Maxine Spencer

Maxine Spencer by Emily April Allen

While at Vanderbilt University, Maxine Spencer founded the affinity group BlackOut, which operated as a space for Black LGBTQ+ students to gather and support each other. Spencer also developed a love of activism that led her to Advocates for Youth, where she is currently a member of the YouthResource program and Advocates for Youth’s Youth Activist Network. After graduating, Spencer joined the Oasis Center, where she served as the More to Me Program Specialist, bringing positive youth development programming to high school age LGBTQ+ youth of color in middle Tennessee. She also established the Middle TN College GSA Network in association with local college GSAs, Fisk OUTLoud, TSU’s Gender and Sexualities Alliance, and the Vanderbilt Lambda Association. Currently, Spencer is also part of the Nashville chapter of the New Leaders Council, which trains progressive leaders across the country, and Stand Up Nashville’s Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute, which focuses on putting local leaders from marginalized groups on boards and commissions. Her work does more than keep her busy — it makes a difference. “One of the most rewarding aspects of the work that I’ve done has been seeing the little changes that happen,” she tells GO. “I have enjoyed seeing a young person grow and change and to be able to notice the small nuances that, as an individual, you don’t think about, but to someone else it shows a world of change. I am so grateful to have had that opportunity.” —IL

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