delfin bautista has been the director of Ohio University’s LGBT Center since 2013. As many may know, delfin was . The LGBT Center is now without a permanent director, the Latinx Student Union is without an advisor and many go without faith of our administration at Ohio University.
How do we trust our own university to protect and care for us?
What many may not know is how generous delfin (who uses they/them pronouns and the lowercase spelling of their name) has been with their time, energy and love to not only this campus, but to all of the Athens community. Perhaps a list with all the roles delfin played on and off campus would be easier to show all they have done for our community. From director of the LGBT Center to advisor to working on the planning committee for Walk A Mile Together, delfin has managed to be an influential and useful member of several diverse groups on campus.
They were also a part of many important changes on campus, such as the preferred name policy and . They spent energy trying to network our LGBT Center with other centers around the country through events such as the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Asexual College Conference (MBLGTACC), a convention for Midwestern queer college students.
From helping transgender students change their name and be able to afford their medications while at school to frequently visiting our regional campuses because the only queer resources available for these students are in Athens, their energy and care for Ohio University was unrivaled.
delfin showed true solidarity to other queers and people of color in Athens. Our center was constantly holding and co-sponsoring events with other organizations on campus. They helped out international students and Athens residents by providing financial, legal, mental health and personal assistance to those in need. delfin’s support and love for our community transcended the typical duties of an LGBT Center director.
delfin has also gave this school something that cannot be measured. delfin made you feel like you were protected and a part of a community, that someone was there for you and going to help you until things were OK, and then would check in later to see how you are. Their motives were to make sure that everyone in this community had a space to feel safe and be themselves. delfin offered hope and love in a space that for many feels bankrupt of such. For many people, losing delfin means losing a mentor, an ally, a support team, a role model and a friend.
I spent my Monday in the LGBT Center. There was a constant flow of students, Athens residents and Ohio University staff offering their support and grieving our loss together. Every person who came in had a different story of love and kindness to share about delfin: why they meant so much to them, how they helped them, how they would not even be here without delfin. Some people said delfin supported them during suicidal challenges or that delfin offered them services that no one else on this campus had provided.
delfin is a beloved member and an immeasurable asset to this community. The amount of effort delfin gave every single person, every single day is unparalleled. delfin is a genuine person made up of strength, forgiveness, patience, understanding, kindness and love. I cannot change the actions of Ohio University.
Despite delfin’s dismissal, the LGBT Center will continue to serve as a resource for those who need it and make sure queer voices aren’t silenced throughout this administrative decision.
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Destiniee Jaram is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University and is the Query a Queer writer for Ohio University’s LGBT Center.
Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated that an after school program was affected by bautista’s dismissal. The story has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.