Three weeks ago I gave a speech to at least 170 high school students on anti-gay bullying. Can say if I ever had stage fright it is completely gone now!
I was part of a panel alongside members of The Anti-Defamation League, Aspen Pointe, NAACP, and a mother who had a gay son who died years ago from HIV. We all had the same message to make, but from various perspectives.
I introduced myself to the students and explained I was representing youth who identified as LGBT an acronym which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.
I wanted to talk about the anti-gay bullying taking place in schools. I let them know my organization understands bullying happens to students for many reasons whether it be because they look different, sound different or act different, but what is important is for all students to feel safe.
For every one LGBT student who is bullied there are four straight students who are bullied based on their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
I mentioned the statistics of LGBT youth who are bullied and the consequences.
Then I spent time talking about actions schools can take for LGBT students to feel safer in schools.
Last I said this to all the students in the room, “Know that it does get better. After high school things get better, but at the same time it is not fair to ask you to wait that long. I challenge everyone in this room to make things better right now. This can easily be done by treating others as you would like to be treated with dignity and respect.”
As I finished my speech I received a round of applause.
I received compliments from the members of the other organizations and thanks from students who put together this panel. I had students from this school who also attend Inside/Out shout my name and run up to me on stage and give me a group hug.
Two students came up to me after the event and thanked me for being there. They said they were really glad I was there and that my speech inspired them.
I told them they totally made my day! D’awwwwwwwwww!