According to research, the LGBTQ community is more accepted than ever before, and on Saturday afternoon people from across the state gathered at West Virginia University to show their support for Michael, a soon to be 16-year-old student who identifies as a male.
The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of West Virginia, Joseph Cohen, said suicide rates are higher than ever within the transgender community, and this rally is to help spread the word and show support for Michael’s bravery.
“People are here to show Michael and other trans kids they’re supported by the community that they’re supported by lots of people because this is really a matter of life and death,” said Cohen.
A few weeks ago Michael was using the boy’s restroom at his school when the vice principal came into the restroom and started discriminating against him.
“Michael went to use the bathroom and he was followed into the bathroom by an assistant principal who proceeded to berate him and humiliate him and when we met with Michael to talk about the incident his family called us and we went to talk about him we learned that there were it’s been a long term issue, this is the most severe incident but there’s a real cultural problem as there are in a lot of West Virginia schools,” explained Cohen.
The ACLU, Fairness West Virginia and other members of the community gathered for a rally to show their support for Michael and the courage he has shown since the incident.
Fairness West Virginia communications specialist, Billy Wolfe, said Michael has more support not only in West Virginia but around the country.
“We have been so impressed by Michael’s bravery and the support of his family and so we wanted to put this together so that he knew they’re people who don’t even know you personally but they support you they want to come out they want to meet you um and they just want you to know they’re there for you,” said Wolfe.
Michael’s bravery has led Liberty High School to make the necessary changes in the way they treat LGBTQ students and more changes are expected to be made in the near future.