As the battles rage on in America’s schools with dog whistles such as CRT and discriminatory bills such as Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, celebrities and advocates alike are speaking out and bringing attention to how taxpayer dollars are being used to fund LGBTQ+ discrimination at faith-based schools and colleges around America. So much so, that they’ve filmed a PSA (available at www.TheReap.org) where they’ve expressed their support for REAP, the Religious Accountability Exemption Project, an organization that is standing up against powerful corporations and wealthy anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups and fighting to protect the rights of hundreds of thousands of marginalized LGBTQ+ students who attend these schools and universities. The PSAs were organized by Broadway producer and political activist Tom D’Angora, who’s recruited everyone from actress and advocate Alexandra Billings, actor Michael Urie, comedian Margaret Cho, and author and advocate Omar Shariff Jr to participate in the PSA.
All funds raised go directly towards not just advocating for the students impacted, but ensuring that they are heard and protected as they stand up for LGBTQ+ acceptance and against the hateful rhetoric being spread at these institutes of higher learning. Just last year, REAP filed a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of 33 plaintiffs from 25 evangelical and LDS colleges in eighteen states. During the past year, the plaintiffs have quickly grown to forty students in twenty different states. The plaintiffs include both current students (many using aliases to protect their identity to ensure their safety), students who have been recently expelled, as well as alumni who themselves have suffered conversion therapy and/or disciplinary action.
“Like most Americans, I was unaware that my tax dollars were being used to discriminate against and punish LGBTQ+ students at some religious universities for living their truth,” says D’Angora, a long-time advocate and activist who has raised over well over a million dollars with virtual fundraisers that benefitted organizations such as The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative and helped save the historic Birdland Jazz Club, said “REAP opened my eyes and I am proud to join their fight.”
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