Name: Marcus Bethel
Academics: Junior majoring in Psychology, Minoring in Gender Studies
Preferred Pronouns: He/Him/His/They/Their
Gender Identity : Transgender (FTM, Nonbinary)
Sexual Orientation: Asexual/Panromantic
A regular friendly face, Marcus Bethel has been active in the LGBTQ community on campus since he was a freshman. He attributes his success to the loving and inclusive environment at UTD. He grew up in a small town with a graduating class of about 30, meaning that everyone knew everyone. As a queer identified person of color that wasn’t always a pleasant experience for him. He knew he wanted a better and safer environment but didn’t know what it would be like until he saw a PRIDE booth when touring the UTD campus. The open environment of PRIDE helped him come to terms with his gender identity and sexual orientation, as well as made him feel safe and welcome. It was his first time being able to speak with other Transgender people, who answered his questions and helped him come to the decision to come out to his support group as his authentic self. He says, “I was reassured and constantly supported and when different challenges arose I was never alone.”
He then came out to his family, began counseling, and later, hormone replacement therapy. The next step for him, personally, was chest reconstructive surgery. Marcus’s campus support group helped him obtain this surgery by creating an online fundraiser similar to ImpactUTD, eventually raising over $1,800. Many people who know him remark that he is now more confident, happy, and outgoing than he was before transitioning. He works hard to make sure that everyone he meets feels “loved, valued, and valid” because he honestly believes that everyone deserves to know how unique and wonderful they are. He remarks that “Any support you can give to help keep my community and our programming alive will make the world of difference to people like me. I genuinely believe that our university is so inclusive because of programming like Ally Training, Lavender graduation, and scholarships and celebration of awareness and recognition days like National Coming out Day. If you can’t donate please share to people you think might be able to. Every dollar makes a difference. “
Marcus Bethel is truly an outstanding example of a community leader, and someone who has overcome significant personal adversity. He uses his experience to help improve the lives of others, and can often be found surrounded by a bubble of peers who deeply admire him.