You are here

These 18 LGBTQ Youth Are Transforming Schools Across the Country

Headshots of GLSEN's 2017-2018 National Student Council

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 2017-2018 school year, they'll be dedicated to creating safe and inclusive schools for all students. They'll mobilize their local schools and communities; help create youth-centered resources, programming, and campaigns; and represent GLSEN in the media and at conferences and events. Meet the 18 members of GLSEN's National Student Council!

1. Julia Bisaga

Julia (any pronouns) lives in the suburbs of Manhattan. They love creating writing and making art. They co-run their county’s teen run queer support group and are president of their school’s GSA. They also enjoy caring for animals and farming. 

2. Marcus Breed

Marcus lives in Orlando, FL. As the president of their school’s ALLiance, Marcus is dedicated to making their school and community a safer place for LGBTQ youth. In their free time, they love drawing, playing video games, programming, and baking.

3. Sarah Bunn

Sarah (she/her) lives in Philadelphia, PA. She is the junior head of her school’s GSA and her school’s literary magazine. She loves to write and make ceramics.

4. Danny Charney

Danny (he/him) lives in Alameda, CA. At his school, he helped plan a school-wide assembly which brought the whole school together to hear the experiences of its LGBTQ students. He wants to become a cruise director and work at a nonprofit. He is super excited for another year of advocating for LGBTQ students.

5. Niles Clipson

Niles (they/them) lives in Atlanta, GA. They are a disabled, non-binary femme, passionate about radical self- and other-care as revolutionary. They believe in vulnerability as a form of healing and advocate for trans rights, decolonization, racial justice, and equitable healthcare. They love languages, art, and plants!

6. Mari Contreras

"What's rocking, my dudes?" Mari (she/her) is a gay Chicana and social and political advocate who is also an aspiring spoken poet. She takes interest in social science, creative and critical thinking, and breaking down discrimination and oppression. For the upcoming year, she has also accepted a position on Planned Parenthood's Teen Council. She is the leader of her school's Pride Club and supports a local PFLAG group. She is committed to making a positive change.

7. Edward Estrada

Edward Estrada (he/him) is a San Diego community activist with experience as an LGBTQ Deputy Field Organizer with the Scott Peters for Congress campaign. He is spearheading a proposal to implement multi-stall, gender-inclusive restrooms in San Diego high schools and coordinated the first San Diego district-wide high school drag show to raise funds for queer youth. Edward is the president of his high school’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance, a member of the LGBTQIA Advisory Committee in the San Diego Unified School District, a board member of GLSEN San Diego, and GLSEN’s 2016 Student Advocate of the Year.

8. Nate Fulmer

Nate (he/him) lives in Johns Creek, GA. He has led his school's GSA for three years now, working for more trans-friendly policies at his school. He enjoys riding his bike and walking his dog, Riley.

9. Em Gentry

Em (she/her) lives in Austin, TX. She is a cheer captain, a choir officer, and has worked to solidify the foundation of her school's GSA. Em hopes to attend college to study politics and education, and someday aspires to become the United States Secretary of Education.

10. Andrew Guedea

Andrew (he/him) lives in Los Angeles, California. He started his school's GSA and is passionate about contributing to positive change wherever he is. He wants to have a career where he'll be able to help people in any way he can.

11. Soli Guzman

Soli (she/her) lives in Pleasant Hill, CA. She loves robotics, swimming, writing poetry, and photography. She has been fundraising for the Epilepsy Foundations for 12 years and participates in her schools GSA.

12. Sayer Kirk

Sayer (she/her) lives in Burlington, NC. In her home town, she founded a non-profit LGBTQ youth Center called The Queer Fish Center and is an active member of her school's GSA. She wants to continue her non-profit work and expand the reach of her non-profit.

13. Marisa Matias

Marisa (flexible pronouns) lives in San Diego, CA. They are an aspiring young politician, as they have grown up on MSNBC. They love debating, Rachel Maddow, and tending to their plants. They have worked with many homeless shelters across the West coast and are an active part of their school's GSA.

14. Ezra Morales

Ezra (he/him or ey/em/eir) is a queer, trans, gender non-conforming youth activist hailing from the great state of Texas. His work in activism started his freshmen year in high school through his work with GLSEN and has since expanded on both the local and national level through work with organizations like TSER, HRC and OutYouth Austin. Ezra is coming up on eir senior year of high school and they hope to become a professor of gender and sexuality studies. Ezra also has a great deal of experience in public speaking, workshop leading, and PR through working with his school’s newspaper and participating in both local and national conferences such as Creating Change and SXSWedu.

15. Katie Regittko

Katie Regittko (they/them) is from Raleigh, NC. They are the student body president at their high school and serve as the Youth Chair at the LGBT Center of Raleigh, where they help to provide resources and support for LGBTQ youth across the state. This is their third year on GLSEN's Nationals Student Council. Outside of queer activism, Katie enjoys walking their dog, stanning Beyoncé, and encouraging others to be their best selves. 

16. Imani Sims

Imani (she/her) lives in Rocky River, OH. She is an intersectional feminist who loves dogs of all breeds. She is a charter member of her school’s SAFE club (Students Advocate For Equality), which works to educate the student body on issues marginalized groups face. She wishes to obtain her PhD in Nonprofit Management and Leadership and someday work for the local Diversity Center or perhaps GLSEN. 

17. Kian Tortorello-Allen
Headshot of Kian Tortorello-Allen

Kian (they/them or he/him) is a rainbow-haired, rainbow-souled trans activist from the metro New York area. They are active in both local and national LGBTQ advocacy. Locally, they are the vice president of their high school gender and sexuality alliance, a trained LGBTQ story teller, and a presenter at a local Pride conference. Nationally, they are an admin on an internationally followed Instagram page with over 154,000 followers, a YouTuber, and a member of the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 GLSEN National Student Council. They are particularly interested in talking about the experiences of trans people of color and other intersecting identities. They are also a poet, musician, and artist, exploring the overlap of art and activism.

18. James van Kuilenburg

James van Kuilenburg (he/him) lives in Frederick, MD, and is a trans youth advocate in his school and community. He has a strong interest in politics and history. 

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.

Also, take a listen to the new National Student Council's back-to-school playlist!