Transgender activist, actress and author discusses intersectionality for BSU’s Speaker Series

Amiyah Scott, Zyannah Greaux, and Ashley Perez | Kaysea Suzana, PantherNOW

Kaysea Suzana | Staff Writer

Black Student Union celebrated Black History Month by exploring intersectionality in race and gender with transgender actress Amiyah Scott for its annual Speaker Series on Feb. 13.  

Elegantly dressed and cheered on by the audience, Scott attended the night in celebration of black pride and queer identity.

With Scott ascending to the stage, senior moderator, and director of signature event Zyannah Greaux sat alongside her, while senior speaker, host, and director of programming Ashley Perez kicked off the event celebrating the African diaspora.

The event started with Greaux introducing Scott’s background and issues growing up as both a black and trans teen, including her experience with bullying.

“Amiyah is resilient. I’ve been through a lot. I’m human. I’m alive – I’m a great person and I try to be. I’m an inspiration and I’m grateful to be one,” Scott said during the Q&A session.

Next, Greaux initiated the “fire round,” in which Scott was pressured to choose between NY or LA, Rhianna or Beyonce, and coffee or energy drinks in under sixty seconds.

Lastly, the audience Q&A began, with fans taking the chance to ask their idol a series of personal questions.

One student asked Scott how to reconcile with one’s struggles with queer identity and self actualization. 

“It’s a lot easier said than done, but you must celebrate your life rather than beating yourself up about it,” Scott explained.

At the end, students lined up by the stage to personally meet and even take pictures with Scott. 

Audience members line up to take a photo with Amiyah Scott after the event | Kaysea Suzana, PantherNOW

Students lauded Scott for her honesty, humility, and ability to create a comfortable atmosphere.

“Honestly, the transparency. There was no sugarcoating,” said Sophomore Jar’deja Key in an interview with PantherNOW. “There was the advice and real presence of Amiyah Scott.”

PantherNOW also asked students if they felt that FIU does a good job representing Black History Month. 

“I feel that it’s better at FIU than my high school,” Sophomore Tyler Banks responded. “That’s not to say that [FIU] does an excellent job – I think there’s a lot more to be done to represent the black population.”

The majority of the crowd chose to stay after the event had finished to see Scott make her exit. 

PantherNOW approached BSU officers for commentary on how events like the Speaker Series accomplish their mission statement of promoting school spirit and empowering students to become involved and make the most of their college experience.

“I think [these events] contribute to the mission statement in every way. The presence of a black, transgender figure speaks volumes,” Greaux answered. “The themes we present are to explore all walks of life.”

PantherNOW asked Perez regarding the importance of Scott as a speaker for BHM and BSU.

“Amiyah Scott’s presence means that we’re progressing to tackling socio-political spaces where students and staff can feel comfortable,” said Perez.

The night ended just as cheerfully as it started, with students wishing Scott the best and expressing their gratitude for Scott’s attendance.
“I think we need more events and speeches. That it should be longer than a month to celebrate our history,” Scott told PantherNOW. “That we should–no, need to do more.”