Second Year GSBA Scholar Dawson Dang (he/they) grew up in Longview, WA, and is now living in Seattle where they attend the University of Washington and will soon graduate with his Bachelor's of Science degree in nursing. A recipient of the Kenny Olson & John Reed Scholarship, Dawson was recently accepted to University of Washington's graduate nursing program and will soon begin pursuing their Doctorate of Nursing Practice, focusing in Nurse Midwifery. After graduating, Dawson hopes to become a family nurse practitioner/midwife and open a clinic that directly serves LGBTQ+ patients wishing to start families. As someone passionate about reproductive justice and LGBTQ+ healthcare, we caught up with Dawson before their graduation and asked them where this passion began and what drives them in this work.
GSBA: How did you become involved with reproductive justice?
Dawson: I first became aware and interested in reproductive justice when I was 16 and in high school. This was around the time that I had started coming out. I started researching and educating myself on the issues that queer and transgender people go through while experiencing sexual and reproductive health. This stemmed from my interest as a QTBIPOC person in becoming a parent one day!
GSBA: Why is reproductive justice important to you? What drives you to do this work/research?
Dawson: I'm currently a part of a majority queer and transgender research team at the University of Washington in Seattle. We are researching and collecting the experiences of queer and transgender people going though pregnancy and their family building experiences. This encompasses all parts of pregnancy and all intersections of LGBTQ+ community members. My drive to participate in this work comes from my desire to work as a Nurse Midwife, and helping the QTBIPOC communities throughout their sexual and reproductive processes. I want to create a space where queerness is celebrated, and our needs, stories, and strengths are centered. As a member of the QTBIPOC community, a goal that's very close to my heart is to become a parent one day. As a Nurse Midwife, I hope to help others within the community along their sexual and reproductive healthcare journeys to their desired destinations.
GSBA: How long have you been involved in reproductive justice and in what ways?
Dawson: Formally, I've been involved in reproductive justice work since September of 2021, working as a member of the research team throughout the Birth Includes Us study. I've been studying to be a nurse since September of 2018 in hopes to work directly with community members in the clinical setting regarding their sexual and reproductive health. I have been educating myself on the issues members of the QTBIPOC community face in regards to their sexual and reproductive health since 2016.
African American, Indigenous, Latinx, and other communities of color along with LGBTQ+ communities, have long face discrimination within reproductive healthcare leading to poor health outcomes. Risk for poor health outcomes compounds when looking at members of these communities with intersecting identities. As an aspiring Nurse Midwife, I hope to help heal generations of trauma and combat these poor health outcomes for members of the QTBIPOC community. I hope to collaborate with my communities in order to create sustainable change for us in the present and for future generations.
You'll get to meet Dawson and celebrate their graduation along with their fellow GSBA Scholars during the GSBA Scholars Celebration on Saturday, May 14.
The GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund is the oldest and one of the largest LGBTQ+ scholarship programs in the country. Since its founding in 1990, the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund has invested over $5 million in LGBTQ+ students who exemplify leadership potential, strong academic ability, and community involvement and dedication. The scholarship program works to empower students with marginalized intersectional identities within the LGBTQ+ community and provides not only financial support for LGBTQ+ students, but a network of support, skills-based workshops, and leadership training. Learn more and support our scholars.