Guam Pride: James Servino

June 23, 2017 Lacee A.C. Martinez

It wasn't too long ago when James Servino was serving as an associate director of social

media and online engagement for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ civil

rights organization in the nation.

Although he was planted in Washington D.C. just as the nation was tackling some of the

biggest LGBTQ rights issue, Guam, too was calling to him. After all, James is a Chamorro

boy, even if he was born and raised in California and never lived on island, but who'd visit

with family and for the HRC.

When a position opened up for then Sen. Nerissa Underwood's office, he jumped at the

opportunity. Underwood had authored and helped pave the way for the island's marriage

equality bill, and James was right behind her Vice-Speaker BJ Cruz to get it passed.

James, 32, also helped bring Jim Obergefell to Guam for the University of Guam

commencement ceremony. Obergefell is the man behind the landmark national marriage

equality lawsuit, which led the Supreme Court to strike down all restrictions on same-sex

marriage.

Today, James is the chief of staff to freshman senator Regine Biscoe Lee, a fast leader in the

LGBTQ rights for Guam, and is an active member with ISA Guam, an LGBTQ organization

raising the visibility of island residents.

“Despite the passing of marriage equality, we need to challenge ourselves that it’s not over,

it’s not done,” he says. “A big part of our LGBTQ community still leans on invisibility. It’s

dangerous because it doesn’t encourage discussion. Guam has the ability to lead in the

region and internationally. People are being killed in Russia for being gay, and we have a

visa waiver program for Russia. I think we have a history of Guam being a refuge for people

who are fleeing. The bigger issues are still to come on how we are going to be a better

leader on these issues, and it’s not just going to be parties and passing local laws. It’s going

to be what unites us and how we step up as a local community.”

 


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About the Author

Lacee A.C. Martinez

Guam born and raised, this reporter has an affinity for island life, people and culture. Got a story idea? Email her at lmartinez@unoguam.com.

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