Celebrating Our Elders: Alexander Wicken 23

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Celebrating Our Elders: Alexander Wicken 23

Photo/Mike Lovett

Alexander Wicken ’23

August 29, 2022

Alexander Wicken ’23 came to Brandeis because of the university’s academics and his commitment to social justice. Becoming a member of the Brandeis Fencing community was just the icing on the cake of his college decision-making process.

The Politics major with double minors in Social Justice and Social Politics and Philosophy is a Community Advisor and Senior Pride Representative for the Gender and Sexuality Center, and is Chair of the Brandeis Student-Athlete Advisory Council for the NCAA. Most recently, he joined the Pride+ Council, which is a committee reporting to USA Fencing’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.

Wicken took the time to talk about his Brandeis experience, his passion for advocacy and his points of pride.

Why is Brandeis right for you?

I came to Brandeis not really knowing where I belonged, but I made my own way here. I got involved in all the things that make sense to me, socially, professionally, and academically.

Being a political student has fundamentally changed my life and shaped my career goals. I am now looking to graduate school and pursuing my career in academia due to my Brandeis background.

How did Brandeis open your mind?

As a student at Brandeis, I met people from all over the world and suddenly found my community.

My academics also challenged me. Studying politics, philosophy and theories showed me what it takes to be a good student. I learned that you can’t just do your job and expect it to be good. You have to apply yourself, have a critical mind and make an effort. I also learned not to take everything at face value, because there isn’t always one right answer.

Learning from Professor Jeffrey Lenowitz, Professor Bernard Yack and Professor Marion Smiley also opened my mind to the idea of ​​an academic career, studying concepts for which I developed a passion within political theory. and political philosophy.

What achievement are you most proud of outside of class?

I’ve been trans all my life, but I’m a big proponent of seeing the world through an intersectional lens. I’m made up of all my experiences that culminate in who I am as Alex. I can’t separate being an athlete from being trans. For this reason, I am very passionate about advocating for trans rights, especially in the athlete community.

Be a senior Pride representative within the Center for Gender and Sexuality has been the most rewarding job I have ever done. I am a trained peer educator and mentor. I organize drop-in hours to create space for queer, questioning people, women and allies.

During business hours, people can schedule one-on-one meetings or come into the space to just relax, do their homework, browse our library, or just enjoy the community. The Center for Gender and Sexuality is truly a wonderful office that allows the Brandeis community to create a space there for whatever they need. It is an empowering and safe space for everyone.

I will also be leading some training for the new cohort of Pride Rep and helping to plan and deliver GSC sponsored events throughout the school year. I also hope to help facilitate an LGBT+ athlete affinity group for college athletes to find queer support and community within the athletic department.

Last year, I helped plan an event for International Transgender Awareness Day called “A Bowl Conversation with Transgender Athletes.” This conversation, moderated by a panel of athletes from five sports with varying divisions, focused on centering trans joy and valuing trans athletes throughout athletics. It was sponsored by Brandeis Athleticsthe Brandeis Gender and Sexuality Center and the national advocacy organization Athlete Ally.

It was a virtual event with viewers from across the county and an in-person watch party hosted at Brandeis. There were around 150 combined viewers on both platforms.

Planning this was a year-long labor of love, but one of my proudest accomplishments. Many people contacted me to let me know that they enjoyed the event. This experience has inspired me to continue advocating for the trans community within Brandeis and beyond.

I am now a member of the PRIDE+ Council for USA Fencing, which promotes gay inclusion at all levels of fencing. I feel better qualified to have an impact and pursue advocacy at the national level thanks to my training and my experiences working at the CGC.

What are you looking forward to most from your final year?

What worries me the most right now is getting accepted to college. Getting into a PhD program would be a relief. I also look forward to working on my graduation thesis and learning more about academia.

I’m also excited for the fencing season. This will be my first time competing on the men’s team, as I’ve only competed on the women’s team before. I always knew I was trans, but had chosen to compete on women’s teams since I was 13 because I hadn’t started a medical transition. It’s so rewarding to finally be able to compete in my gender identity after all this time.

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