New Pride Center Manager opens up about struggles

Nicholas Franco discusses growing up among animosity as a LGBT youth

By Rosie Perry, Staff Writer

As a queer, feminist and multiracial man, Nicholas Franco said he has had to overcome many challenges in his life.

“My experiences with discrimination and bullying have helped me become a deeply empathetic person, not only toward marginalized communities but also toward those who attempt to attack, negate and/or erase my queer identity,” Franco said.

Franco is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Leadership Studies at the University of San Diego. As someone who identifies as multiracial, Franco said his dissertation research explores the minority resource eligibility of college students with one white parent and one parent of color.

Franco, 30, is set to defend his dissertation in April. He has worked as the Pride Center manager for about three months and said he has been enjoying the experience.

From an early age, Franco could tell he was unlike some of the other children. “I knew in preschool that I was different, but I didn’t know what it was,” he said.

Franco attended a Roman Catholic school from first to 12th grade. He said he is very thankful for the education he received from his school but he had a very difficult time in high school.

Franco was never physically harmed; however, he encountered a lot of bullying during his younger years. “I felt like it was nonstop,” Franco said.

The bullying was so severe in elementary school he remembers coming home crying on a regular basis.

This time in Franco’s life was made even more challenging due to the fact that he was at a Catholic school. “People were treating me different because I was different than other boys, and I’m learning from Catholicism that, basically, gay is not OK,” Franco said.

At age 16, Franco came out as gay, but as he explored his own identity and became his own person, he realized that was not who he was.
After high school, Franco said he was excited to begin his adventure at California State University, Sacramento. There were thousands of people at his school and it was much easier for him to get lost in the crowd.

Franco said he enjoyed his time in undergrad because he could be who he was without the fears he had in high school.

At age 21, Franco came out as queer, but it was not until his later twenties when he completely understood who he was.

Franco said he believes life does get better. “One of the things that I learned is that it is going to take time, or it may take a long time,” he said. “It’s OK if you don’t know yourself, and it’s OK if you feel like you don’t get it.”