In 2016, the Oregon Community Foundation reported that twelve percent of Latinx folks
graduated with their bachelor’s and/or master’s degree compared to the 31 percent of White counterparts (Latinos in Oregon Report, 2016). While Latinx students continue to be the largest minority in the United States, Latinx students enroll in colleges and universities at proportionately smaller numbers. Moreover, queer students often lack necessary support to succeed in academic and social settings within the university. Queer Latinx students find themselves multiply marginalized, particularly when they are campus activists and leaders who often experience frustration, exhaustion, and burnout in their attempts to address social inequality on campus. This study offers a preliminary look into the experiences and needs of queer Latinx student activists and leaders in Oregon and suggests areas for future research with this understudied population.
This study is based on semi-structured interviews of seven queer Latinx students in the state of Oregon who are involved in activism and leadership on their college campuses. By using grounded theory and intersectionality through a feminist lens, this project identifies a number of themes that suggest the need for further research: identity formation and expression, challenges in families and on campus, prejudice and discrimination, activism through art, and support people and systems. Overall, by highlighting major themes found, this preliminary study will allow researchers and scholars to further understand and support queer Latinx students.