Editor’s Note — This Q&A is part of a weekly conversation series that is celebrating Pride Month on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Medium page. The series will feature Huskers who are making impacts on campus and look to maintain that momentum in future careers.
For this week of Pride Month 2022, we’re talking with Mack Gonzalez, an English major from Carmel, Indiana. On campus, Gonzalez is exploring their passions and helping fellow Huskers find resources and community as an outreach coordinator at the LGBTQA+ Center.
Talk about your role as an outreach coordinator for the LGBTQA+ Center.
I have really loved being the outreach coordinator for the Center. It’s been wild to see how much the Center has changed between when I started and now. One of my favorite moments was orchestrating a little hide-and-seek game within our social media last fall semester. Throughout the fall I hid the same picture of a cooked shrimp in various social media graphics on our Instagram, and during finals week, I revealed the game and offered a free t-shirt to anyone who could find all of the hidden shrimps. More people participated than I was expecting, and I hope it provided some much-needed stress relief. I feel “shrimp”ly blessed to have worked this job!
You were a first-year student when you joined your first drag show. What does drag mean to you/provide you?
If anything, drag has helped me discover my performance style. I know that I can’t dance, so I’ve learned to work around that by trying to have a solid makeup/fashion look and by making character and movement choices as opposed to dancing. In that regard, it’s been a good lesson in learning to play to my strengths. It’s also done wonders for my confidence, but getting cheered on by a crowd of beautiful, queer people will do that for anyone.
Is there anything you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
Recently, I’ve been allowing myself the room to create, and I think that’s one of the most important things anyone can do. No matter what path or career I choose, I hope to always be able to continue my hobbies of writing and collaging. Creation for the sake of creation and being okay with non-monetized hobbies is more important to me than any recognition.
What or who inspires you?
Just because he’s been on my mind lately, the answer is Félix González-Torres. Not only do we share a name, but I also think his artwork is powerful and relevant to where we are today. It’s also massively important to remember our history and the people who came before us during Pride Month. Specifically, I would like to point out “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) as a significant work of art related to the AIDS crisis.
What is your advice to other students looking to make an impact on campus?
I would say that one of the best ways to make an impact on campus is to curate a support system. UNL can seem large or intimidating to incoming students, but when you finally find your crowd, loving them and being loved back can both keep you sane and allow you to make the changes you feel are necessary.