Dalia Moamed

Despite the short distance, Dalia Moamed, a senior Psychology major with a concentration in mental health, experienced culture shock when she moved from northern to southern New Jersey.

“Although I met and spoke with so many kind people at the Stockton Galloway campus, I met very few who were like me, or who I felt could openly relate to me. As a queer woman of color myself, it was very hard to connect to those around me, and it was often a lonely experience,” she said.

As a second-generation immigrant with a Polish Catholic mother and a Muslim Egyptian father, her multicultural upbringing “influenced so much of who I am, not just in my own identity and my roots, but also in the way I understand others.”

Dalia Moamed

She wondered how many other LGBTQ+ people of color (POC) on campus were also feeling isolated. Were they “watering down or adjusting their most authentic selves,” she often thought?

As the questions compounded in her mind, she was bothered by the lack of community for people like herself. Where could she go to talk with someone who would understand?

“I wished there was a space where queer POC could meet one another, befriend each other, and feel the comfort of knowing they’re not alone here."

Finally, someone told her, “if it bothers you so much, then just do it yourself.”

And she did. Dalia is the founder and president of the Stockton Queer and Trans People of Color Society (QTPOCS).

She now laughs at the “provocative reaction” to her very real experience of being underrepresented, but she is grateful that it gave her the push to make a change not only for herself, but for all LGBTQ+ POC at Stockton who are looking for connection.

This fall will be Stockton QTPOCS second semester, And Dalia is excited for meetings, open discussions, potential field trips and many activities.

"It is here where we are free to talk about all possible triumphs and frustrations that we otherwise feel uncomfortable talking about any place else. Our doors are always open to all, and we are so excited to watch our Stockton QTPOCS family grow."

Dalia looks at her major, Psychology, through a cultural lens.

"So much of what I’m passionate about in regard to representation and affirmation of marginalized peoples will definitely be applied to my career ambitions. I hope to specialize in cultural competency within the field of clinical psychology, and perhaps focus on treating immigrant clients as well as queer and transgender clients of color—both these populations face unbelievable mental health disparities, and they are also people that reflect familiar experiences of my loved ones’ as well as my own." 

Her work to create Stockton QTPOCS showed her what's she's capable of.

"My past self would have never imagined I could organize a collective and propel change like this," she said. 

This Voice was originally published in 2022 during Pride Month. At the time of publication, and currently, Moamed is a senior in Psychology as well as founder and president of the student organization QTPOCS.