I recently stumbled upon a really endearing documentary called “Coming out in the 1950s” (you can watch it on youtube by clicking on the title) which featured three queer youths interviewing three elderly gays and a lesbian. Turns out one of the interviewers, Jason Galisatus, has been an extremely active queer rights activist aside from this documentary. Asian, Gay and Proud is honored to feature Jason this week! Take a look!
Jason Galisatus is a senior at Aragon High School in San Mateo and has been the president of the Aragon High School Gay Straight Alliance since his sophomore year. Jason has appeared on the radio on KGO and was a winner of the KQED Youth Perspectives Contest for his piece entitled “Complicated” which discusses the complications that arise from coming out. Jason served on the GSA Network NorCal Youth Council in 2008-2009 and is currently the youngest member of the National Executive Team of the National Marriage Boycott, a Stanford-based organization that focuses on repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, where he is theHigh School Coordinator in charge or recruitment and management of high school branches. Jason won the Community Service Award from the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedoms for his advocacy for the LGBT community. Jason also does speaking engagements ranging from GSA visits to keynote speeches with PFLAG. He is currently a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network Media Ambassador and will serve as such for the year. Jason also worked as the LGBT Community Liaison Intern at San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office. Jason runs a blog about his activist life that is written by his super gay activist alter-ego “The Power Gay.” The blog can be accessed at jgalisatus.blogspot.com.
Outside of advocacy, Jason is a percussionist with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, is the student body vice president, and loves musical theater. Jason hopes to work in advocacy for the rest of his life and wants to double major in political science and communications. After his undergrad he hopes to get his J.D. and M.B.A. at the same time and proceed to work in the non-profit sector for LGBT advocacy.
Who? name, age, what you identify as (or not)
My name is Jason Galisatus, I am 18, and I identify as gay.
What? what do you do for a living or things you would like to do.
I will be a freshman at Stanford University in the Fall of 2011. I currently work as an activist and political organizer, and I volunteer for the Mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee.
When did you come out? Any stories?
I fully came out my Freshman year. I was so blessed to have the most supportive friends and family in my life. The most common response I got was “we know…” My parents today are very supportive, and, as I said, always have been. But initially it was very difficult for them to cope, not because they had anything against gay people, but because they were afraid that I would be in danger as an out gay man. Their fears were not completely off base, as I had been bullied a couple of times. Sadly, it comes with the territory of being gay, sometimes.
How did coming out impact your career or relationships with others?
If anything, being out benefited my career and my relationships so much. When I came out, a barrier that had previously existed between me and my friends disappeared. I had been “hiding” my secret from all of them for so long, that it disallowed any deep relationships/friendships. Once I came out to them, I was able to be fully honest with them, and my relationships improved tremendously. In terms of my career: my career literally is activism. I work with LGBT people as my job, so coming out gave me a career in itself.
Advice you can give to other Asian, Gay & Proud readers.
We need to remember that while we have an ethnic identity to our Asian side, it’s alright to have a dual identity with our LGBT side as well. Point being: Being Asian and being gay are not mutually exclusive. Be proud of who you are, and be proud of being a member of the most fabulous sociological group in the world: the gaysians :) All hail George Takei and Sam Tsui…