Actress Julia Roberts has shown support to students fighting for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) rights in the US.
Transgender student leader in St. Joseph’s, Missouri, Miguel Johnson Johnson, spoke on stage alongside Roberts at the GLSEN Respect Awards, an event benefitting the national organisation that works to keep schools safe for LGBTQ youth.
“I had the pleasure of presenting with Miguel at last year’s GLSEN Respect Awards, and Miguel, like all the students I meet there, is smart, kind and incredibly brave to live their life openly and honestly at such a young age,” Roberts said in a statement to people.com.
“As a parent, I want all students to feel safe and protected at school, and I stand with Miguel and trans students across the country. You are loved.”
Last year, Johnson was cautiously optimistic about the upcoming election, which featured a Republican candidate who had openly acknowledged the LGTQ community.
Trump even suggested reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner would be welcome to use the bathroom of her choosing at Trump Tower.
“Before Trump got elected, he always said he was totally for LGBTQ students because they’re people too and they deserve an education,” Johnson told people.com.
“And then after he got elected, he was basically like, ‘Just kidding, I lied.'”
On February 22, Trump overruled his own Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to rescind Obama-era protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.
Instead, the Trump administration argued it should be up to the states and local school districts to establish “educational policy”.
Johnson blames Trump’s flip-flopping on LGBTQ issues with changing the atmosphere of acceptance in his small town.