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By Ariel Jao

Kevin Leo Nadal Ph.D. is a Filipino-American professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) and is most well-known for his study of anti-LGBTQ microaggressions. He has written eight books on topics including LGBTQ issues and other social justice matters. This year, Professor Nadal will be publishing his ninth book in microaggression theory and is also launching an LGBTQ training program with the New York City Police Department.

Fellow CUNY Professor Silvia Mazzula, who serves as the executive director of the Latina Researchers Network, nominated Professor Nadal for NBC Out's #Pride30 list.

"I have known Dr. Nadal for 16 years and I have found him to be a genuine, kind, passionate, and inspirational human being who has committed his life to fighting for social justice," Professor Mazzula wrote in her nomination. "He is a trailblazer in so many ways and he continues to inspire so many young people — especially LGBTQ people of color — to reach their dreams."

NBC News spoke with Professor Nadal for NBC Out's #Pride30 special.

Do you have advice for aspiring authors?

"If you see that there is something missing in literature, whether it's storytelling, academic literature, play, musical theater, etc., be the one to write it! I remember going to school and not seeing very many things being written about Filipino-Americans or LGBTQ Asian-Americans. If stories aren't being told, be the one to tell them."

Why is it important for you to advocate for LGBTQ people of color?

"When I was growing up, I didn't really have a lot of LGBTQ role models within the Asian-American community to look up to. I also didn't have any people who were like me. It was hard growing up being the first to come out in my family and community. It's important for me to be an example of someone who can do work and be more visible to young queer and trans people of color. I want to show them that it's possible to be yourself, to be accepted by your family, and to be successful and have loving relationships."

What is a quote that you live by?

"'If you don't get invited to the table, build your own freakin' table.' It's a play on other things people have said. For me, it's important to recognize that although it's important to get those invitations, sometimes you have to build your own. We need to create things that are made for us, rather than fit in a mold that already exists. Build things for communities by our communities."

What does "pride" mean to you?

"Pride means being able to live your truth in all aspects of your life, to be yourself, and to be proud of who you are in every space that you're in."

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