We recently heard from Pride Foundation scholar alums Marie and T Timbreza—who are now leaders in their field, and remain as committed as ever to LGBTQ equality. Marie and T embody the spirit of Pride Foundation’s scholarship program, and we are honored to have played a role in their story. The heartfelt letter we received from the two of them was a perfect reminder of why our work to support future leaders is so important. We hope you enjoy hearing from them as much as we did!
We’ve been meaning to write to Pride Foundation for a while to say thank you. Thank you for your tireless work advancing equality for LGBTQ youth and adults in the region. Each of us received a Pride Foundation scholarship while completing our undergraduate degrees at Portland State University (PSU) a decade ago. It was an honor to be recognized by your organization then, and we still carry the honor of being chosen as Pride Foundation community leaders.
We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a little bit about our lives, and how meaningful it was to each of us to receive a scholarship.
I received my Pride Foundation scholarship in 2004. For me, the scholarship helped make finishing my undergraduate degree possible. I went back to school in my late 20s, and as a parent, couldn’t afford to take on debt to fund my education. I was paying for my education out of pocket, and it would have taken me a lot longer to finish my degree without the support.
Beyond making my education possible, the fact that Pride Foundation recognizes the various ways LGBTQ people are marginalized, by the broader community and even by people’s own families, is incredibly important.
Knowing that there is a community willing to financially invest in the education of the queer community, recognizing the unique challenges people face just by being themselves, is critical.
I walk out into the world every single day willing to live my life in a way that is authentic—which results in many educational opportunities and conversations. I’m currently a manager and patient experience consultant at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and recently joined the Transgender Health Program Committee.
The LGBTQ community has long been underserved within healthcare, so it is very exciting to be involved in work that ensures we’re visible in this field. Serving as a voice for people who exist outside of our heteronormative and gender binary culture is an important part of the work I do.
I am originally from New Orleans, LA, then I moved to Austin, TX, in 1995. In 2001, I moved to Portland, OR, excited to bring my feminism, queerness, and social justice mentality to the incredible efforts being made in the Pacific Northwest. My path led me to work at Just Out, a local LGBTQ paper. I ran open mics at Haven Coffee Shop and In Other Words and dove into the spoken word/music community.
I received my Pride Foundation scholarship in 2005. One of the things that I was able to say, upon receiving the award, was how fantastic it was to have a space where people are honored for being queer, not in spite of being queer.
At the time I received my scholarship, I had just returned to PSU to finish my undergraduate degree—which is where T and I met. Together, we forged a healthy union of two people that knew what they wanted to do in the world, and understood the kind of impact we wanted to have together. We came together as equals and just recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary.
While I was originally trained as a secondary school teacher, I am now in Child Psychiatry at OHSU—using my degree to make mental healthcare accessible to as many youth as possible. My goal is to reach as many youth as I can and show them the joys of community and inclusion.
As a cisgender, femme-presenting, plus size partner of a transgender man, it is so meaningful that all of those pieces of my life are taken into consideration by an organization. It is not just that we are queer, but that all of these aspects of ourselves are acknowledged and supported by Pride Foundation. Knowing that our kids are going to grow up in a world with organizations that do this is transformational for us and tremendous for them.
Pride Foundation helped make my life of queerness less like a scavenger hunt and more like a celebration—the party instead of the hunt for resources, communities, and people like us. Sometimes you realize you have spent your entire life trying to find like-minded people and community, and then suddenly you’re standing on a stage receiving a scholarship for being a queer leader with a bunch of other people who are all fighting the good fight alongside you.
For both of us, our work is tremendously gratifying, and we are lucky to be able to share it with our two children, ages 12 and 15.
Pride Foundation provides opportunities and pathways, but more importantly, it provides hope and facilitates change for the better. Thank you for what you have provided for our little family, and for what you provide for thousands of others.
—Marie & T