DIS Alumni Feature

Peter Shapiro Queer Berlin (69)Name: Peter Shapiro
Home University: Dickinson College
Academic Program: Sociology
Semester at DIS: Spring 2013
Involvement: Diversity Committee member, Diversity Vlogger

I’m working for ImFromDriftwood.com for the second summer in a row. IFD is a LGBTQ story collective– we share stories submitted by LGBTQ people from across the world in order to help connect the community more. I did a video story for IFD during my senior year of high school and managed to stay in touch with its founder, Nathan. We started speaking last year about bringing me on board to help out with event planning, social media, research, and fundraising. This summer, I was able to bring the perspective and knowledge I acquired from my Gender and Sexuality in Scandinavia class to New York, which has helped re-energize me to do the work that needs to be done to get America on par with Scandinavia’s commonsense LGBTQ rights.
Peter_ColleaguesStudying abroad in Copenhagen helped me get a fantastic feel for LGBTQ life all over Europe, not just in Copenhagen and not just in the classroom. Class trips to Stockholm, Istanbul, and Berlin allowed me to compare four distinct countries, their policies, and practices. This is something I can technically do by reading at home, but it was that much more meaningful and helpful to experience it firsthand, walking around and interviewing locals.

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Speaking with LGBTQ people from other countries has helped me better understand and relate to the issues they face at home. Posting articles for I’m From Driftwood’s Facebook “likers” and Twitter followers to peruse every day has tapped into this global mindset I acquired while abroad– it’s a small world and we should be more connected with members of our community in other countries.

For the future, I’m really interested in LGBTQ activism– but because I’m an American Studies major and a Film minor, I will have an enormous amount of flexibility after I graduate next spring. At the moment, I’m really interested in DIS’ internship program for the period immediately after I graduate. Eventually, I would like to go to graduate school, but not until I’m sure what I want to go for. Public policy and gender and sexuality studies interest me as they would both allow me to continue IFD’s mission of coalition building in the LGBTQ community.

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