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Take 10 with a Triton: Korie Houston on Pride, Perfectionism and Rollerskates

Korie Houston

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Name: Korie Houston

Pronouns: he/him/his

Position: Programs and Operations Coordinator at the LGBT Resource Center

Years at UC San Diego: Four years; Houston started his role at the LGBT Resource Center when he was just 23 years old. The position was his first full-time job, as he joined the center  after graduating from California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), where he studied visual arts and technology and focused on digital media creation. Having worked at CSUSM’s LGBTQIA+ Pride Center and Gender Equity Center as a peer educator, Houston experienced LGBT resource centers as a student. Now, he’s grateful to be working on the other side. 

What he does at UC San Diego: As the LGBT Resource Center’s programs and operations coordinator, Houston is responsible for much of the center’s day-to-day operations. He opens the center each day, checks in with the student interns he works with and creates their schedules. While it wasn’t originally his focus, he says he also spends much of his time planning large-scale events on campus. 

“A lot of the students who use the center want more queer visibility on campus,” Houston explained. “I really want to use my position to help give our queer students the opportunity to be seen and heard for who they are.” 

Every year, Houston organizes the UC San Diego community into a contingent that marches in the San Diego Pride Parade. This year, the parade takes place on July 15. He also organizes the annual Rainbow Graduation Ceremony, which honors graduating LGBTQ+ students and took place this year on June 10.  

As for bigger gatherings, Houston was also responsible for one of the 2022-2023 academic year’s most popular events: Out at the Amphitheater, a Halloween-themed drag show at the Epstein Family Amphitheater that was attended by 1,500 students in October 2022. He also supported the creation of the Scream Queens: Halfway to Halloween drag show and brought Michaela Jaé Rodriguez of Pose and supported APIMEDA Programs and Services in bringing Kim Chi of RuPaul’s Drag Race to the campus community.

“UC San Diego took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to grow and create new experiences for students who might feel underrepresented. It’s not often that people go to work somewhere that they can just come as they are and not feel like they always have to perform.”
Korie Houston
Korie Houston

Best advice received: When Houston first started working at the center, he met with his boss, center Director Shaun Travers, so they could get to know each other and learn about how they could work together. Even though it’s nearly four years later, Houston still remembers one thing that Travers said. 

“He told me that perfect is the enemy of great. It’s okay to be great or even to be good sometimes—we can’t be perfect and shouldn’t hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations.” 

Houston carries that into his work today. While he and many of the students he advises still struggle to believe that it’s okay to not be perfect, they’re slowly learning how to make themselves happy and continue to show up even after setbacks.

Something unique in your workspace: Unfortunately, Houston’s favorite thing in his office recently broke. In 2020, Houston bought a vanity mirror to use at the event “A night with MJ Rodriguez,” who signed the mirror. Then, whenever the center brought someone notable  to campus, they signed the frame. While the frame—and the signatures—are still intact, the mirror is shattered. 

“It’s like it’s frozen in time,” he said sadly, noting that he’s kept the broken pieces. “Even though I can’t add to it anymore, the mirror is something that’s really commemorated my time here.”

Favorite spot on campus: Houston found his favorite spot on campus before joining the UC San Diego community. While completing  his undergraduate degree at CSUSM, he took an art history course focused on curation. The class took a field trip to visit the Stuart Collection, and Houston was immediately intrigued by the way the Snake Path slithers up the hill toward Geisel Library, looping circuitously around the intimate Garden of Eden. To this day, he still enjoys the Snake Path, as it makes him reminisce fondly about his own college experience. 

Korie Houston

Something most people don't know about him: “I can’t decide what to share, so I’ll let you choose,” Houston admitted with a laugh. “First, my one and only tattoo is based on the anime Sailor Moon. Second, I write for a local queer newspaper outside of UC San Diego.”

His column, titled Houston, We Have a Problem, is “basically a rant about his dating life” and is published in the LGBTQ San Diego County News. Though he’s written for the paper since 2019, the content has changed as he’s grown. 

“It’s kind of a funny story how I started writing the column,” Houston said. He shared that, during college, he met the editor of San Diego’s Rage Monthly Magazine at a queer media day thrown by CSUSM’s LGBTQIA+ Pride Center. “After about six months of asking and asking him for an internship, he gave me an internship. Two years later, the magazine’s art director reached out to me; he was becoming the editor of a new newspaper and wanted to include a younger perspective.”

If he had one day to do anything he wanted: “I really love rollerskating,” Houston said with a laugh. “I’d spend a day coming up with dances I can do on rollerskates—I feel like that would be really fun, but I don’t usually have as much time to do that as I’d like to.”

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