Announcing our 2017 LGBT Youth Leadership Award Winners!

This scholarship pays tribute to the challenges that many LGBT youth face when coming out and recognizes the perseverance it takes to be out as a young person. LGBT youth face higher rates of bullying, depression, substance abuse, and homelessness, in part due to the challenges they face when coming out. These awards will help reduce the financial burden faced by the recipients as they further their education.

This year’s award winners include:

Miles Max Davis-Matthews who graduated from the Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C. Miles played a major role in starting a Gay-Straight Alliance at his high school. From advocating to  have a GSA in his high school, to connecting his peers with resources, Miles is being acknowledged for his strong commitment to helping others. Outside of school, Miles is the first and only transgender person on Smithsonian Secretary’s Youth Advisory Council. In this role, Miles works with others to increase the presence of the LGBT experience in the United States through exhibits at the Smithsonian museums. Miles will be attending The University of Pittsburgh, Bradford, with future goals to start his own nonprofit.

Queen Griffin, a graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda, Maryland. Queen has started her own organization, Keeping the Arts Alive (KAA), which advocates for arts education to remain a well-funded area in schools and reached out to youth programs across Maryland. Queen’s goal through this organization is to allow kids to understand that being different is great, but being yourself is even better. Aside from starting her own organization, Queen also served her community as a leader during her reign as Miss Maryland High School America 2016 and recently through receiving the Distinguished Young Woman of Montgomery County 2017 award. Queen will be attending The University of Miami.

Joshua Horvath, who graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C. Joshua is being recognized for his involvement in Wilson’s Gay-Straight Alliance, SMYAL’s Activist Camp, and his leadership in theatre. By creating new material for his school’s GSA, Joshua educated others on issues facing the transgender community. After deciding to come out as a member of the transgender community, Joshua crafted emails to his teachers asking them to respect his new name and his pronouns. In doing so, he has taught teachers to be respectful of their students’ pronouns and educated his peers on the different identities one can hold. Joshua will be attending Columbia College Chicago.

Brandon Odemns, a graduate of The SEED School of Washington, D.C. Brandon is being recognized for being an active member of his school community by being a leader and advocate in his school’s Student Government Association, spearheading SEED’s GSA, his involvement in theatre, and most importantly, being an advocate for himself once he openly identified as gay. Brandon has faced many challenges in school, but has always persevered. These challenges have taught Brandon a lot about self- acceptance, self love, and strength. Brandon will be attending Temple University with the intention of getting a degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Mass Communications, while maintaining his involvement in LGBT advocacy.

Rowan Woldridge who graduated from McLean High School in Fairfax, Virginia. Rowan held a leadership role in his school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. He organized fundraisers that benefited LGBT homeless shelters. Rowan is being recognized for his ability to educate others about issues facing the transgender community and for his constant search to find justice. Rowan took the lead role in negotiating with his school principal for getting a gender-neutral bathroom, thus allowing other transgender individuals to use that bathroom and provide a safe space for them. Rowan will be attending Virginia Tech.

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