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Derrick Martin and Constance McMillen Continue to Lead on LGBT Issues

July 21, 2010

Note: I’m excited to announce that as of last week, I’m also now also writing for AMERICAblog Gay.  Generally, I’ll be posting on the similar topics, but not simply posting the same piece on both blogs.  While a lot of the writing at Leave It To Seaver will not be at AMERICAblog Gay, most writing that appears there will be mentioned here. This post, however, appears on both sites.

With the intense coverage in the press of high school proms and the stand that a few brave teens took this year, we have a couple inspiring updates. First we had Constance McMillen, whose Mississippi school canceled prom rather than let her attend with her girlfriend and then allowed a decoy prom. Since then, she has been invited to events around the nation, and most importantly, recently won her lawsuit argued by the ACLU.

The other memorable prom story was of Derrick Martin, who asked to bring his boyfriend to prom. After a long delay, the school district allowed him to, at which point he was kicked out of his home by his parents. Yet, despite this, he became an advocate for LGBTQ youth issues and went on to recently start Project LifeVest, partnering with The Trevor Project, Gays And Lesbians United Against Discrimination and Sean’s Last Wish.

Martin described Project LifeVest in a recent interview with Waymon Hudson at The Huffington Post (worth a read):

Project LifeVest is an organization dedicated to helping LGBTQ youths in need. If a teen is kicked out for being gay, and has nowhere to turn, we will do whatever we can to help. If someone falls under the scrutiny of the media, like I did when I came out saying I was going to prom, we will be there to direct the media, to be a wall of protection from the stress that comes with media.

We also want to be there for anyone who is injured because of hate or discrimination. We have already worked with a kid whose father, in a fit of rage, stabbed him in the leg with a rusty shovel. We have the connections, and the passion to help those who need it. Discrimination is something that no one should have to endure, especially alone.

There is something truly remarkable about someone who is only a senior in high school and can a) take a stand that results in national media attention despite real personal consequences, and b) turn what would be devastating to most into something that benefits others. You can find out more about Project LifeVest here.

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