Sam Moehlig , Mister San Diego Pride 2022
Sam Moehlig is a San Diego native and a youth leader in the Transgender community. He has learned to overcome not only the challenges of being Trans but also growing up with a disability, Sam was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Sam serves as a Youth Ambassador for TransFamily Support Services in San Diego. Many times, he is the first Trans youth that others talk to when they come out. Sam works with many youths and/or their parents guiding them on the gender journey. His transition is the subject of an Emmy Award winning documentary ‘A Transgender Teen’s Journey: Sam’s Story’. Sam is a gymnastics coach, college student and a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo. Sam is committed to educating folks on acceptance and equality for all.
We had a chance to catch up with Sam, talk Pride and being named Mister San Diego Pride 2022.
San Diego Pride is right around the corner. What does Pride mean to you?
Pride is the event I look forward to most every year, I love walking through the festival and seeing complete strangers saying “Happy Pride and hugging one another and spreading the joy of being their authentic selves.
How do you manage being in the spotlight since a very young age as an advocate for Trans visibility?
I reminded myself that I wasn’t speaking out for myself, I was speaking on behalf of Trans youth who may not have found their voices just yet.
When you are not raising awareness what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy going to the gym, swimming, hiking, reading and spending time with my family.
You are an adult now, what are your plans?
I plan to continue working part-time as a coach at North County Gymnastics and The Gyminny Kids and finish out my degree in kinesiology at Palomar College.
How does it feel to be named this year’s Mister San Diego LGBTQ Pride 2022?
It is humbling to be given such a fantastic opportunity and I intend to take it with great pride.
Any fun plans for the Pride season, what are you looking forward to doing?
Just to live in the moment and spend time with the people I love the most.
Matthew Zheng Quitoriano, San Diego Unified School District Student Trustee
Tell our readers a little about yourself.
I’m Matthew Zheng Quitoriano, a student at San Diego High School. I’m bisexual, Filipino-Chinese, and have lived in San Diego for 12 years. I spend most of my free time fencing, and it’s a huge passion of mine. I’m also very interested in Model United Nations and Academic League, where I can channel my academic passion.
What made you want to run for the student trustee position on the San Diego Unified School District?
I ran because I saw a lot of students, including myself, confused at the reasoning behind some of the decisions made at the district level. I felt that I could help bridge that gap and increase district communication.
What did your parents think when you told them you wanted to run for the position?
My parents were very supportive, and they were very helpful in helping me spread my message across many platforms.
What is the importance of not only student representation in the school district but LGBTQ+ student representation?
I think the most important thing that comes with representation is that people feel comfortable. It’s impossible for one or two students to represent the diverse range of backgrounds that students come from, especially regarding the LGBTQ+, which is why I firmly believe that the school district needs to bolster student representation and involvement in the change-making process. Further regarding LGBTQ students, many students still do not recognize who we are, and having representatives shows that our queerness does not hold us back from achieving great things.
What effect do you want to have on the school district in your position as student trustee?
I hope that by me holding this position I make LGBTQ students feel a little safer at school and feel that they are represented at the table. Beyond that, I think that it’s also incredibly important that students feel that they have a direct channel to the school district board and are empowered to speak up.
I hope the school district realizes that students are mature enough, strong enough, smart enough, and educated enough to be respected like any other person. Students deserve a voice, and the school district should respect that and foster it.
Are politics something you aspirer to take on as an adult?
I think that there’s a lot I can do in this world to make it better. Politics might be one pathway to that, but there are many others. I want to stay focused on the goal here at hand – making students have the best school experience possible.
How important is it for other individuals your age to get involved by volunteering or joining organizations that have a say in shaping their futures?
We are the future. It’s incredibly important that other young people get themselves involved because we have the biggest stake in our future. We have new ideas, the innovativeness, and the passion needed at the discussion table.
June was Pride month, and July is San Diego Pride. What does Pride mean to you?
Pride means a lot to me because it’s really touching to see so many great people showing who they are. It’s a celebration of how far we’ve come, but also a signal of how much further we must go.