Monday, April 18, 2011

Young Gay Activist Nabs Prom Queen Title

 via Ken Pierce on FB,originally posted April 17

Jason Galisatus is well known in his school for leading their successful Gay-Straight Alliance club for the past three years. He is also well known for his many speaking engagements supporting marriage equality and safe-schools and has been quoted in national publications. Yesterday Galisatus became well known at his high school for another reason. The out 17-year-old was crowned Prom Queen, a coveted honor usually reserved for a popular female.

Galisatus has never backed away from making a statement, and encouraging others to do the same. Reminiscent of a popular Lady Gaga song, "Born This Way", about running for Prom Queen he remarked, "I had several reasons why I decided to run in the first place. First I wanted to show people that I could run. Another reason is I wanted to send a message out to all the little gay boys out there that if they want to be King, Queen, Prince or Princess, they can be whoever they want to be."

His decision to run for Prom Queen rather then King made him a target for those who were less tolerant of LGBT people. On a popular site, Formspring where you can ask any question without your identity being known to the person Galisatus said, "Yeah I got several threatening messages like ‘If you run, everyone will hate you!’ and ‘Just because you’re a fag doesn’t mean you can change the way things are.’ Of course the words hurt, but it made me even more determined about running. It also was satisfying to actually get enough votes from my peers to win. I took a stand and proved them wrong."

Galisatus is in the final stages of planning an event at his school, Aragon High School in San Mateo, CA. "Bay Area Youth Summit" was an idea he had to gather professionals, youth, lawmakers, and school administrators and talk about the problem of bullying in schools and the community. Organizing such activities has become a passion for this senior. Running for Prom Queen was another way to make a stand for equality.

Talking about how he felt when the Prom Court was announced Galisatus stated, "My name was immediately accompanied with a deafening cheer, in that moment I was overwhelmed with a sense of acceptance. I remember the days just a couple of years ago at my school when I thought the entire school hated me because of the gender I loved. Things have come such a long way in terms of acceptance of those who are different. I was grateful not only for myself, but for the entire lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender community at the school who has been dying to break the restrictive norms of high school. I’m proud to have been one of the first to do so."

Taking another male student as his date to the prom was not a big deal for Galisatus or for the school. When taking the official court pictures with the Prom King who was the boyfriend of one of the three nominees for Queen, he smiled and said, "My King was a great sport. He’s really open-minded and he put his arm around me for the Prom Court pictures."

Next year Jason "Power Gay" Galisatus will be headed for Stanford University and no doubt continue inspiring others to be who they are and take a stand for their civil rights in ways that will make a difference.

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