5 questions with questions Betsy Lewis
Elizabeth (Betsy) Lewis is the newly elected co-president of SPECTRUM, a GLBTQA organization at Southern Methodist University. She is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and math and will graduate from the university in May. A native of McAllen, she moved to Dallas to attend college. At SMU, she is also a member of the marching band and plays a tenor saxophone. Aside from SPECTRUM, she is involved with JEWEL, an organization affiliated with the Resource Center of Dallas. One day she hopes to design roller coasters or work for Disney.
What is SPECTRUM?
Spectrum is SMU’s GLBTQA organization. It is part of the Women’s Center and people who identify as GLBTQ or as an ally can get together to socialize and get involved with LGBT issues. We host events to bring awareness, such as National Coming Out Day and National Day of Silence, as well as forums to discuss the impact of AIDS, religion and politics on LGBT people. It is also just a safe place to go make friends and hang out.
What do you hope to accomplish in your role as co-president of SPECTRUM?
Organization! SPECTRUM has been a little disorganized in the past, and now that we have more members, it is necessary to make sure future officers will have the tools they need to continue to grow. I also would like to increase the involvement SPECTRUM members have with the Dallas community and other LGBT organizations.
What are some of SPECTRUM’s upcoming events?
Spectrum is co-hosting a Breaking the Silence event with the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network on April 17 for National Coming Out Day. We also have a "RENT" sing-a-long for AIDS awareness and discussion coming up April 22.
Can you tell me about JEWEL?
JEWEL stands for Joining & Educating Women Empowering Leaders. According to the Web site, "It is a women’s group dedicated to empowering women within their community, through programs, educational and social opportunities. JEWEL focuses on increasing the well-being of all women, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity." It is run out of the Resource Center and has events every month.
What advice do you have for a young person who is coming out?
I would tell them it is a continuous process; you will never be out to everyone and you don’t need to be. Tell the people you trust the most first and work from there. It gets easier the more comfortable you are with yourself.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 20, 2009.