Brook and seeing someone who I could relate to and realize that they learned that behavior, and that I could too.


Zarya: Yeah, I agree with that wholeheartedly. That sense of camaraderie, I think. I mean, not even camaraderie, I think this sense of community that can come out of having an organization much supported by an institution. It's just really cool. And you guys will see this in an upcoming episode. But we really do get to touch on the experiences of administration and how even from the inside and at that level, they're able to advocate for inclusivity specifically as it relates to the LGBTQ+ community, as well.


Srihita: And I think that's a note that we're going to leave it on. Thank you so much for listening to the episode. Take care of yourself, and we'll see you in the next one. Bye, everyone.


Zarya: Read the transcript for this episode at QueerDiagnosis.com. Queer Diagnosis is

Aaliya: Aaliya Sayed.

Jess: Jessica Pathmanathan.

KaiQi: KaiQi Liang.

Lara: Lara Castaneda.

Serena: Serena McDaniel.

Sofia: Sofia Peralta.

Jameson: Jameson Coleman.

Srihita: Srihita Mediboina.

Zarya: And me, Zarya Shaikh. Music is composed and provided by Cara Dugan and Adam Fredette. This podcast is supported by listeners like yourself. Our Patreon is patreon.com/QueerDiagnosis rate and subscribe to Queer Diagnosis wherever you like to listen.


This transcript has been edited for clarity. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future.