GDI Interview: Rylee Carrillo

Where did the inspiration to start the GDI come from?

I was not connected to Kore Press when the initial vision for the GDI came about but it seemed to begin with queer parents (as well as parents of trans youth) and educators who were frustrated with the prevalence of gendered structures in school infrastructure, policies, and in classroom interactions. The GDI seemed to form out of a desire to combat that reality.

What is your long term vision for the GDI? 

Ideally, we find people committed to pushing for changes in school culture, who then bring even more people into the fold. It would look like a revolution across Tucson in terms of how gender is and is not addressed in school. 

What motivates you to participate in the GDI? 

I am motivated by the students whose lives would become significantly more safe, and ideally more joyful due to the effects of this work. But frankly I am also motivated by the hope that educators, despite already having gone through their own educational journeys and having been indoctrinated into the way gender has been prescribed by those in power in our society, will also experience a shift in how they understand gender that also offers them more safety and more joy. 

Have there been any LGBTQ resources that have supported you or helped shape the GDI?

I can’t think of any specific resources but I am definitely grateful for all of the queer youth, artists, activists, and educators I have meet through this work who are passionate about these issues and who have immeasurably aided and influenced our work.

When you aren’t working hard for KPI, what are your top favorite ways to find joy?

I get a lot of joy from finding fun ways to feel connected to my body: speed skating, bouldering, dancing, snowboarding, skateboarding. I also enjoy being in spaces focused on community building, and/or surrounded with art and writing. But nothing compares to the feeling I get when I’m rigging theater lights on an elevated surface!


Rylee Carrillo (they/them) is a recent graduate from Columbia University, where they received departmental honors for their senior thesis and overall work as a comparative literature major. They are passionate about circulating underrepresented narratives across all genres and art forms as a form of community empowerment and as a way to foster senses of belonging. This transfers over into their work as a theatre-maker, where they seek to bring new Latinx stories to the stage, and as the founder of the zine Nuestrx. Areas of interest include postcolonialism, nationalism, global feminism, marxism, gender, trauma, literary circulation, Latinx literature, Chicanx theatre, and Arab literature and poetry.