This fall, Rockville, Maryland’s newest public elementary school will be the first in the district named for an openly gay person: Bayard Rustin.
Advocates say naming the school Bayard Rustin Elementary is a way to fight stigma, honor a civil rights legend who is often overlooked, and uplift and validate LGBTQ students.
“As a queer student, even in a progressive area, I was raised in a society that still attaches shame to my identity,” Jamie Griffith, a senior from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, testified to the board. “So a Bayard Rustin Elementary School is not only a well-deserved homage to a civil rights leader and hero, but a way to break stigma and give hope to future students who no longer have to feel trapped in the closet.”
Naming the school after Rustin would also raise awareness of an activist who’s largely been ignored by history because of his identity, advocates said Thursday. Rustin stood alongside Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement and was a leading organizer of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. […]
The recognition of LGBTQ identities is gaining additional significance in the current political climate, testified Gabriel Acevero, a Montgomery Village resident who is running for state delegate.
“We have a hostile administration that is intent on erasing LGBTQ folks, recently taking us off the Census and banning transgender Americans from serving their country,” Acevero said. “Now more than ever we need to affirm LGBTQ youth, and that’s why Bayard Rustin is such a powerful name for this school.”
Could not love this more.