These 18 LGBTQ Youth Are Creating A More Inclusive World
Every year, GLSEN selects a group of exceptional LGBTQ young people for our national student leadership team, the National Student Council (NSC). Selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants, the 18 members of GLSEN's National Student Council are high school students who are safe-schools advocates, GSA leaders and founders, and passionate activists committed to social justice, representing the diversity of LGBTQ youth in schools.
For the 2018-2019 school year, they'll be dedicated to creating safe and inclusive schools for all students. They are students who showcase their skills as educators, activists, and organizers by working on projects that bring voice and insight to the needs of LGBTQ youth in schools. The work comes in the form of working on GLSEN’s national campaigns, blogs, and GLSEN events. This also happens through working on subcommittee projects that focus on creating content that gives breadth and depth into the work that GLSEN does. Meet the 18 members of GLSEN's National Student Council!
1. JP Grant
JP (16, he/him ) is from local MA. He is a part of non-profit organization Project 351, he is a student-athlete and writer. He loves being an educator and activist around LGBTQ+ inclusivity and does work focusing on homelessness. JP aspires to be a History teacher one day in the near future :)
2. Juno Adekunle-Owens
Juno (14, they/them ) lives in Baltimore, MD. They are a mentally ill nonbinary lesbian and an ambitious artist striving to use their pieces to empower others. They advocate for queer visibility in curriculum, accessible resources for disenfranchised peoples, and environmental sustainability. They love mangoes, Hyuna, and face masks.
3. Sameer Jha
Sameer (16, he/him or they/them ) lives in Fremont, CA. Sameer is a trans and queer South Asian activist working to make schools safer for LGBTQ+ youth through his nonprofit The Empathy Alliance. He helps start GSAs, creates awareness of anti-LGBTQ+ bullying, and makes allies out of educators by organizing workshops, facilitating panels, speaking at conferences, and writing articles. He has reached over 1 million people to date and plans to continue his quest to make all schools inclusive and accepting for all students. He loves musical theatre, makeup, and linguistics, and plans to become a teacher.
4. Darid Prom
Darid (17, They/Them) lives in Philadelphia, PA. They're a passionate immigrant working to improve and enlighten their community through local advocacy with organizations like The Mazzoni Center. They're also the co-advisor of their school's GSA. As a non-binary queer, they want to create a safe and affirming space for students of all gender identities and sexual orientation. Through their experiences, they want to shed light on those who are forced to grow up in an environment of hostility and darkness.
5. El Martinez
El Martinez (16, they/them ) lives in a suburb of Boston, MA. They are a multi-ethnic and geeky Inter-feminist who participates most notably as president of their high school GSA and as a Backstage Manager for stage crew. Much of their activism is centered around the normalization of trans identity, inclusive as well as sex+ education, and achieving equality through legislation/public policy.
6. Victorea Quinton-Hairston
Victorea Camille (16, she/her, they/them) lives in Aurora, IL. She is an excitable writer with a passion for politics and activism. She hopes to inspire as many young minds as she can. She loves reading, painting, and cuddling with her doggo Bella.
7. Brianna Davis
Brianna (14, she/her ) lives in Vineland, NJ. She is an activist fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, and working to stop injustice against other minorities. Brianna worked for two years for her school to have a Gay-Straight Alliance and is now the proud president. She is looking forward to spreading awareness on a national level.
8. Clay Horton
Clay (17, flexible pronouns) lives in Austin, TX. They are a STEM-loving fine arts enthusiast. They are an Aquarius and an ambivert. They believe that different forms of self-expression and honest communication are the key to bringing people together.
9. DaShay Shelton
DaShay, aka Shay (16, they/ them ) lives in Mineral, VA. They are an aspiring nurse, love listening to music, drawing, playing basketball, and running. They are an active part of their school’s GSA and are a student-athlete.
10. Anaïs Canepa
Anaïs/Anï (17, any pronouns ) lives in Horsham, PA. They're a proud Jewish queer teen who loves music, art, animals, and activism. When they're not focused on their art, they spend their time involved in their regional queer community. Their work ranges from helping their local community center to running their school's GSA, volunteering for Philadelphia Pride, and housing LGBTQ+ local kids in need.
11. Thomas/Selena Jeffers
Thomas/Selena Jeffers (18, he/him, she/hers) lives in Durham NC. He hopes to be a pediatrician one day. He is a high school male cheerleader and an Eagle Scout. He attended City of Medicine Academy, a school that teaches the basics of the medical field.
12. Jessica Chiriboga
Jessica (16, she/her) lives in Glendora, California. She aspires to one day become a U.S. Supreme Court justice. As a Latinx, feminist lesbian, she hopes to bring radical change to society in the areas of human rights, racial justice, education, and healthcare. She is a proud member of the California YMCA Youth & Government and is an active part of her school’s GSA.
13. Liam Carrera
Liam (16, he/him) lives in Sisseton, SD. He’s a trans teen aspiring to be a botanist and his hobbies include singing, watching Supernatural or Grey’s Anatomy and gardening. Having a diverse outlook on life is important to him and he tries to see things from multiple perspectives, no matter the situation.
14. Cruz Contreras
Cruzilious (17, he/ him, they/them) is a queer non-binary, transmasc Chicanx who lives in the small community of Newport in Wilmington, DE. They educate their community on the importance of intersectionality and curriculums that cover all students. They enjoy breaking down white supremacy -- but walks on the beach are cool too. He also likes poetry, tattoos, and softball. Cruz works with their local Planned Parenthood as a member of their Teen Council program, learning and teaching a range of topics from sex ed, healthy relationships, body positivity, and more. They are now also working with the GSA Networks and Transgender Law Centers, TRUTH Council, where transgender and gender non-conforming youth use storytelling as a tool in advocacy. In the future, Cruz intends to take Peace and Conflict Resolution classes in college, and serve in the Peace Corps as a rescue aid.
15. Sayer Kirk
Sayer (18, she/her ) is from Burlington, a small city in North Carolina. She is the President of her GSA, the Director and Founder of an LGBT Youth Center, and a budding politician. In addition to her dream of being a politician, she has a dream of changing the world. If everything goes according to plan, those two dreams will coincide but she is getting a head start through activism and early political work.
16. Kian Tortorello-Allen
Kian (17, they/them, he/him) lives in the metro New York area. All their activism centers QTPOC people and the experiences of people living at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities. He is particularly interested in using the arts to explore radical change making.
17. SB/Sarah Bunn
SB (they/them) is a Cambodian American sixteen-year-old from suburban Philadelphia. They are the Team Projects Manager for the National Student Council 2018-2019 term. At their school, SB is the co-head of the GSA, co-editor of the literary magazine, and a staff writer and staff graphic designer for the school newspaper. SB advocates for QTPoC youth, immigrants and refugees, and mental health awareness. They have worked with organizations in Philly such as The Mazzoni Center and HIAS as part of their advocacy work. Outside of activism, SB loves writing and reading literature, primarily poetry and prose. They intend to study English and/or Gender and Sexuality Studies in college and aspire to become a civil rights lawyer someday.
18. Imani Sims
Imani (17, they/them ) lives in Rocky River, OH. They are a black sapphic who loves almond milk! They are always down to smash patriarchal norms. Imani lives for the color yellow and amplifying black queer voices and stories. In the future, they see themselves living in New York with a sphinx cat and a cupboard stocked with water bottles. Imani also loves Angela Davis, platform shoes, black hair stores, bats, and grape juice.
As the National Student Council heads back to school, GLSEN is beginning the school year by distributing resources to GSAs, LGBTQ student leaders, and the educators who support them. Get the tools you need to head back to an LGBTQ-inclusive school.