The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

Staff Spotlight: Rodger D’Andreas-Wahl advocates owning one’s sexuality

Staff Spotlight: Rodger D’Andreas-Wahl advocates owning one’s sexuality

By Shanice Davis

Assistant Features Editor

Born in a small town in South Texas, former founding Director of the LGBTQA Pride Center on campus, Rodger D’Andreas-Wahl, admits that he knew the small town life of settling down and having a wife and kids was not for him. Instead he took the high road and paved his own way.

Wahl began his college career as an Opera major at Southwest Texas State, before transferring and receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Afterwards, he obtained his Master’s in Counseling Psychology at Our Lady of the Lake University.

With 13 years at CSUSM, Wahl has held an array of titles on campus; currently he serves as a lecturer in the Women’s Studies Department, a part-time professor for the first year program, administrator of Student Affairs and the Executive Director of ASI.

Another role Wahl took on was being the founding Director of the LGBTQA Pride Center. Originally, CSUSM didn’t have an LGBTQA Center and ASI wanted to create one. Wahl was considered the perfect candidate for the position, as he had experience with LGBTQA students and people.

“Being founding Director of LGBTQA was about getting the center off the ground and creating a safe space for students,” said Wahl.

Identifying as queer and having a background in mental health, Wahl said he is able to relate more with students.

“When you’ve gone through a struggle or a similar struggle, I think it’s easier to empathize and put yourself in their shoes,” he said. “It allows me to see it from my own journey, but knowing that my own journey may not be someone else’s.”

Wahl said that at the age of 18 he identified himself as being gay, then changed his identification to queer.

“When I was 18 I thought I was only sexually attracted or romantically attracted to other guys, so gay seemed like the right label for me,” he said. “As I’ve aged and gone through life, I’ve realized that my romantic attraction, my sexual attractions, are more diverse than that.”

Wahl said queerness is about challenging rigid ideas about gender and sexuality.

“Queer is a political label, it’s a label that some people use when they want to challenge some of the assumptions we make about what it means to be male or female; what it means to be in a relationship; things like monogamy, marriage; is marriage really what we all aspire to? Is being with the same person for the rest of your life really what we want?” he said.

The perfect fairytale of living happily ever after with one person is simply not his style.

“For some people that works great; I can’t even imagine having to be with one person for the rest of my life,” Wahl said.

As for the advances made towards the LGBTGA community, Wahl said they’re good but much work still needs to be done.

“The advances are important, they’re necessary and they save lives,” he said. “When people see themselves represented in television, in the front of classrooms and civil rights are being given to them that are dued to them, it saves lives because it helps people understand that they’re human beings, they deserve the same things that other people deserve.”

As a final point, Wahl has advice for everyone.

“Be you, but make sure you have a support system to help facilitate to you being you,”

He also had advice for allies to the LGBTQA community.

“Continue to educate yourself and don’t make it about you. Don’t be Beyonce, you’re one of the backup singers, so be supportive.”

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