Get A Hold Of This Political Star!
The state of Connecticut has just gotten its first gay kid governor.
In the past four years, Connecticut has run an annual program that encourages political activeness in school children. The program then holds an election for a 5th grade “kid governor.” Each elementary school then enters one student candidate for the statewide election. Every 5th grader then votes to elect the winner.
According to the Connecticut Post, this year’s winner is none other than 11-year-old Ella Briggs who is openly gay. Briggs, who attends the Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary Magnet School in Avon, ran on a pro-LGBTQ platform for the 5th grade election.
“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 stated during her swear-in after being elected by 6,400 fifth-graders statewide.
But Briggs’ win didn’t come without struggle. Several of her classmates didn’t attend her inauguration and most were due to their parents’ wishes. But ever the optimist, Ella expressed joy anyway.
“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.”
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According to the Connecticut Mirror, this isn’t the first time that Ella Briggs has experienced rejection for being openly gay at such a young age.
“I just told some kids and then kaplouie,” Ella remembered when talking about how her third grade classmates started ignoring her after she’d came out.
Ella Briggs also expressed how a substitute teacher reacted negatively after she called herself a lesbian.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, we are not talking about that right now,” said the teacher. “That is not school appropriate. Someone else?”
“It really hurt my feelings,” Ella explained. “I cried in the bathroom and I don’t want kids to feel like that because like I already didn’t feel like I fit in at that school.”
Despite pushback, Ella Briggs is confident in being openly gay. According to the Hartford Courant, she began to suspect this part of herself back when she was in kindergarten.
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Coming Out And Rising Up
At the time, Briggs’ teacher instructed the class’ girls to put a skirt on their construction paper cutout and the boys to use pants instead. Ella refused.
“I’m like, ‘heck to the no, I want to put a bow tie and pants on my gingerbread man,’” she recalls.
Her teacher’s reaction was to throw out her gingerbread person and send Briggs to the “naughty chair.”
Ella’s parents then took her out of that school. Unfortunately, Ella received a similar experience at her next school. That’s when she moved to the inclusive Magnet academy where she was recently elected.
Now as Kid Governor, Ella Briggs hopes to support LGBTQ kids like herself, those who have already discovered their feelings and those who may come later. To do so, she pledged to help kids set up Gay Straight Alliances in their schools, raise awareness about homeless LGBTQ youth, and train teachers to better handle their LGBTQ students. She has even set up meetings to talk to administrative and political leaders like East Hampton superintendent Paul Smith.
And after Kid Governor, Ella Briggs has plans to move on to becoming the first lesbian President.