Our next senior wisdom is from Gerardo Romo, zine-lover and activist extraordinaire.
Name, Hometown, School, Major:
Gerardo Romo, Perris, California, Columbia College, Ethnic Studies
Claim to fame:
The brown gay guy that told Bollinger students of color didn’t feel supported on campus despite being Columbia’s image of diversity and progress and then wrote an op-ed about it that no one really got the point of?? Also member of the infamous Q House. And 3 year board member of Proud Colors (read our zines!) and angry gay ex-political/gender&sexuality chair of Chicano Caucus. :)
Where are you going?
I’m not sure yet. I’m still looking for a job to stay in the city with the bae *keep your fingers crossed*
What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2018?
1). Isolation is temporary.
There’s been many days, weeks, and even months during my time here that I felt that the loneliness I felt would last forever, that the emptiness would never leave. But I’ve learned that, eventually, it always does. That’s not saying it didn’t hurt or traumatize me or that it wasn’t the most difficult I’ve ever experienced, but there is always a light at the end of this oppressive tunnel.
2.) Community is built, not given.
With so much talk about community–the Columbia community, the gay community, the Latin@ community, etc–it’s easy to forget that community takes a lot of work and effort to build and maintain. If you’re feeling lonely or “not part of the community” it’s not your fault. Making this campus feel like a community takes a lot of self-reflection to see the ways that we reproduce hierarchies of power and privilege in our own spaces. It takes a communal effort to eradicate those forms of hate for all of us to feel welcome and “included.” That being said, I hope we can all take up the task.
3.)You matter way more than any assignment.
Kind of self-explanatory but its easy to forget under the rush of everything here. If you’re feeling like you can’t breathe under all the pressure of schoolwork, jobs, love, and loneliness, don’t be scared to reach out to a professor and let them know that you’re gonna need a little more time on that assignment. 9 times out of 10 they understand, I mean they’re human, too. If they don’t budge, try not to forget to rest and eat and talk to your friends and loved ones.
“Back in my day…” First Friday was still the IRL Grindr for skinny/masc gay white boys, Lady Gaga was still fun (and relevant), Miley Cyrus wasn’t as blatantly racist, and we had two undergraduate deans of color.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer.
justifying myself is a logic of capitalism and white supremacy and I would rather not :)
Write your most memorable note from the field.
Sitting on Low Steps making out with a cutie on a warm summer night kinda feels like you’re standing on the sun.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?
??? I would give up cheese. Oral sex is such an integral part of the queer experience.
One thing to do before graduating:
Detoxify yourself of all the hate you’ve internalized and the Western veneration we’re force-fed here. It’s a life long process though so don’t be discouraged.
Not being patient enough to grow.
@CC Is it just me or is this guy simultaneously complaining about being tokenized by Columbia while also presenting his identity as solely based on his being Latino and gay? Which point should I care about?
@Anonymous you’re one of the coolest queer ppl I’ve ever met and probably (definitely) the coolest qpoc I’ve ever met!!!! you inspire me to be more brave. love you gerardo!!!!!!!
@lol fuck politics that pit marginalized people against each other–Gerardo you’re cool & and hilarious, and I don’t need to put down other queers to let you know that!
@Anonymous ?? I’m not really sure I understand ur comment. If it helps any I meant I’m a qwoc and can relate to him more because of our shared identities n experiences as qpoc on this campus… I’m not pitting anyone against each other…I didn’t put anyone down… lol
@Tastemaker Gonna miss hearing that obnoxious (that was a hint) laugh from all the way across South Field and running into you everywhere. You’re a great friend and Columbia’s losing a valuable student this year.
Also your “Back in my day…” response made my soul ache.
@did we... smoke a joint in EC on halloween two years ago after Rosie the Riveter and I accidentally crashed a Casa Latina house party?
@RR it was tough at times but you’re at the finish line now, so good job! best of luck in your post-graduation plans! congrats!
@Anonymous hey i think i know your boyfriend…was he in my arabic class with wijdan?
@ah yes that queer experience, so focused on sex for everyone, yes indeed, no queer people are uninterested in sex ever, it is so integral, indeed
@pretty sure ^it was a joke
@ya i know it’s a joke. it’s not funny
@or maybe He meant that oral sex is quite an important part of sex for many gay men? Which it kind of it is? I mean, how much more sensitive can we really get?
@how is justifying yourself a logic of capitalism. under capitalism every person has the right to exist just not the right to thrive.
@Anonymous You’re wonderful, Gerardo! :)
@Q House will miss you! Good luck!
@Ughh This guy tho.
Sad I never got to meet him before he graduates.
@CC '15 I really appreciate you & everything you’ve given to different spaces on campus / Columbia will miss your thoughtful honesty.
@CC '13 I’m pretty sure I’ve seen non-white gays at First Friday in my time. Then again, I haven’t been here for a year so maybe I’m missing something.
Also, good advice to the class of 2018.
@I only met Gerardo this semester but this kid’s cool as shit.
@FINALLY a straight (!) answer to the oral sex question. godspeed young sir
@Gay Latino Dear Gerardo,
Please stop trying to universalize your individual experience.