Graeme Taylor: Role Model, Hero and Everyday Teen

Gay teen Graeme Taylor will appear on “The Ellen DeGeneres” show after giving an inspirational speech to the school board on behalf of his suspended teacher, Jay McDowell.

Fourteen-year-old Graeme Taylor is proof that it doesn’t matter how old you to stand up for what’s right.

On Oct. 20, National Bullying Day, economics teacher Jay McDowell of Michigan’s Howell High School was wearing a purple shirt to show his support. He noticed a student wearing a Confederate flag belt buckle and asked him to remove it. The student probed McDowell about what the difference was between a Confederate flag and the rainbow flag, the unity symbol for the gay community. McDowell tried to explain the difference, to which the student responded, “I don’t accept gays. It’s against my religion,” according to On Top magazine.

McDowell suspended the student for one day. The school board, in turn, suspended McDowell (without pay) for violating the student’s First Amendment rights and for wearing a “controversial” purple shirt. When school officials had a board meeting to discuss the issue, Taylor stood up loud and proud for his teacher.

On Top reported that Taylor said, “I’ve been in classrooms where children have said the worst things. The kinds of things that drove me to a suicide attempt when I was only 9 years old. These are the things that hurt a lot. There is a silent holocaust out there, in which an estimated 6 million gay people every year kill themselves. He did an amazing thing. He did something that inspired a lot of people.”

Video footage of Taylor’s speech went viral (it’s since been removed from Youtube due to copyright infringements) and caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres. She was so inspired by his words that she invited him to be a guest on her show. On Mon. Nov. 22, Taylor will talk to Ellen about why he spoke up on behalf of his teacher.

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