Since 2015, Connecticut has run a statewide civics program that encourages fifth-graders to run for election and vote for a “kid governor." This year, 11-year-old gay Ella Briggs, who is gay and ran on a pro-LGBTQ platform, was sworn in as the “kid governor” at the Old State House in Hartford in January, according to Connecticut Post.
“I will begin important conversations with students and adults all over this great state. We will talk about what it means to be accepting and respectful of everyone, including those of us in the LGBTQ community,” Briggs, who was wearing a blue suit with a rainbow bow tie and kitten heels, said at her swearing-in.
The Connecticut Kid Governor website explains the program as follows:
“Connecticut’s Kid Governor (CTKG) is a national award-winning statewide civics program for 5th graders created by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network (CPAN) in 2015. Timed to coincide with Election Day in November, the program offers each school in Connecticut the opportunity to enter one student candidate into a statewide election that other 5th graders vote in. Classes can vote in the election, nominate a classmate to run for office, or both!”
Briggs, who attends the Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary Magnet School in Avon, was elected by 6,400 fifth-graders from 87 schools across the state, but her journey as an openly gay student hasn’t been easy. At her former school in East Hampton, some kids ostracized her and called her a “dyke,” among other epithets.
Meanwhile, some other kids refused to attend her inauguration, often at their parents’ behest, according to the Post.
“I’m just so happy that most kids in my class came,” Ella said. “There were some kids who pulled out but you can’t do anything about that. Haters going to hate. It’s just so amazing being in a room full of people who accept me. It feels really good.”
Briggs shared part of her story in a short video.
“I like girls, I must be a boy,” Briggs said she initially thought. “I didn’t think to myself, Maybe I’m just gay or lesbian or whatever. Everyone called me he so I’m like, it might just be easier.”
“Then I’m like, actually, I like being a female. It’s a lot more fun,” Briggs said.
The young politician has faced her share of backlash for identifying as a lesbian, including being shut down by a teacher who told her it’s “not appropriate” to discuss the subject.
At her inauguration, Briggs announced that she intends to be the country’s “first lesbian president.”
Watch the video of Briggs below.