The LGBTQ+ Resource Center welcomes its new queer and trans assistant director, Brenden Thomas Cashatt, who has a passion for self-discovery and the LGBTQ+ community.
Cashatt said their purpose is to support LGBTQ+ students by creating an environment where they can thrive and feel a sense of community.
“I think that, especially for LGBT students, college is an opportunity for them to really find themselves and become who they authentically are,” Cashatt said.
The assistant director’s goals include educating the campus about LGBTQ+ students and intersectional programming, according to Cashatt. Currently, Cashatt is working with a team on OUTober, a month-long observance of the LGBTQ+ community filled with educational festivities.
Cashatt said, through this position, they hope to build a community where LGBTQ+ students feel truly welcomed and accepted on campus.
With their master’s in education student development administration from Seattle University, Cashatt previously worked for LGBTQ+ centers at UC Irvine and Syracuse University.
“The big piece about having [an LGBTQ+] center that’s really vital is saying ‘you can come here, and you can be who you are, and we don’t have to agree on everything,'” Cashatt said. “At the foundational level of your LGBTQ identity, we get it.”
Cashatt went through their own self-discovery in college at California State University, San Bernardino. Growing up in a rural conservative town in East County San Diego called Descanso, they didn’t know anyone who identified as LGBTQ+.
“It was not a place for me to be out or to feel safe about that,” Cashatt said. “I remember going to college and my first year as a freshman I wouldn’t even look in the direction of the LGBT resource center because I was so scared.”
Through involvement with campus organizations and becoming a Resident Adviser (RA), Cashatt met other LGBTQ+ students further along in their journey.
Cashatt recalled a best friend who was “very out and gay and queer and confident,” which inspired them to be honest about who they were.
“It sounds maybe a little simple in the way it happened, but it was transformational for me as an individual,” Cashatt said. “Had I not gone to college, had I not left that town, I don’t know what would have happened.”
More information about the LGBTQ+ resource center can be found on their website. Information regarding this month’s OUTober events can be found on the Office of Multicultural Affairs Instagram page. To get involved in the committee contact Cashatt at [email protected].