GLSEN National Student Council

Introducing the 2021-2022 GLSEN National Student Council Cohort

NSC National Student Council logo in a rainbow gradient color with the GLSEN logo below

The National Student Council members advise GLSEN (pronounced like “glisten”) programming and campaigns, offer valuable insight to GLSEN’s staff and Board of Directors, and share their stories with leaders in the LGBTQ movement, from policymakers to media to donors. Their role as experts of their experiences brings depth and breadth into GLSEN’s student work to create inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ students and staff.

We are so proud of all student leaders across the country connected to GLSEN throughout the year. We cannot wait for you to meet the new council and interact with them during this school year!

Anaiya Boutan (She/They/He)

Anaiya Boutan (She/They/He) is a Black, Queer, 16-year-old activist from Louisiana, now residing in Olhone land also known as Oakland, California. They are a junior at Oakland Technical High School and has dedicated theirself to fighting for black liberation, LGBTQIA+ gender equality issues, and mental health advocacy. Working with GLSEN they hope to create and cultivate a space where everyone feels represented especially black and brown queer youth. In their free time, they enjoy ranting about queer media, reading, and playing their instruments.

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Aryn Eli Bucci-Mooney headshot

Aryn Eli Bucci-Mooney (he/him)

Aryn Eli Bucci-Mooney (he/him) is a trans, neurodivergent, 17 year old currently residing on Mohican land, also known as Albany, NY. He’s finishing his senior year of high school at a local community college, as he was quite ready to move on from high school. Aryn played soccer from the age of 5 until freshman year, when he joined the boys team, and promptly quit after that season. In addition to being an LGBTQIA+ advocate, Aryn also works in youth programs at Planned Parenthood and is passionate about educating others. Aryn looks forward to the opportunity to create a larger impact as an LGBTQIA+ advocate on the NSC. In their free time you can find them with their emotional support cat, Bucky.

Dillon Balantac (he/him)

Dillon Balantac (he/him) is a queer Chinese-Filipino American LGBTQ+ rights activist from Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a high school junior attending Mid-Pacific Institute in the Mid-Pacific School of the Arts (MPSA) pre professional certificate program in fine arts, with a special interest in fashion and photography. Balantac is an award-winning journalist and the photography and social media editor of his school’s top-ranking student publication, Na Pueo. In his free time, Balantac volunteers as a teacher assistant at his local elementary school and peer tutors students in math and English at his high school. He also serves as a representative on his high school’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and is a first-year member of the 2021-2022 GLSEN National Student Council (NSC) cohort. As part of the NSC’s policy committee, Balantac hopes to create a safer and more inclusive environment for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth in K-12 schools through fighting against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. He also plans to explore artistic activism and produce art pieces that create social change.

Dillon Balantac Headshot

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Elliott Morehead (all pronouns)

Elliott Morehead (all pronouns) is a bisexual genderqueer creator and activist that aspires to become entrepreneur and leader in their future. This sophomore resides on Yankton land, in the city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This person may not live in the biggest city, but he sure does have some big dreams. They are incredibly passionate about all things social justice and equity. With this passion, he brought back a GSA at their high school and created a partnership with another social justice club, the Black Student Union. They want to bring intersectionality to the forefront of the change and empower others. Locally, Elliott works with the Transformation Project, a trans advocacy organization, and the SD Equality Coalition. Together, they are fighting for LGBTQ and Two-spirit equality. Being on GLSEN’s National Student Council, he’s excited to be a part of a thrilling team fighting for racial, disability, and gender justice. They look to creativity and art to find inspiration. This artist loves to spend time bringing a blank page to life with art or getting lost in their favorite music.

Erin Robinson (they/she)

Erin Robinson (they/she) is a Black nonbinary activist residing on Muscogee/Creek land, also known as Montgomery, Alabama. Although they are only in 11th grade, Erin is working towards making a huge impact in her school and community. They are currently the Co-President of their High School GSA and an active member of their Queer Christian Youth Group at Beloved Arise. Her biggest passion in this world is helping others in any way she can, mostly directing her focus towards racial justice, policy, LGBTQ+ liberation, and the intersectionality of all three. They were raised in both the Southside of Chicago, as well as Alabama. This experience allowed them to see what progressive change and direct-action can be applied to different parts of the nation. While in GLSEN’s National Student Council, they hope to spread their unique voice as a queer christian advocate and empower young activist to initiate change in their communities. In moments of self care, you’ll probably find her listening to her 2000’s pop playlist, ranting about the political world, or styling the thrifted clothes in their wardrobe.

Erin Robinson headshot

Esperanza Orozco

Esperanza Orozco Vargas (she/her/hers)

Esperanza Orozco Vargas (she/her/hers) is a Mestiza Transgender activist with a passion for fashion. Growing up in a first generation household was a unique experience for Vargas and is one of the many reasons she’s who she is today. A huge Barb and Swiftie, Vargas hopes to follow in the footsteps of Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift and use her platform to uplift other POC and LGBTQ people.

Janessa Vargas (she/her)

Janessa Vargas (she/her) is a lesbian Chicana activist and student attending Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH. She originally hails from Palisades Park, NJ, residing on Munsee-Lenape Land. At home, she works mostly with Make the Road New Jersey, a community-based immigrant rights’ organization, as a DREAM Ambassador and assists the legal team with policy research. She has been heavily involved in the fight to preserve DACA and obtain Citizenship for All, completing independent research through a fellowship with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Chapter. Within her school community, she is also involved in Equity and Inclusion, through heading the Afro-Latinx Society, Feminist Union, being the Director of Diversity and Inclusion in her student council, and conducts local advocacy in the areas of immigration, voting rights, and others as head of the Democratic Students Club. As a member of GLSEN’s National Student Council for the 2021-2022 school year, she plans to make her advocacy as intersectional as possible, combining her passion for all forms of equity but focusing in on the areas of immigrant rights and LGBTQ+ rights.

Janessa Vargas Headshot

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Jayanti Gupta (she/her)

Jayanti Gupta (she/her) is an Indian-American activist and student at International Academy East residing on Mississauga land also known as Michigan. In addition to being an LGBTQIA+ advocate, she is passionate about gun violence prevention, feminism and racial equity, as well as the intersections present between all of them. Currently she is co-leading her school’s GSA and focusing on creating a safe-space for LGBTQIA+ students within her community. At home she focuses on gun violence prevention as the March For Our Lives State Director of Michigan, and also focuses on intersectional feminism through her work with Generation Ratify. This summer she had the honor of working as a Youth Leadership and Civic Engagement Fellow at Rising Voices, an organization based in Michigan that focuses on increasing civic-engagement within the Asian-American community. While on GLSEN’s National Student Council she hopes to continue focusing on intersectionality within the movement, specially focusing on increasing BIPOC LGBTQIA+ representation within media, policy-related work and youth leadership within the GLSEN network In her free time she can be seen outside hiking, kayaking or listening to music. She also enjoys reading and is currently reading Democracy, If We Can Keep It by the ACLU, but is always looking for new suggestions!

Jennifer Tran (she/her/hers)

Jennifer Tran (she/her/hers) is a Queer Vietnamese American senior at Bolsa Grande High School in the Garden Grove Unified School District on Native Tongva Land. She is the first Preferential Voting Student Board Member for the Garden Grove Unified District, representing over 40,000 students. Jennifer has been involved in California's Education System for over a year, serving as the Policy Director for both GENup and the California Student Board Member Association (CSBMA), both California-based student-activist coalitions. Jennifer is passionate about student representation, LGBTQ+ rights, civic engagement, mental health, and educational equity. She plans to use her voice within GLSEN to advocate for LGBTQ+ students on a National Level, particularly through public policy and partnerships with different educational administrations. In her free time she likes to bullet journal, create Spotify playlists, drink way too many Iced Vanilla Oat Milk Lattes, and rant to her now very tired friends about the Education System.

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Jordyn Pruitt Headshot

Jordyn Pruitt (they/he)

Jordyn Pruitt (they/he) is a African American nonbinary senior located near Atlanta, Georgia. They are 17 years old but despite their age advocate for important issues such as mental health and civil rights. Joining GLSEN meant they could fight for their community and fight for equal rights. With their voice as an African American and a person within the LGBTQ+ community, he hopes to spread his unique perspective and stand for those intersectional voices that are often shut down.

Lily Freeman (She/Her)

Lily Freeman (She/Her) is a Transgender and Jewish Activist located on stolen Lenni Lenape land just outside of Philidelphia. She strives to help in school districts as well as the community to make things more gender inclusive and equitable for all. She uses her voice to help everyone no matter race, orientation, or gender to feel safe wherever they are. In her free time she loves to do anything to bring out her creativity including drawing and acting, crystals, and if we are talking outdoors she’ll ride a bike too. This year she is extremely excited to be working on the GLSEN NSC to promote and incite change on a national level.

Lilly Freeman headshot

Loralei Cook headshot

Loralei Cook (she/her)

Loralei Cook (she/her) is an LGBTQ+ rights and educational justice advocate from Phoenix, Arizona (Akimel O’odham/Upper Pima land). She currently conducts research at the Arizona Advocacy Foundation centered around the criminalization of LGBTQ+ students in schools, serves as a student advisor to AZ State Superint. Kathy Hoffman, and creates various social media-based campaigns around social justice issues. Loralei is currently the lead of the GLSEN NSC’s Youth Leadership Committee, is a student leader of GLSEN’s Phoenix Chapter, and is heavily involved within her school’s student council. In her free time, she consumes too much science-fiction media, studies everything from physics to art history, dramatically listens to Kacey Musgraves, and thrifts her entire wardrobe!

Lucía Salazar-Davidson (she/her, they/them)

Lucía Salazar-Davidson (she/her, they/them) is a queer mixed Latine high school senior living on stolen Chumash land in Ventura County. Their passion for community organizing and activism began while they were growing up in Palmer, Alaska. As someone who grew up in a rural and Conservative area with little to no public support for queer or BIPOC people, she is extremely invested in ensuring representation and resources for all LGBTQIA+ people all over the globe, as well as racial equity, reconciling with the church, safety in schools, and policy that protects queer youth. They also do a lot of community building work within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as well as interfaith organizations like Queeranteen Camp. She is fantastically excited to learn and grow and create new things this year as a part of the GLSEN National Student Council! When she has free time, she loves to act in theatre, knit neverending sweaters, read, write music on mandolin, guitar and whatever her other instrument of the week is, and hang out with her dog!

Lucia Salazar-Davidson headshot

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Maria Cheng (she/her)

Maria Cheng (she/her) is a queer Chinese-American high school senior based in Houston, Texas on unceded Atakapa land. As she’s passionate about creating impactful and intersectional social change, she currently is a national director at Generation Ratify, a youth-led gender equity organization, and has worked with numerous other initiatives toward social justice. She’s excited to increase the scope of her activism with GLSEN this year, specifically by exploring policy- and direct action-based LGBTQ+ advocacy. In her free time, she’ll (as of now) either be learning more about astrology, watching English football, or sending TikToks to friends.

Mia Moeller (she/her)

Mia Moeller (she/her) is a high school junior that lives on stolen Kickapoo land in Missouri. She lives in a very small, conservative, rural town. Mia is very involved in her school through student council, cheerleading, track and field, speech and debate, academic team, Spanish club, students demand action, and founding her school's GSA. She is also very involved with her community outside school through volunteer work and advocacy, volunteering at the elementary schools, coaching young athletes, and working for her local democratic society. Oftentimes in small communities, like Mia’s it’s hard to find these opportunities, so her activism needs to extend beyond her local community. The nearest city to her is nearly an hour’s ride out, but Mia volunteers there at pride festivals and goes out to find information and resources to share with her community. She also extends to finding online volunteer opportunities like getting people registered to vote. Mia hopes that her advocacy as a queer youth will later translate into job opportunities in LGBTQ+ activism.

Mia Moeller headshot

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Nic Oke (he/they)

Nic Oke (he/they) is a Black, Nigerian Amerikan, disabled, bisexual/queer rising senior in the Law and Public Policy (LPP) program at Towson High School in Maryland. He studies legal philosophy and politics extensively and dedicates his time to social and political advocacy for students nationally and locally, through the Black Student Union, Principal’s Advisory Council, and Maryland Association of Student Councils. Nic is an active leader in his community and runs two organizations, specifically, the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Club and Untold Stories, a book club which revolves around reading and discussing short stories written by underrepresented minority authors. Nic is committed towards making the world a better place by offering what skills he has to help others and organize towards social and political change. As part of this goal Nic runs an Instagram account entitled @theangryblackboy where he spreads political education in infographic slideshow form, In his free time however, when he’s not working towards radicalizing the masses, Nic likes to go on long walks, binge watch shows with family and friends and spend an unsettling amount of time scrolling through YouTube.

Sarah Moore (she/her)

Sarah Moore (she/her) is the head of the National Student Council’s GSA committee. She is a queer high school senior with a passion for community engagement in Charlotte, North Carolina on Catawba and Sugaree land. Moore is an active participant in both her school and local community. At school, she is the leader of the GSA and the Newspaper club. She is also a student representative on the school’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. In her free time, she volunteers at the Carolina Raptor Center and Charlotte Pride and is heavily involved at Time Out Youth. She is incredibly passionate about GSAs and making schools safe and welcoming spaces for all students. Her hobbies include journaling, snail mail, playing TTRPGs, taking care of her pets, and rambling about how cool birds are.

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Tyler Vasquez headshot version 2

Tyler Vazquez (they/he)

Tyler Vazquez (they/he) is a Black queer, nonbinary demi-boy, ‘90s R&B fanatic interested in Black and Indigenous liberation with queer and trans folks centered. He is a firm believer of the philosophy of divestment, and is interested in how queerness, transness, and Blackness meet at certain convergences of those practices. He is the Co-Lead of Communications for the National Student Council, is a Youth Health Promoter at Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, and a former neuroscience intern at Albany Medical College, studying the arcuate hypothalamic nucleus’s involvement in homeostasis for the latter. They also founded their school’s first Black Student Union, which he runs weekly. He is a rising senior from Albany, New York on Mohican and Haudenosaunee land. He thanks GLSEN for the opportunity to join the council and its responsibilities.

Yamali Rodas (she/her/ella)

Yamali Rodas (she/her/ella) is a Guatemalan queer athlete that is residing on stolen Kickapoo land that is currently the southside of Chicago! She is involved in civic engagement work that revolves around the impacts of racial trauma on youth from the southside of Chicago. She is a part of multiple leadership roles in nonprofits and associations that focus on immigrant rights, BIPOC mental health awareness, and inclusive schools for LGBTQIA+ students. She intends to use GLSEN as a resources to accomplish her current projects and to use her voice to advocate for Latin American LGBTQIA+ friendly terminology, inclusive sports for transgender youth, and to figure out a way to increase the life expectancy of Black Trans Woman. In addition to all of that, she enjoys collecting records, reading, and binge-watching Netflix shows!

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Yasmeen Porter (she/her/hers)

Yasmeen Porter (she/her/hers) is an ambitious, critical thinking queer Black senior in high school that is inquisitive about the threads that hold societies together. A passionate writer, arts enthusiast, and social justice advocate, she intends to use her passion and experience working with mental health, reproductive and sexual health, racism, critical race theory, and LGBT+ rights to pursue a career in writing for arts and media. As an alum of the 2020-2021 Hamilton County Commission on Women and Girls and the 2020 Telluride Association Sophomore Seminar and being a two-time planner for Young, Not Silent, a local youth conference.