Julia Roberts has backed a Missouri students fight to protect LGBT youth within schools in the state.
Miguel Johnson, a 16-year-old student in the town of St. Joseph’s became a GLSEN student ambassador and appeared at the GLSEN Respect Awards to talk about keeping LGBT protections in place in light of Trump’s presidency.
Johnson was joined on stage with Julia Roberts to talk about his own plight for equality in the town.
“I had the pleasure of presenting with Miguel at the GLSEN Respect Awards, and Miguel, like all the students I meet there, is smart, kind and incredibly brace to live their life openly and honestly as such a young age,” Roberts explained.
“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,” she added.
The actor went on to call the President out for contradicting himself.
“Before Trump got elected, he always said he was totally for LGBTQ students, because they’re people too and they deserve an education.
“And then after he got elected, he was basically like, ‘Just kidding, I lied.’”
Johnson’s own school is now seeing changes in protections as the trans-inclusive Title IX guidance has been rescinded, and anti-trans state bills HB202 and SB98 have been introduced.
The student explained that Trump’s own attitude to LGBT issues was having a negative and influential impact on his small town.
“The feeling went from, ‘Trump is supporting LGBTQ students, so I should too,’ to ‘Well, if he doesn’t care, I don’t need to either’,” he said.
However, the student is still working to make his fellow peers’ lives comfortable and encouraging everyone in the town to not “go back in time”.
“I’m still trying to figure out what I can do to feel okay and how to make my friends and fellow students feel okay, and honestly I don’t have an answer. There’s not an easy solution, especially when the person with the most power is messing stuff up.”
He added that progressive thought was key for him to fulfil his goal.
“We need to be progressive. People don’t realise that these things affect people they know and care about. So I’m hoping that the more people come out and speak up, the more people will start realise this affects them too.”