Gina Chavez is known to many as an award-winning musician, activist, queer, Catholic, wife and now the third United States-born Latina to ever be nominated for the Latin Grammys.
Chavez was born and raised in Austin, and she followed in her mother’s footsteps to pursue journalism studies at The University of Texas at Austin. She graduated from Moody College of Communication in 2004 with a journalism degree.
Gina and her mom
Chavez was part of the inaugural first-year interest group (FIG) program and went on to become a FIG mentor during her time on the Forty Acres. One of her favorite classes was Interpersonal Communication with John Daly.
“That was such a great class -- a class of 400 people, and everybody comes to class and is engaged,” Chavez said.
She also spent her free time volunteering with the Catholic Center on campus and became so involved that she remained a part the community for three years after she graduated.
It was at the Catholic Center where she met her wife, Jodi Grando. “It was a very interesting time in my life to be super Catholic and to figure out that I was a lesbian. I am in love with this woman, but clearly, I can’t be with her, and that is how we processed our relationship for the first 6 years,” Chavez said. “After six years of God continuing to fortify our relationship, we decided to stop asking for this to end, and we should go with it.”
Using her skills from her journalism degree, she has worked in communication for Austin-area non-profits, including one that she started with Grando, which provides support to young women pursuing higher education, called Niñas Arriba.