Volunteer Spotlight: Dane Schnittman
Join us for our new series, where we introduce and showcase the efforts of our volunteers!
Dane Schnittman is a front-desk volunteer and an occasional writer for the blog. Thanks for everything you do!
Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Pronouns: (he/him/his) br>
I’m a queer trans non-binary boy going on 30. I grew up in the suburbs of New York City, 30 miles east of Manhattan, and I have been living in Oakland for almost 6.5 years. I’m a grad student working on my masters in counseling psychology, hoping to work with the LGBTQ community, particularly with trans youth. I am passionate about accessible and affordable mental health care for marginalized communities. I also work on research studies investigating kink identity, sexuality, and sensation seeking. I like to aggressively and gently cuddle puppies and dogs, doing crossword puzzles, podcasts, memes, all varieties of pop music, and walking around the Bay Area listening to music and pretending like my life is a music video.
Can you tell us about your involvement with Pacific Center? How did you get started?
I have been volunteering with the Pacific Center since November 2014. My interest was sparked when I decided that I wanted to feel more connected to the local East Bay LGBTQ community, and especially with regards to community mental health care. I like engaging with and giving back to my community and the Pacific Center seemed to be a perfect fit. I have very much enjoyed getting to know those who work and other volunteers at the Pacific Center. It’s a warm and welcoming space that come to be a place of comfort and ease, especially with respect to my own transition.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area?
I generally like anything that errs on the side of weird, queer, and campy, especially in the realm of performing arts, TV shows, and movies. I did stand-up comedy twice at an open mic and it sparked the idea of being able to heal through performance. Right now my favorite thing to do in the Bay Area is going to events hosted by Peaches Christ. I also like low-key hang outs.
What LGBTQ, or social justice issues more broadly, are most important to you? Why?
Accessible and affordable (mental) health care for LGBTQ individuals is especially near and dear to me. LGBTQ folks are often underserved with less access to competent (mental) health care. Intersectionality is important and I’m really into the idea of dismantling the patriarchy and the white supremacy, racism, misogyny, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, classism, toxic masculinity, and xenophobia that comes with it.
Who inspires you? Why?
My mom has been a big source of inspiration for me lately. Her patience and deep ability to want to better understand me has been an amazing growth to witness. She really tries to be the best mom that I need her to be for me and she is succeeding. I feel lucky to have someone like her on my side, someone who goes out of her way to make me feel seen.
Thank you for sharing, Dane! Best wishes for grad school and all of your other endeavors!
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