Forty Under 40: Activism
BY Advocate.com Editors
May 05 2009 11:00 PM ET
James Neiley | High school student | 17 | Charlotte, Vt.
James Neiley had always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion or business, but after offering emotional testimony in support of same-sex marriage before Vermont's legislature in March, the high school junior says he's now considering a career in activism. Just one week after turning 17, Neiley pleaded for equal rights, arguing: "Without marriage equality, the boys in the locker room during gym class who harassed me are encouraged to believe that my sexuality means there is something different, wrong, and lesser about me." His speech landed him on political blogs and on the front page of several daily papers throughout New England. "His authenticity comes straight through," says Christopher Neff, executive director of Outright Vermont, which arranged for Neiley to deliver his testimony. Response from family and friends has been overwhelmingly positive, but as many 17-year-olds would, he neglected to inform his mom that he was testifying until it was nearly time for him to do so. "I sometimes forget to tell my parents things," he says. "I told her [about the testimony] a day before. She was like, 'You what?' But my family is so supportiveâ€¦I'm very lucky."
- Politics Gay Former Republican Congressman Condemns Interparty Discrimination 33 min 41 sec ago
- World News Putin Tightens Grip on Kremlin-Run News Agencies 38 min 37 sec ago
- Film Redbox Picks Up Bridegroom Despite Rule Against Documentaries 47 min 29 sec ago
- Travel Super Seniors of the Palm Springs Follies Prepare for the End 51 min 48 sec ago
- Acceptance Matters WATCH: We Wish Every Coming Out Got a Hug-a-Thon 1 hour 1 min ago
- Marriage Equality Antigay Think Tank Could Use a Copy Editor 1 hour 5 min ago
- Transgender Third Cleveland-Area Trans Woman Murdered in Past Year 1 hour 49 min ago