UNITED STATES: The #itsoktosaygay youth movement

[25 May 2011] - Seventeen-year-old gay rights advocate Devon Hicks spoke to CBSNews.com's "What's Trending" about the Tennessee "Don't Say Gay" bill.

The bill would effectively ban talk about homosexuality in middle and elementary schools. He also joined panelists Chris Hardwick and George Takei to talk about the importance of taking a stand on gay rights using online platforms.

Hicks explained why he is getting involved, and the importance of Facebook and Twitter as tools for change in today's generation. He stated that even though he is not personally gay, he finds the bill to be wrong because he has many gay friends and can understand the difficulties they face, especially in a conservative state such as Tennessee. Hicks continued the conversation after his segment by answering questions and receiving praise from supporters of his activism. 

On his website, Hicks outlines his goal: "I've got a passion I'd like to share with you, a passion that's all about using technology to help foster change." 

He stuck to his mission statement after hearing about the "Don't Say Gay" bill -- a Tennessee bill that would prohibit children in elementary school and middle school from addressing the issue of homosexuality in the classroom.

Upon hearing of the potential law Hicks cried foul. Believing the bill to be unjust, he started a Facebook group protesting the bill and created a social media movement against the initiative. Hicks was the first to hashtag #itsoktosaygay, which became a trend on twitter and has received national attention as student-run rallies protesting the bill in that name have taken place.

The bill managed to make it through the Senate at a 19-11 vote, despite protesters united by the social media sites. The legislation has yet to make it to the Tennessee's House. 


Further Information:

Shira Laz

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