Humans of UNT: Juliana Chesser

Tell us about yourself and your journey

“Hi my name is Juliana Chesser (She/Her), I started getting my masters in counseling in 2020, and I started the RISE center that same year as well. At the time I wasn’t able to participate in the RISE pride group because of scheduling, but I took over in 2021. I wanted to facilitate a pride group on campus, and being able to do this has been the best part of my job. It’s been really fulfilling and satisfying. My journey is still ongoing.”

What has your pride experience been like at UNT?

“It was the first school I felt like I could be open about my sexuality without fear of being discriminated against. It has been refreshing to be a student at UNT, where I feel represented in the student body & listened to as an advocate. I feel appreciative that there is a strong community base on campus.”

What does the UNT RISE Pride Group mean to you? 

“The PRIDE Group is an hour in each week that I get to be myself, witness others exploring being open with their truths, and feel refreshed & supported to continue through the challenges of the day or week.”

How have you seen the Pride Group change LGBTQ+ students’ lives?

“For the students who attend only to observe or test out what it is like for them to be in the PRIDE Group space without verbally engaging, I am grateful for those instances because it offers a chance for me to connect with them individually after the group to check in with how they are doing or what might have brought them to a place looking for support.”

What do you hope students gain from the Pride group?

“Knowledge of resources, not only at UNT but in the greater DFW community, and how to access them.”

What is the best part about running the Pride Group?

“This is the most encouraging group I have had the pleasure to witness grow over time in support of one another.”

When did you realize the impact and importance of the pride group?

“I realize the impact and importance each week. Members of the LGBQTIA+ community need spaces like this to process experiences and gain support from the community.”