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Brennan Lewis
Chapel Hill, NC

While in high school Brennan founded QueerNC, an organization designed to connect teenagers in rural and urban areas of North Carolina, providing a safe and inclusive space online and in person. It’s become a central place for queer North Carolina youth to share ideas, discuss problems they are facing, and more. Part of that success, Brennan explained, has come from the wider visibility for transgender and genderqueer people across the country, including in North Carolina, which drew national headlines in 2016 after the passage of the shameful, discriminatory HB2, the law that restricted restroom access for transgender people. Brennan identifies as gender-queer; while many people know from a very young age that they are either a boy or a girl, that is not true for everyone – some people, including Brennan, know that neither term fits, and so they use a term like gender-queer to describe their gender and “they/them” pronouns.

“There are many, many people who want to love and support people who don’t have the knowledge to do that yet,” Brennan said. “But over time, being really open and candid about my experience and about who I am as a genderqueer person has helped some people in my life become advocates for LGBTQ people. Me  making an attempt to be vulnerable has helped them understand what I was experiencing and has encouraged them to go out and be a better ally.”

Read More Stories By:  Campaign for Southern Equality

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