Avery Staker: A leader in the LGBTQIA+ community
Iowa native and third year student at Iowa State, Avery Staker shares their story about being part of the LGBTQIA+ community and their student organization, Pride Goes Greek.
Growing up, Staker said they always knew that they were different. They grew up with the understanding that there was a part of them that was attracted to both men and women. They began to question themself when Staker realized that they weren’t surrounded by people who were like them.
“I grew up in a super small town where there wasn’t a whole lot of representation. It’s a very Catholic area as well, so it was kind of given,” said Staker, “I grew up in a family that went to church, specifically the Catholic church. So there were a lot of messages that were contrary to what I felt, so when I started getting older, to a point where I could pay attention to them, I was like, oh no, this is telling me that I’m bad.”
However, Staker soon realized that their feelings were valid so they decided it would be best to finally share their feelings about their identity to their friends and family.
Sick of lying to themself, which would be like lying to the world, Staker began to tell their closest friends and parents.
“I was very lucky with my family, too. They have always been very supportive and I’ve never had to deal with any homophobia or anything like that, so I felt very fortunate.” Staker’s parents were always outwardly supportive of queer people and the LGBT community. Staker thinks that it is essential to have a support system which will fully understand the thoughts and feelings of queer individuals.
Aware that many queer individuals do not receive the same kind of support, Staker said, “I think that it is really vital for a queer child to have that kind of familial and communal support, I want to get to a point where my story isn’t unique.” They now know that being different is nothing to be ashamed of, but rather, it should be embraced.
Staker wants society to get to a point where their story of acceptance becomes the new normal. To accomplish this, Staker created Pride Goes Greek, a student organization that aims to create a safe space and sense of community for underrepresented students in the Sorority and Fraternity Community, especially those who identify under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella. In the future, the group hopes that they can develop an inclusive narrative among sorority and fraternity members who do not identify as LGBTQIA+, and establish a wide support system for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Now sitting at about 15 members, the group welcomes all students who want to share their experiences and be part of an inclusive community. Pride Goes Greek plans on hosting larger-scale events in the future, but they have recently stuck with hosting small events, which are free for all to attend.