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GLSEN Names Student Advocate of the Year

Media Contact:
Joanna Cifredo
Joanna.Cifredo@glsen.org
646-388-6575

 

GLSEN Proudly Announces Ose Arheghan, of Shaker Heights, OH to be Honored at GLSEN Respect Awards as 2017 Student Advocate of the Year

LOS ANGELES (October 12, 2017) – GLSEN, the leading education organization creating safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth, will honor high school senior Ose Arheghan with the Student Advocate of the Year Award at the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards presented by The Walt Disney Company, to be held Friday, October 20, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. 

“Student leadership has been at the heart of GLSEN's work since our founding, and each year, we partner with thousands of students across the country who are changing their schools and communities for the better," said Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director. "Choosing just one Student Advocate of the Year is never easy. Ose has been an exemplary leader in their community in so many ways---winning policy changes to protect LGBTQ students and advocating for comprehensive sexual health education. The progress Ose has made possible illustrates the tremendous power of taking action to secure a better tomorrow.” 

Ose, 17, is a senior at Shaker Heights High School who uses gender-neutral pronouns of they/them/theirs and is a strong supporter of equal rights for LGBTQ and other marginalized communities. Through journalism and civic engagement, they have helped to create safer spaces for LGBTQ youth and expand people’s understanding of what it means to be a member of the LGBTQ community. 

Recently, Ose went to DC to lobby Congress about the importance of having access to accurate and comprehensive sexual health education for LGBTQ youth. Earlier this year, Ose launched a year-long series on diversity for their school paper, highlighting LGBTQ voices, with the goal of bringing young people’s stories to the larger community. For the past two years, Ose has visited the Ohio Statehouse to speak with legislators about the importance of funding extracurricular activities and protecting LGBTQ youth in schools. 

Next fall, Ose plans to study international relations, queer theory, and journalism in order to support their goal of advocating for international LGBTQ rights. They hope to change policies and center voices of marginalized communities within the LGBTQ umbrella and the challenges they face. 

GLSEN's Student Advocate of the Year Award honors an outstanding young person who has helped create a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students and has served as a voice of change in their school and community. GLSEN also acknowledges the following students as part of this year’s Student Advocate of the Year Honor Roll:  Seniors Aniza Jahangir of NYC, Ce Lai Fong of CA, and Matt Forsey of Indiana. 

Ose Arheghan will join previously announced honorees Kerry Washington, receiving the Inspiration AwardBruce Bozzi, receiving the Champion Award; Zendaya, receiving the Game Changer Award presented by YouTube; and DC Entertainment, receiving the Visionary Award and to be accepted by Diane Nelson. 

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The GLSEN Respect Awards, introduced in 2004 and held annually in Los Angeles and New York, showcase the work of students, educators, community leaders, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Past Los Angeles honorees include Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake; Julia Roberts and Danny Moder; Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg; Bob Greenblatt; Shonda Rhimes; Matt Bomer & Simon Halls; and Kate Hudson. The GLSEN Respect Awards - Los Angeles will welcome approximately 600 guests, including outstanding youth leaders and educators from around the country, raising more than $1 million in support of GLSEN’s work. 

GLSEN has led the way on LGBTQ issues in K-12 education since 1990. Through ground-breaking original research, innovative program development, student leadership and educator training, community organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work with the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and national programs like GLSEN’s Day of SilenceGLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week, and GLSEN’s Ally Week.

Tickets for the Respect Awards are available now. For additional information, please visit www.glsen.org/events 

About GLSEN 

GLSEN creates safe and inclusive schools for all. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of 40 community-led chapters in 27 states brings GLSEN’s expertise to local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact have won support for inclusive schools at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research, and educator training programs, please visit glsen.org.