GLAAD holds Rising Stars Grants Luncheon in New York

Today, GLAAD held its Rising Stars Grants Luncheon to award grants to three college students for their LGBTQ advocacy work. The luncheon was hosted by Tyler Oakley with Gigi Gorgeous, Alex Newell, Raymond Braun, Survivor's Zeke Smith, Gavin Grimm, Levi Foster, and Royce Mann in attendance. The GLAAD Rising Stars program empowers and invests in the next generation of LGBTQ change makers, whose advocacy is changing their local cities and the culture at large. Grants are awarded annually to LGBTQ youth who champion intersectional issues with their advocacy efforts. GLAAD’s Rising Stars Grants are presented by Coca-Cola, Delta and Turner.

During the event, GLAAD screened videos from Google’s Trans Voices campaign with an introduction by Gigi Gorgeous. The Trans Voices campaign tells the stories of inspiring changemakers who are redefining what it means to be transgender in our country today. Additionally Alex Newell performed 'True Colors' and Gavin Grimm spoke about his Supreme Court case.

The Rising Stars Grants recipients were: 

Aisha Bibbs, a senior majoring in Communications at the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY. She currently serves as the marketing director for U of L’s LGBT Center and plans to continue her studies in an MBA program this upcoming fall. As a Rising Stars Grant recipient, she will work to create mass media content, including the design of training, branding, and student resource materials for both the university and the city of Louisville to further promote equality and inclusivity.

Monique Swirsky, a junior majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Entrepreneurship, Leadership studies, and Philosophy at Elon University in Elon, NC. Monique is a NAACP member and is currently researching how to create more empowering campuses for LGBTQ+ students in NC in the wake of HB 2. As a Rising Stars Grant recipient she will establish an online and print news source focused on highlighting stories of marginalized communities, such as LGBTQ people, people of color, and religious minorities, and emphasizing what allies of these communities can do to get involved and help combat hate groups.

Joon Park, a junior majoring in Economics at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA. Much of their activism focuses on fostering intersectional spaces, specifically for Queer/Trans People of Color. As a Rising Stars Grant recipient, Joon plans on strengthening the relationship between the queer alumni network and the current undergraduate LGBTQ+ student body at Boston College, and creating a robust, united front that can help facilitate the ongoing creation of intersectional and LGBTQ-inclusive spaces at their university.