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There Is A Queer Agenda: Creating Brave Inclusive Care Communities for LGBTQIA Students & Staff

There Is A Queer Agenda: Creating Brave Inclusive Care Communities for LGBTQIA Students & Staff
by Craig Martin

Opening Remarks: There Is A Queer Agenda: Fullying Embracing The Humanity of Our LGBTQIA Youth. Creating Brave Inclusive Care Communities for LGBTQIA Students & Staff by Craig Martin

I am elated to stand with each of you today as a proud Queer Black Male Educator, Leader, Husband, Brother, and Friend. It is my privilege and honor to share this sacred space with you today.

We are here today because the beauty of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual members of our human family find our light threatened by those who have yet to hold our being in the regard its due.

Today, we are coming together to continue the conversations we are having in our brave care spaces, our homes, with our confidants, or even in the sanctity of our minds and hearts. I am hopeful that we are able to experience curiosity, care, courage, empathy, and cheer as our panel shares anecdotes, insights, and sorrows that clothe their journeys through time and space.

As you settle in, hold close–dear loved ones who need your affirmation, tenderness, and consideration as they navigate an incredibly complex existence that few truly understand. Beloved Writer and Thought Leader, James Baldwin, said: “Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”Our explorations in discourse should raise, in honor, wonderful beings like

  • Mackenzie Atwood, who spoke up at the Franklin Public Schools Committee Meeting,
  • Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, a transgender man, was killed on January 9 in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. Samuel was looking forward to starting a new year. On January 1, he posted on his Facebook, “a new year to come, grateful for all the experiences who [taught] me how strong we really are, to life, to good and bad, and for all justice that is forth to come.” He also spoke out against violence in Puerto Rico, expressing his hope for a Puerto Rico without killings.
  • Jahaira DeAlto, a 42-year-old transgender woman, was killed on May 2 in Boston, Mass. A well-known and beloved transgender advocate, advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and member of the ballroom community, Jahaira was a member of the House of Balenciaga and was a founder of Berkshire Transgender Day of Remembrance and Berkshire Pride Festival. She shared on Twitter, “I am the mother who raised the children whose rainbow sparkled too brightly and blinded their birth moms… I know what gratitude in the eyes of a young person who finally feels seen looks like. And for me, that’s enough.”
  • Jordan Burnham, a 17-year old high schooler in Philadelphia, who survived a ninth floor suicide leap. He was a varsity golfer and baseball pitcher. He was sports anchor on the school's morning news show, and called the play-by-play for high school football and basketball games on local cable TV.
  • Denise, 19, a high school senior in Wellesley, lives with her mother and six siblings. She struggles with depression and anxiety, largely driven by conflict at home and the lingering trauma of a sexual assault.
  • a lesbian elementary art teacher in Texas was suspended in 2017 after she told her students about her wife. In a statement, the Mansfield Independent school district said conversations about sexual orientation are not age-appropriate for elementary students, and “parents have the right to control the conversation with their children.”
  • Victoria Thompson taught middle school math and science in South Carolina, an employment-at-will state with no employment protections for LGBTQ workers, she was reluctant to come out. While she didn’t think her administrators would fire her for being gay, she was worried about parents’ reactions.

And so many more whom we could share in admiration today…

Today, we stand for the..

  • 52 percent of LGBTQIA young people enrolled in middle and high school reported either electronic or in-person bullying in the past year.
  • 29 percent of LGBTQIA middle school students who were bullied and attempted suicide in the past year,
  • 32 percent of transgender and nonbinary young people who were bullied and attempted suicide
  • LGBTQIA adults who are housing insecure, food insecure, clinically depressed, unable to secure appropriate medical care, incarcerated or suffocating with the throes civil unrest
  • And more..

I’ll close with words that inspires my heart to keep pushing harder especially for members of the LGBTQIA community:

“I am deliberate and afraid of nothing,"--Audre Lorde

May we find ourselves emboldened to take intentional steps towards acceptance, equity, justice, and liberation.

Welcome to our panel!

Video Link:

Resource Links & Panelists Bios:


Human Rights Campaign. “Fatal Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2021” Retrieved on 12.9.21 from:

Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, Report & Recommendations 2021. Retrieved on 12.7.21 from:

Mastroianni, Brian. “LGBTQ Youth are Still Experiencing High Rates of Bullying In-Person & Online”. Retrieved on 12.7.21 from:

Will, Madeline. “LGBTQ Teachers Await Decision On Discrimination Protections.” January 2020.

Retrieved on 12.8.21 from: