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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 38
White House welcomes young Northwest activists
Section One
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White House welcomes young Northwest activists

Four from region attend policy meeting with top administration officials

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Earlier this week, the Pride Foundation sent four young Pacific Northwest LGBTQ leaders to the White House for a policy roundtable discussion and reception. Seattle was represented by Kyle Rapiñan of Queer Youth Space, a local youth-led organization that promotes cultural arts and activism, health and wellness, and research, education, and employment for Queer youth.

'I am very privileged and lucky to represent the needs of Seattle residents,' Rapiñan told SGN. I will be meeting with cutting-edge legal organizations like the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. I hope to discuss the state of the Queer movement and how we can all shift our movement towards a more just and equitable community. I am very thankful for everyone who supports Pride Foundation and Queer youth vocational development.'

Other young leaders in the delegation included Josh Parrish of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, Heather Purser of the Suquamish Tribe Washington, and Jamee Greer, a well-known LGBT rights activist from Montana.

The four, along with many others from across the country, were invited by the office of Vice President Joe Biden.

INSPIRATIONAL LEADERSHIP
'Each of these young leaders inspires change by working with their local communities - their dedication to and passion for full LGBTQ equality is inspiring,' said Kris Hermanns, executive director of Pride Foundation.

The Pride Foundation was asked by the White House to suggest people who were leading change in their LGBTQ communities to send to the event.

'It's an incredible honor and very humbling to be chosen for something like this when there are so many qualified LGBTQ Montanans working every day for equal treatment under the law, and I couldn't even think of this sort of opportunity happening without their help, including from the folks at Pride Foundation,' said Greer.

Greer was the lead organizer behind the passage of the 2010 Missoula, Montana, equality ordinance, which protects all Missoula residents from discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

'Jamee's work on non-discrimination ordinances in Missoula, Helena, and Bozeman, and his steadfast advocacy for all the underdogs in our society made him a clear choice for this invitation,' said Hermanns.

'We look forward to hearing about the group's adventure in the capital,' said Caitlin Copple, the Pride Foundation's regional development organizer in Montana.

According to the Boise Weekly, the roundtable was expected to focus on community outreach, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal, and the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA.

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