October 31, 2023

Center for Global Affairs Alumni Spotlight: Lermxn Montoya

M.S. in Global Affairs ‘23

Concentration in Peacebuilding

Currently, Lermxn works as a Community Organizing Coordinator at The Queer Detainee Empowerment Project.

What makes you proud to be an alum?
I am proud to be a CGA alum because I am part of a cohort of students who see the world critically and are not afraid to think of creative and human-centered solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.

What are your main areas of responsibility in your current role?
In my role, I am responsible for aligning issue campaigns, movement politics, and leadership training with QDEP’s mission, vision and core values. My responsibilities include strengthening the membership base, grassroots community organizing, coalition building with other abolitionist and immigrant rights groups, centering power-building, abolition, and liberation from structural racism and the carceral state. I am also responsible for training and co-facilitating a leadership development program for BIPOC, Trans, Queer, and Cis-Gender Women, and Gender Non-Conforming Immigrants.

How did your time at the CGA help prepare you for this role?
My time at NYU was formative in preparing me for this role. My work at the NYU LGBTQ+ Center allowed me to develop my facilitation skills and further my work with Queer and Trans community members of color. The Center for Global Affairs gave me the space to delve deeper into the issues of LGBTQ+ migration and displacement. Through mentorship and research opportunities, I was encouraged to interrogate systems of oppression that affect LGBTQ+ people globally and work towards finding community-driven solutions to sexual and gender-based violence. For my graduate capstone project, I worked on a multimedia project centering the dynamics of queer and trans migration between and along the borderland regions of Mexico (U.S.–Mexico and Mexico–Guatemala) that have been socially, politically, and economically constructed and disrupted by the United States’ foreign policy and anti-immigrant agenda.

Any favorite memories at the CGA?
My favorite memory of the CGA was participating in PREP’s research in Colombia. I had the opportunity to collaborate with Colombian researchers from La Escuela Superior de Administración Publica on a research project that centered the political and social impact of Indigenous, LGBTQ+, Black, and rural social leaders, activists, environmentalists, and survivors of the armed conflict, amidst alarming rates of assassinations of human rights defenders. I left Colombia inspired by the resilience of our research partners and all the people we met throughout our time there.

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