Senior Kyle Serrott is the only male undergraduate student working in the Women’s Center.
When senior Kyle Serrott talks about his grandmother, Ronnie Serrott, his face lights up.
Ronnie raised Kyle because neither of his biological parents were fit for the task. She inspired him to not only attend college, but to study gender equality.
As he works on his bachelor of specialized studies with a specialization in law, race and gender, he can also be found in the Women’s Center in Baker Center, as the only undergraduate male student worker. But this fact isn’t a big deal to him — he proudly identifies as a feminist.
“I’ve always taken an interest in people,” he said. “My grandma was very independent and raised me my whole life. She taught me I should respect women and care about everybody. To me, feminism is caring about everybody.”
There’s a stigma associated with male feminists, said Patty Stokes, an assistant professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies who had Serrott in class for feminist theory.
“Men that have involvement in feminism understand that it’s not their place to be the big leader, but to share the spotlight with women and not crowd out women’s voices,” Stokes said. “Kyle most certainly falls into that category.”
Serrott senior capstone research project focuses largely on these gender issues and specifically on the construct of masculinity in homosexual men.
Serrott also works with the LGBT mentorship program, a program new this year that helps LGBT students navigate the campus and come to terms with their sexuality.
“Coming out was scary,” he said. “For anyone who identifies as LGBT, those are the hardest words you’ll ever have to say. They get easier every time you say them, but you never know how people are going to react.”
One of the first people that he opened up to about his sexuality was his best friend of 10 years. After the friend committed suicide in the same summer that Serrott came out to his family, Serrott said he really began to come to terms with himself as a person.
“That was my first experience with death,” Serrott said. “We went on family vacations together so it was hard for my whole family. I still have times where I grieve from that.”
Four years later, Serrott’s motto is “just keep livin,’” which he got tattooed on his foot after the friend died.
“I use that motto a lot,” Serrott said with a smile. “Sometimes it sounds cheesy, but it reminds me to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.”
Last Spring Semester, Serrott worked 39 hours a week between three jobs, all while being a full-time student. With his grandmother retired and living on a fixed income, Serrott’s multiple jobs are necessary to get him to law school, he said.
Olayemi Olurin, a senior and close friend to Serrott, said he is a hard worker in the classroom and professionally.
“He always has a mountain of new books in his backpack that he’s reading or some event he’s attending,” Olurin said. “He’s very active with race issues and is very self-aware. He didn’t fill out his race on the LSAT because he didn’t want to be privileged for being white.”
When Serrott isn’t working or studying, he’s working with the Students for Law, Justice and Culture organization, or taking his rescue dog Jackson (named after his favorite bar, Jackie O’s) to the park.
Serrott hopes law school will land him in a career where he can tackle civil and human rights or work for a nonprofit.
“(Feminism is about) believing that everybody should be treated like a person,” Serrott said. “I think men need to take more interest in respecting women and all gender issues.”