Miles Gorman, Morristown High School Student and Climate, Autism, and LGBTQ+ Activist, Speaks At LGBTQ+ Housing Symposium on Capitol Hill.
Miles Gorman, Climate, Autism, and LGBTQ+ rights activist, is a 15-year-old Morristown, NJ resident and student of Morristown High School.
On April 28, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, Miles Gorman appeared on a panel hosted by the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance and spoke about what life is like for kids in the crosshairs of recent transphobic legislation.
Miles began by speaking about the main difference between climate activism and LGBTQ+ activism.
“When you’re going after…the Koch brothers [or a] fossil fuel company,…it’s greed…and not so much personal. They’re not trying to personally fill your lungs with coal dust, they’re just trying to make money so that theirs aren’t.”
“With LGBTQ+ activism, it is personal…they’re not going after you because you’re disrupting their…cashflow. They’re going after you because they personally have hate towards you – a 15-year-old they have never met. And that takes a toll.”
“It also means you have to completely shift your tactics, from Let’s figure out how to make this unprofitable; Let’s figure out how to mess with the PR on this… to [Let’s] change their opinion…it’s a very deeply rooted…opinion. And that’s a pretty hard switch to just flip back and forth as you go from climate activism to LGBTQ+ activism…”
Miles also touched on recent legislation in states across the U.S., displaying an impressive knowledge of state legislature for a person of any age.
“This huge wave started with bills that target transgender youth, and it obviously moved on to Don’t Say Gay…six hours out in below freezing in the pouring rain holding signs…”
Miles was passionate about the topic, and although upfront with the audience about the nerves of public speaking, Miles was cracking intelligent jokes that got big laughs from a full room.
“Every state saw that [wave] and said how do we make it worse?” the crowd chuckled; Miles was funny.
“The Alabama Duo…is the worst we’ve seen yet, and it also got nearly no media attention.”
“Alabama Duo” refers to two bills passed in April of this year in Alabama’s Republican-controlled legislature that target children who are transgender, with one bill making it a felony for a doctor to administer gender-affirming health care to minors.
Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bills into law Friday, April 8, 2022.
“There are very real challenges facing our young people, especially with today’s societal pressures and modern culture. I believe very strongly that if the Good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy, and if he made you a girl, you are a girl. We should especially protect our children from these radical, life-altering drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable stage in life. Instead, let us all focus on helping them to properly develop into the adults God intended them to be,” said Governor Kay Ivey, according to a statement from her press office.
Miles spoke on serious topics but managed to captivate the crowd and get lots of laughs. Between laughter, someone from the audience asks, “what was it like to be a trans youth in this environment?” Miles keeps them laughing, and answers beautifully.
“It hits especially close to home for me and my family.”
“Nowhere is it safe to be a transgender youth right now.”
“Kids I know in other states, other activists I talk to…have been significantly harmed [by this legislation]…they’re being driven into depression and things like suicide and self-harm – which we’re already at a [high] risk for.”
“I’m 15, I should be going out with friends and studying for exams and enjoying my teenage years and doing whatever it is normal kids do - I’m autistic and queer and my favorite activity is reading books. You fill in the blanks, I’m sure you all had great high school experiences.” Miles, once more, kept the room laughing.
“I shouldn’t be worried whether another governor will take away my rights."
“These people are taking my childhood from me.”
“[This] massive wave of new legislation…directly targets kids like me…”
“I’m really scared…there’s a massive wave of transphobia and homophobia that’s coming with that legislation and people are feeling emboldened to express that hate.”
Despite the fear, Miles showed bravery, saying, “We have had to do this before, and we will do it again. We’re going to keep fighting because that’s what we’ve always done.”
“We’ve won before, and we’ll do it again.”
Before closing, Miles pointed out what we can do today to support the rights of all –
“The most important thing right now is the Equality Act…federal legislation is the only thing that can stop these rogue governors and state legislators.”
Support the Equality Act through the Human Rights Campaign.
Follow Miles Gorman on Instagram @thestrikebike.