Brian Gialketsis SERQueer Scholarship Year in Review 2020

Brian Gialketsis SERQueer Scholarship Year in Review 2020

We could not have planned a more successful first iteration of the Brian Gialketsis SERQueer Scholarship! This year’s scholarship consisted of two rounds, with a theme of celebrating queer identities and queer joy. We received so many wonderful stories of resilience, love, and radiance, across many majors and colleges within UC Berkeley. Our open submission process allowed for a wide breadth of mixed media submissions, highlighting the creativity and artistry of our UCB eco-community. Our finalist round received: a photo collage, a poem, three videos, one photography print, and one architecture model!

Congratulations to our five SERQueer award recipients, who were awarded $1,000 each:

Fiona Kaech

David Sanchez

Navid Goodarzi

Nathalie Canate

           Anonymous (Recipient #5)

Under the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, this scholarship and Brian’s memory was a guiding light for the TGIF Team, and we remain inspired and excited for future iterations of the scholarship to come.


-The TGIF Team

Our 2020 Prompt:

In his 2016 paper, Cyborgs and Socialist Feminism in the Environmental Justice Movement, Brian writes, “I call for a cyborg heteroglossia* in environmental justice:…”. What does a cyborg heteroglossia in environmental justice mean to you?

Note*: Dictionary.com’s definition of heteroglossia as: “the presence of two or more voices or expressed viewpoints in a text or other artistic work.”  Brian uses the cyborg as a metaphor for one who transcends traditional boundaries of identity, as a new form of life who blurs these borders.

Please check out some amazing responses we received to this prompt below!

Like the natural world around us, a cyborg heteroglossia holds no labels, no boxes. It leaves no space for differences to separate us. Instead, it allows those same differences to unite us, it helps us work as a symbiotic system.

To me, this is an example of the need of employing a cyborg heteroglossia in LGBTQ+ allyship to more deeply understand a person. My grandpa may have lacked the vocabulary to express his awe and appreciation of glamour and splendor in a world that religiously confines and regiments it…Today, I heed my abuelo’s, and perhaps Brian’s call to listen to others, and to honor the flame of awe and splendor that lives within.

 Any observer of a collage will find a different meaning based on their experiences, just as a cyborg lens can apply to the experience of anyone. By transcending institutional restrictions of class, race, and gender, the cyborg heteroglossia has no identity, yet finds its definition in this very truth…In a collage, the original contexts of each component are rejected and reimagined in the definition of the whole, and are redefined by their interpretation. This interpretation is subjective, but takes on objective nature as it is placed in subjective imagination; the collage is how it is imagined.

Every new acquaintance, every new situation demands a repetition of “Coming out.” The closet becomes a lens into the life of the person…What appears to be a leftover space can become a new closet, a new spatial experience of the closet connected to the room…To imagine the closet as a procession, as a journey towards understanding the self.

As environmentalists, it is crucial to never look down on others lacking formal education or institutional knowledge, but have stories and experiences instead.  On the contrary, academic elites that define environmental concepts should very much be grounded in the communities in which their vocabularies attempt to define. To me, this is an example of the need of employing a cyborg heteroglossia in LGBTQ+ allyship to more deeply understand a person. My grandpa may have lacked the vocabulary to express his awe and appreciation of glamour and splendor in a world that religiously confines and regiments it.

The closet becomes a lens into the life of the person. What would it look like to see through the closet and the items that are stored in the closet? To have the items, clothes, hangers, brooms, HVAC ductwork function as a filtration system or facade into the main living space. To exist in a place where queer people will not need to hide from fear of harassment.

Any observer of a collage will find a different meaning based on their experiences, just as a cyborg lens can apply to the experience of anyone. By transcending institutional restrictions of class, race, and gender, the cyborg heteroglossia has no identity, yet finds its definition in this very truth.

2020 Review Committee

Anna Whitney, Aaron Smyth, Jed Lee, Josh Kay, Kathleen McCully, Kira Stoll, Ramona Naddaff, Samantha Lubow, Sharon Daraphonhdeth, Tess Gauthier, Jessica McGinley, Elizabeth Reyes, Teresa Yu