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I am gay latino. Should I mention it in my SoP?


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I am applying to several programs in international development, nonprofit management and public administration. I want to study further the relationship between gender and tenvironmental issues. Given my personal background (I`m from Mexico and live in the border with the US), I know that it might make sense to mention it but I´m not sure if it will help my application. On the one hand, it might give me an "edge" and I`ll be able to identified easier by the admissions commitee, but on the other hand it might sound desperate and unnecessary. What do you think? Thanks for your opinions.

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 On the one hand, it might give me an "edge" and I`ll be able to identified easier by the admissions commitee, but on the other hand it might sound desperate and unnecessary. What do you think? Thanks for your opinions.

 

I guess I don't understand how you think being gay would give you an "edge." I think that if you strongly feel that your background is what informs the kind of work that you would like to pursue, then include it. But if you feel like you are just adding information that doesn't fit well with the story that you are trying to tell about yourself, then don't. It's just like anything else... if you were an artist, an athlete, etc... what ever you feel defines you. Always include the parts of your story that really support why you are qualified to attend the program.

 

However, if your really want to lay a claim for diversity, there are often spaces uniquely dedicated to this on your app.

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If your identity has driven you to do specific study in related matters, then there is no harm in mentioning that. Remember though: these programs are looking at you as a STUDENT, not just as a person (however interesting your story might be.) Best of luck, really.

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I don't know about the international development side of things, but I do know about the nonprofit and public admin side. And yes, in those areas, being a gay latino would help you, because these are minority groups currently underrepresented in a field dedicated to the service of a diverse population. Also, there are funding opportunities that your minority status makes you eligible for. Coming with this kind of funding (or being able to apply for it later on) might give you a slight boost.

 

This might not necessarily belong in your SoP, though. You can mark off your ethnicity elsewhere on the application. If you're applying for a scholarship aimed at LGBT people, there would be a section to include this also. I know one friend waited until her interview and made sure to ask about queer life on campus-- she had done her research, and knew it would behoove her to mention that she was queer (in a subtle way). 

 

If it's directly relevant to your motivations for applying, though, by all means include it in your SoP. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is a way of mentioning something without making yourself sound desperate. I am taking an international development course and we have been discussing how important it is for individuals working in the field to have an anti-colonialist perspective. I think your heritage and your orientation as a gay man definately helps you identify with people who have been oppressed. If you are going to mention it, do so in a way that shows that they are not just lables rather they reflect your experience. Show how your identity will allow you do perform better specifically with the issues that you are interested in. I agree with the person that mentioned that identifying yourself as a minority is important in a grad application becuase of the underrepresentation of minorties in your field.

Edited by Nea
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I think state it, if it relates to your studies. Since you're going to be linking gender and environmental issues it might be worth making the connection but only if you truly feel like it fits otherwise I would state it in the personal statement and prove your theories and research in your statement of purpose. good luck.

 

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