On Thursday night, the Flour Bluff Independent School District (ISD) voted to continue allowing the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) founded by Bianca "Nikki" Peet to meet on the campus of Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. "I am ecstatic," said Nikki in an interview with The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. "We got what we set out for." Recall that Nikki's principal and the Flour Bluff ISD were initially reluctant to Nikki's proposals for the GSA. Nikki, however, was persistent to say the least. After receiving media training from GLAAD, Nikki enlisted the help of local advocates for equality and quickly staged an impressive daylong protest in front of Flour Bluff High School. Nikki also worked with change.org to create a petition that ultimately captured more than 55,000 signatures. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas also came on board by threatening legal action against the Flour Bluff ISD unless the group reversed their decision before a deadline of March 9. In the eleventh hour - literally - the Flour Bluff ISD did just that, voting on March 8 to allow the GSA to meet on campus while the school board reviewed their policy. The GSA at Flour Bluff High School began meeting on campus on April 1, a few months shy of Nikki's high-school graduation and 18th birthday. It's been quite a year for young Nikki, to say the least. On April 10, actress Kirsten Dunst presented Nikki with the Special Recognition Award at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles. In May, Nikki was selected as one of The Advocate’s “Forty Under 40" (see page 2 of the link). To say that Nikki has left an indelible mark on Flour Bluff High School is putting it mildly, as undoubtedly a countless number of youth will benefit from her impressive advocacy efforts for generations to come. "I know firsthand what it's like to be bullied, whether it's because of my disability...my gender or because of the color of my skin," said Nikki. "I know what it feels like to not belong and feel alone, and that's exactly why Flour Bluff needs its Gay-Straight Alliance to show people, both gay and straight alike, that they're not alone, that there is hope, that it does in fact get better." GLAAD applauds the Flour Bluff ISD for reaffirming their commitment to making sure that Flour Bluff High School is a safe space in which all students can learn, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As for Nikki: our GLAAD hats are still off to you! We're so proud of the mark you've made at your alma mater, and we're looking forward in anticipation of all the great things your next chapter holds in store - both for you and the broader movement for equality. Here, here!
Nikki Peet and actress Kirsten Dunst backstage at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles (April 10, 2011).