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BY Advocate Contributors

April 24 2012 1:56 AM ET

Mallory Wells • 26
Gainesville, Fla.
Public Policy Director, Equality Florida

Mallory Wells knows the people of Florida. Born in Lakeland, raised in Orlando, now living in Gainesville, the 26-year-old bisexual is the only lobbyist in Tallahassee solely devoted to LGBT issues.

“The state legislature in Florida is a lot more conservative than the people of Florida are, and it can be difficult at times,” Wells says. “Four years ago people used to tell me they didn’t have any gay people in their district, and most legislators did not understand that LGBT Floridians can be fired from their jobs just because of who they are. Now every single legislator has had an LGBT person sit in their office and explain to them what it is like to be an LGBT Floridian.”

Mallory helped pass an LGBT-inclusive antibullying bill (“the first time the words ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity’ were uttered on the floor of the Florida House and Senate,” she says), and her next goal is helping to elect Florida’s first out legislator. She just needs to find a candidate first.

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