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
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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