San Joaquin Delta College student Celine Pham stands beside her piece, "Be Yourself."
'I want to be that voice': LGBTQ artist tells her story
Alex Breitler
October 05, 2018

Celine M. Pham’s journey to understanding her sexuality was difficult enough.

Getting others to understand? That’s even harder.

At times Celine, a 22-year-old Delta College student, felt she didn’t have a voice.

That's changing.  An aspiring multimedia artist, Celine is the only Delta College student to have a piece on display in the upcoming “Queer Voices” exhibition that opens this week at L.H. Horton Jr. Gallery.

She recently shared some thoughts about what it’s like to be a young LGBTQ+ college student.

On her life…

“I was being somebody that I wasn’t. I had long hair, was wearing makeup. When I looked in the mirror, that was somebody I didn’t really recognize. I was in high school when I came out, and ever since then I’ve been very out and open.”

On how others see her...

“I have a girlfriend, and that whole dynamic is new to everyone and it’s new to me. I’m not expecting everyone to approve, but it hurts when people judge me. Why do people care so much about what I do with somebody else?”

On Delta College…

“Coming to Delta has really given me a safe spot to be myself. I have people here who are like me. I have people here who can give me advice and comfort me when I’m going through dark times in my life. It has really made me a strong and confident person.”

On her piece…

“The real reason I created that piece was to let other people know on our campus that it’s OK to be yourself, it’s OK to love who you love, it’s OK to be different.”

On her selection…

“I always imagined that I was going to have my work in a gallery or museum. But those are just things I thought. I never thought I could have this amazing opportunity. Someone like me, little old me, someone from a low-income, immigrant family, someone who is queer.”

On her dream…

 “I want to show people that LGBTQ people might dress a little differently, but we still want the same things in life. We want to be successful. We want our own families. I just want people to see us as human beings.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t have a voice anymore. I want to be that voice.”

ABOUT HER PIECE: Celine’s piece, “Be Yourself,” was created in Adobe Illustrator. The portrait depicts Monick Monell, a mentor of Celine’s who is an LGBTQ+ activist in Brooklyn, New York.

ABOUT THE SHOW: “Queer Voices” begins at 5 p.m. Oct. 11 with an opening reception, and runs through Nov. 2. The show is free and open to the public.

"Be Yourself," by San Joaquin Delta College student Celine Pham.