Monday, February 21, 2011

Young advocates for our cause

I learned last week the Ruth Ellis Center, where I volunteer, has been sponsoring the Out & Up Front Project. Staff coordinators have been teaching the kids how to be advocates for gay causes. The kids (along with the staff) had their first big adventures and were successful in both!

The team went to a Detroit Public School board meeting, requesting the board specifically include sexual minorities in the district's anti-bullying policy. One of the speakers was Brendan, age 16, who occasionally helps serve the evening meal at REC. Brendan testified that he is sometimes afraid to go to school because of the constant anti-gay bullying.

Brendan's story prompted the board president, Anthony Adams, to tell about his transgender daughter who committed suicide 4 years ago. Adams and the board requested Laura Hughes, REC director for specific wording to add to the policy. Of course, Hughes had that ready before stepping through the door.

The team also went before the Detroit City Council to get their support for a city-wide anti-bullying policy. A City Council staffer suggested a joint ceremony where the city and the schools both announce updated policies at the same time.

The adventures got a nice article in the local gay newspaper.

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