Scholar Class – 2010- 2011
Tatiana Young is in her own words, “moving beyond mere survivorship to smile in the face of continuing adversity.” As an adolescent, however, she was far removed from this image of herself. Enduring years of verbal, physical and sexual abuse, Tatiana learned early on to repress her true feelings and more, to hate herself. In 1999, these feelings culminated in an attempted suicide. Thankfully, since that time, she has chosen to affirm LIFE. Realizing that life is to be cherished, Tatiana first came out as bisexual, then as a gay and by 16, as pansexual and gender-queer. Despite her new found freedom, Tatiana continued to face hardships both in school and at home, which eventually forced her onto the streets in 2003. As a last resort, she turned to prostitution, experiencing, first hand, the particular vulnerabilities of life on the streets. Eventually, she made her way back to school, graduating from the University of Texas-Austin in 2009 with special honors in Anthropology. Amidst writing an 88 page senior thesis, she served as both vice chair for the Transgender Education Network of Texas (formerly TACT) and campus advocacy director for the Queer Students Alliance. That same year, she co-founded TransAction, a grassroots movement aimed at making Austin's homeless shelters more accessible for transgender homeless populations, earning an exemplary commitment award from the Clinton Global Initiative. Today, Tatiana is at the top of her class in her first year at the Center for Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Texas-Austin.