Lakshmi (They/Them)

My name is Lakshmi Garcia and I PROUDLY identify as non-binary and queer. I have been out for six years now and am on the constant journey of self-discovery and the pursuit of knowledge.
My journey though, much like many others, has not always been easy. During middle school, I was outed and began to experience heavy bullying. I became the first open and out student and began to deal with eating and mental disorders. As I began to express myself through cutting my hair and binding, I discovered the beauty of self-reassurance and love. During my eighth grade year, I was able to gain enough confidence to come out as non-binary to two of my closest teachers, Matt Izaguirre and Kelly O’Connell, who received me with open arms. To this day, they’ve served as guides and companions along my journey. They saved my life. With their help, I was able to create the first Gender & Sexuality Alliance in the middle schools of my district. It was created in response to a substitute teacher being harassed by students just because of her sexual orientation. As an only semi-out kid, I knew action needed to be taken.
One of the most important things those two educators taught me was that even if people won’t like who you are, their opinion of you doesn’t really matter. That’s what has helped me get as far as I am today.
Now that my journey through high school has come to an end, I will be attending UCSB as a Global Studied major in hopes of becoming an educational attorney to continue advocating for LGBTQ+ youth in our education systems. I am EXTREMELY passionate about education and ensuring that every student has the right to pursue it freely and comfortably regardless of who they are. Education is what saved me, and therefore I strive to help better it in any way I can.
Being latinx, Aztec, as well as first-generation has taught me the importance of possessing tenacity and perseverance. My hope is that through TRUTH and beyond I’m able to continue helping youth who face adversity today.