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Blog Posts by CUNY Peer Leaders

La Protagonizade Traumatizada: Tracing Intersectional Queer Truama For Future Heros

Posted by Sam Ascencio (He/They/Zir/Hir) on

La Protagonizade Traumatizada: Tracing Intersectional Queer Truama For Future Heros

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What’s something you think you’re an expert on?

This is a question I’ve been thinking about for a while now. You know, my topics always tend to be queer-centered. I think many of my topics tend to be queer-centered because when we talk about the queer experience when we talk about LGBTQ+ pedagogy and theories and such but I feel like there’s much more that encapsulates what we are actually looking to talk about. recently started learning about feminism and the ways that feminism can be radical and stratified and broken and intersectional and the concepts of slow violence cultural violence and direct violence and how this really relates to our ideas. And I’ve kind of been really reflecting on, you know the things that I think that I know.

I’ve been blessed to just be in the space with scholars and educators and advocates and activists, you know, an active learners, I’ve, I think that I’ve been an advocate, but it took me a really long time to claim the term advocate for myself. I think a lot of people tell me that I have a legacy. I’ve left a legacy but it’s hard to look back and say that I have a legacy when I think that I see all the smaller parts that come together. I think that’s important to recognize. I don’t think that I know very much about the queer experience you know if you had to ask me and if I was being honest I would tell you that I’m, I’m an ally first. I’m trans. Second, I’m queer second I’m gay. Second, I am an ally.And I think that the term ally is a lot of people say it’s a verb, I don’t I don’t think that it’s a verb. I think that it’s an experience. It’s a goal. It’s something you need to achieve, and it’s something you have to recognize and it’s something you have to be educated in.

A side profile of a woman in a russet-colored turtleneck and white bag. She looks up with her eyes closed.

“We are all experts in the trauma that our bodies tell us from the generations of people that we come from. We are experts in that trauma.”

— Haunter/Sam Ascencio

See L020A Sylvia Rivera, “Y’all Better Quiet Down” Original Authorized Video by LoveTapesCollective, 1973 Gay Pride Rally NYC https://vimeo.com/331483480


If I’m looking back on, you know, my experiences are tied to theirs.

The video of Sylvia Rivera at that rally talking about STARS, being booed on stage that’s an experience that I don’t think many of us in this younger generation can say that we have. Why do I want to stop thinking of these individuals is because I don’t want us as minoritized genders and sexualities to be lost in a singular story.

How do we bring these larger experiences into our conversations you know? My experiences are tied to theirs. I think that they have the experience of fighting for their lives of feeling fear of actually putting their lives on the line of standing at a protest, not knowing if they’re going to come home and in many ways that makes them my family. They make me what I am today because they give me the strength to do so. They’re not necessarily speaking to the population they are looking to serve, and this is what I am referring to when I’m an ally. This is why I say that I’m disappointed that I only have so many individuals that I see as the experts on this opinion. These are the authorities to me. My knowledge is generational because of them. My knowledge is on base because of them

This subject is not regarded as in good taste. I would honestly tell you it’s not, it’s not good to be queer.Why because how many individuals do you know with a PhD, specifically in LGBT studies, that are not under, you know, a women’s center banner under gender studies? So, when I reflect on this prompt, what do I consider myself an expert on. I would tell you that I’m an expert only on myself. I used to tell myself, you know, the only person I can as my heroe is my future self because that’s the only person I’m ever going to be. And yes, I can embody the traits of the people that I love, but in no way Will I ever be whatever hero you identify as you are never going to be them. You only be yourself but that doesn’t mean you can’t embody the things you appreciate the most. You are an amalgamation of those that you love and respect. We are all experts in the trauma that our bodies tell us from the generations of people that we come from. We are experts in that trauma.

Blog Posts by CUNY Peer Leaders

Then I dropped two classes..

Posted by Sam Ascencio (He/They/Zir/Hir) on

I have been aching to submit my post for some time but, time is fleeting, as life always is isn’t it? Why, am I so late I ask myself even as I write this…but I know why it is because I am recovering from trauma. Being LGBTQ+ is never easy, being trans is even harder. I considered transitioning for a while, I remember looking in the mirror gently rubbing my chin as if some magic wizard might make me the male I saw myself as. During my time as a college student I faced a lot, the first-day jitters are less about fitting in and more about hoping I’ll come home alive. Now I rub my chin because I can feel the fist that slammed into my face less than a year ago when another student caught me off guard and punched me in the face. “I don’t care about your sexuality.” he hissed as I fell backwards slowly toward the ground I saw a group of students ready to remind me why I shouldn’t get up right there on my campus, right were I thought I belonged. Now I know I belong because I came back, I swallowed my fear, I stopped shaking and stomped on toward the the door at least…not this time. This time I logged onto zoom, a whirl and a click I sat empty and dazed working hours to support students as a Peer Success Coach in the warm summer’s pandemic months. Life seemed to trudge on despite the chaos around it and I asked myself…why should I not the do the same?

My song for this month “There is a place where we don’t have to feel alone…everytime that you call out you’re a little less alone. From across the silence your voice is heard.”

In the months before the world met its pseudo-zombie-like state, a spark ran in me…a report card for all of CUNY a place for all students, a welcome home for all the LGBTQ+ folx. Do we not deserve a welcome more than anyone else? In fact we should welcome the NEW “us” the one person we choose to be, not the birthright so many claim we should. College is the first time most us get to be who we truly are at least that’s what we’re told but that simply isn’t the case. Most times LGBTQ+ students are regulated to a small club or corner and used as a minority token to advance some agenda. I was tired of that, I wanted to help my fellow students the way I helped students at my job. We don’t get the right health education or a how-to guide on standing up for ourselves. I’ve seen too many students run away while I spit venom back, the venom rightly deserved at the masses who tried to cage my people.

I searched four-plus years now for the unicorn field, the place were all the LGBTQ+ students were free to be who they were. Where the magic of our identities and experiences shined. On the first day of the semester I mounted an attack, one that would be not come softly but in roar of enthusiasm. I drafted up Q’onnections an LGBTQ+ mentoring program that would pair LGBTQ+ students with other like minded students and push them to be advocates, leaders and champions for themselves. I rallied my fellow club mates and spent countless hours coming up with programing, ideas, concepts, drawings and more. I was acting as a director and student. I was respected in one space as the man rallying the charge and in my classes I was deadnamed for asking why I got a 75 on an assignment I fighting for perfection with everything I had and told I was starting up “discourse”. “Well it’s feminine on all your documents what do you expect?” They told me. “I am trying but it’s soooo hard.” They whined. I had enough, the toughest part of this semmester was being trans, it always was but this semmester would be diffrent. I dropped two classes and walked on.

The charge is on full speed, tomorrow is the fist day I train my mentors for battle. I am ready. See more about my idea here: https://lgbtq.ink/jjqsite

Till I find the unicorns find me with my head in the clouds. Till then I’ll keep walking…

Sam Ascencio 9/23/2020
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