Celebrating Educators
During June, in honor of Pride Month, we are featuring stories from VIPKid educators who are part of the LGBTQIA+ Community. We thank them for sharing their authentic stories with us. If you are part of the LGBTQIA+ community and would like to connect with other teachers in the community, check out the VIPKid LGBTQ+ Teachers group on Facebook. ​​​​​​​
Meet Jessie GU!

As a self-identified shy extrovert, Jessie’s drive and passion for improving student outcomes has been a bright light in his community. Jessie grew up in a traditional Hispanic family, and learned to avoid discussing his sexual orientation. After he became the first in his family to graduate high school and attend college, he began to uncover more about his identity during his diversity training as a Resident Advisor. Jessie became the first in his family to graduate from university. He received his teaching credential from Cal State San Marcos, and realized that he was going to change student lives after he connected with foster students during his student teaching, and empowered his students as they achieved new goals and reached new heights. Jessie has been in education for 15 years serving as a classroom elementary teacher, assistant principal, and principal. Outside of changing student lives, Jessie loves to travel, try new foods, breweries, and discover more about his city! 

What is one perspective you would like to share with others?

Jessie had always dreamed about becoming an elementary school teacher as a child. After achieving his dream, he took a risk to become a Principal and leave his hometown in Southern California. The experience transformed Jessie, and now he is serving as a Vice Principal in San Diego. Jessie shares, “If there is something that you feel passionate about and it burns in your heart, then it is worth the risk. It took me a long time to accept myself. It was not until I began to do what was right for me professionally and personally that I became aligned with who I was.” ​​​​​​​
Meet Justin VWB!

Justin’s resilience and strength to overcome life’s obstacles is inspiring. After both his parents became sick and passed away when he was a young teenager, Justin had to navigate young adulthood on his own. He persevered and graduated from the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg with a 3.9 GPA, Magna Summa Cum Laude, and was able to pursue his love of both travel and education teaching with VIPKid. In addition to education, Justin is passionate about the arts. He loves to learn new art skills. During the pandemic, Justin learned how to publish books! He created his own Pride themed coloring book, which he sold on Amazon. Justin also loves to travel, and has made lifelong friends across the globe, and loves to help others.

How do you celebrate your Pride? 

Justin shares the strength and connection he has found in his LGBTQ+ community.  He shares, “Friends and those you pick to spend time with (your chosen family) are really important for LGBTQ+ community. Many LGBTQ+ community members may come from a dark background or may have been rejected by their families. I am really grateful for my friends who have helped me through. For us in the LGBTQ+ community, we treat each other as family, because we know how hard it is and how much we’ve all gone through.” Justin shares how when he travels, he often participates in Pride events across the world, and always connects with LGBTQ+ communities globally. Meeting others who share the same struggles no matter where you come from, has allowed Justin to form loving relationships across cultures and geographies. ​​​​​​​
Meet Rebecca WYO!

Rebecca’s radiant energy, loving personality, and her identity as intersex has allowed her to be a passionate advocate for intersex rights. Rebecca graduated from the University of Missouri and moved into a career in marketing, soon transitioning to fundraising, which led her to activism. She is an educator, grant-writer, and serves as president of the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group. A highlight of her career is working with a nonprofit which helped MTV create an intersex character for the MTV show “Faking It.” Rebecca is a mother to three wonderful children, and in her free time she loves to run, knit, and bake all kinds of delicious breads! 

What sparked your passion for activism? 

Rebecca was told that she would never meet another person who was intersex, despite the fact 1.7% of all people are intersex. This is the same frequency as the birth of identical twins. Growing up, Rebecca remembers how there wasn’t intersex represesentation in news programs, the media, or in public spheres. Today, gatherings have grown to hundreds of people and she is in daily contact with thousands of intersex people online. Learning about other families and their experiences empowered Rebecca to share her own story and become a fierce advocate for intersex rights. In 2002, she became president of the largest intersex support group in the world at the time. She shares, “We are just another way to be born.  We have to make sure that we let all of these kids know that they are valid; all of these experiences are valid.”
Meet Sam M!

Sam’s passion and love of the arts, as well as inspiration from her mom as a former teacher, paved her pathway for education in the arts. After graduating from Scripps College, Sam pursued a post-baccalaureate in the arts, and quickly delved into learning about different forms. She is a skilled potter, and served as president of an arts non-profit. She met her wife through art. Together they worked collaboratively on creating beautiful ceramic pieces, until her wife passed away from cancer two years ago. Sam and her wife were fierce advocates for marriage equality, and were married on the first day it was legal in Washington State. Sam’s strong spirit and love is evident through her support and care for her students. Currently, she and her mom grow a lot of their own food, and even have a pet turkey named Sweetie Pie who is 10 years old!

What was it like to be one of the first couples to get married in Washington State?

After advocating for marriage equality together with her wife, Sam and her wife were one of the first couples to receive their marriage license in their county! She shares, “We wanted to get married on the first day it was legal. We then pulled together a wedding in less than a month. It was really beautiful how our friends and our community came together to help and support us.” Sam and her wife were married at a unique venue, their friend’s coffee shop! Friends catered the wedding, took photos, and a local bakery donated a big cake for the reception. They announced their reception in the local newspaper, and welcomed everyone. One mother brought along her teenage daughter because she wanted her to witness the historic event. The Wall Street Journal came and took photos, which are still on the website today! ​​​​​​​
Meet Violette S!

Creative, compassionate, and clever, Violette has used her talents and passions to experience life to the fullest. Violette is a performance artist, who dances and does fire performance! Prior to the pandemic, she owned her own booking agency and worked on planning events from galas to corporate parties. Violette performed at the Gay Games, the LGBTQ+ Olympics, in front of thousands of people in 2014. Currently, Violette is pursuing her degree in nursing, and has been inspired by her wife who is also a nurse. She also has a master’s degree in French! Violette and her wife have expanded their family, and welcomed their daughter, Lavender, very recently. After her wife had their baby 10 weeks early, and a long stay at the NICU, Violette is excited to have her family home. She and her wife also enjoy hiking and camping adventures! 

What are you passionate about?

Violette shares, “I think social justice is the #1 most important thing. I believe that it is possible for us to have a kind and just society where everybody feels safe and healthy and can achieve their highest. Solving social problems is really hard but it is possible!” Violette continues to practice her beliefs in her life. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Environmental Studies. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer where she worked with community health organizations to help better living conditions for others. Violette is passionate about the environment, and she and her wife are both vegans. Violette strives to live her life authentically and kindly, and is a loving and strong advocate for all. ​​​​​​​