When Elaina Perry found out she’d won a Team D.C. scholarship, she was so honored she says the money wasn’t even the most important thing for her.
“I was just ecstatic,” the 18-year-old American University freshman says. “I felt like my hard work and my deep struggles were truly recognized. It was almost a sense of relief. I felt whole.”
Although she’s not playing currently, for years Perry was a soccer goalkeeper, which she said “became my obsession.”
She received the $2,000 scholarship, given to local LGBT student athletes who have “made contributions to the sport” (of choice) and “enhanced the perception of the LGBT community,” at the Night of Champions event last weekend at the Washington Hilton Hotel.
Perry, a native of Greenbelt, Md., lives in the Tenleytown dorms of American where she’s double majoring in public health and international relations. She and her girlfriend, Priyanka, have been dating for about five months.
Perry enjoys hiking and reading French literature in her free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out at age 16. I think the hardest person to tell was really myself.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Dr. Frank Mugisha, a prominent Ugandan advocate who has earned the Rafto prize and the Robert Kennedy Human Rights Award.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
As someone who spends her nights buried in books, I would say Kramers.
Describe your dream wedding.
I am not too in touch with wedding culture, but would be happy to be surrounded by my family and friends in any case.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I am concerned with racism in every way that it manifests itself.
What historical outcome would you change?
The passing of HB2 in North Carolina. It opened the door for other states to challenge the rights of queer people.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Amanda Bynes’s downward spiral.
On what do you insist?
Mindfulness. Oh, and coffee.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
My last post on Facebook was a promotion of on-campus events for a sustainable development group that I am a part of, called Nourish International.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“A Small Queer in a Big World”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would never choose to change myself.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Fate and karma in a way. I think that one will be rewarded for being a good person.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
When a community outside of your own is in need, show up.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My family and friends. Also, my education it seems.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That bisexual people are somehow not as much of a part of the LGBTQ+ community as others.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
As basic as I sound, “Blue is the Warmest Color.” The French kills me.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Walking on the left and standing on the right. Only truly overrated because our escalators are constantly broken.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Recognition for my efforts in international politics.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
Well, considering I am 18, I’d say there is an abundance of things I wish I knew already. I’ll get there one day.
I’m studying public health and international relations. This is the place for just that.