Transgender ‘Bully’ teen visits the White House for National Day of Silence

Posted on 19 Apr 2012 at 2:57pm
DRIVEN TO THE BRINK Kelby Johnson attempted suicide three times before her parents, with nowhere else to turn, contacted Ellen DeGeneres, who in turn put them in touch with Director Lee Hirsch. (Courtesy of The Weinstein Company)

DRIVEN TO THE BRINK Kelby Johnson attempted suicide three times before her parents, with nowhere else to turn, contacted Ellen DeGeneres, who in turn put them in touch with Director Lee Hirsch. (Courtesy of The Weinstein Company)

Kelby Johnson, the transgender teen portrayed in the film Bully, will attend a showing of the film at the White House on Friday for National Day of Silence, according to an email sent by GLSEN.

Last week, Dallas Voice ran a story about the film and was the first LGBT media outlet to interview Johnson as a transgender teen. In the film, Johnson is referred to as lesbian and came out as transgender after the production wrapped.

Johnson and his father will be in D.C. today and tomorrow advocating for federal safe schools protections.

GLSEN has arranged meetings for the Johnsons with their Oklahoma representatives, with Rep. Mike Honda who recently started the anti-bullying caucus, with Rep. Linda Sanchez who is the lead sponsor for the Safe Schools Improvement Act and with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

This summer, Kelby will become a GLSEN intern in the D.C. office.

After the jump are additional details of the Johnsons’ D.C. visit:

Oklahoma Family Featured in Bully Documentary to Visit Washington, DC During
GLSEN’s National Day of Silence® to Advocate for Federal Safe Schools Protections

WHAT: Kelby Johnson, who shared his personal experience with anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (anti-LGBT) bullying in the new documentary Bully and his supportive father Bob Johnson will join GLSEN during the National Day of Silence to advocate for safe schools legislation in Washington, DC. GLSEN has worked with Kelby and Bob to arrange meetings with representatives and senior level administration officials to share their personal experiences with bullying and to lend their voices in support of federal safe schools protections including the Safe Schools Improvement Act (H.R. 1648/S.506) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 998/S.555). On the National Day of Silence, Kelby and Bob will also speak at a White House screening of Bully immediately followed by a panel discussion including GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard and reception hosted by GLSEN.

WHEN: Thursday, April 19, 2012
11 a.m. — Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)
1:30 p.m. — Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
2 p.m. — Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK)
3:30 p.m. — Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)

Friday, April 20, 2012
9:15 a.m. — Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
3 p.m. — White House screening of Bully, panel discussion and reception
*Additional meetings are still being confirmed for Kelby Johnson and Bob Johnson

WHO: Kelby Jonson (age 19) currently resides in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. After being removed from school by his parents, he went to work full time and earned his G.E.D. Kelby recently left his job and has been traveling extensively to promote the documentary Bully across the country for The Weinstein Company. He recently accepted an internship with GLSEN in the hopes of utilizing the publicity surrounding the release of the film to lobby for legislation aimed at creating a safe school environment for all students. He hopes to continue working in this capacity.

Bob Johnson (age 43) resides with his wife of 21 years, Londa Johnson, in Tuttle, Oklahoma. They have three children, Kelby (19); Houston (17) and; Mayne (8). Mayne was adopted after Bobby’s sister passed away from cancer three years ago. He is employed by Petra Industries, Inc. in Edmond, Oklahoma as Vice President of Distribution. He has been with Petra since 2000 and is responsible for three distribution facilities employing roughly 120 full time associates. Both he and Londa feel a very heavy burden to end the bullying crisis in our schools after encountering first-hand the devastating effects of school-based harassment and assault as documented in Bully.

ONLINE: Please follow us on Twitter at @dayofsilence and join the conversation. We are also using the hashtag #DayofSilence .

MORE: GLSEN’s National Day of Silence is a day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth experience harassment at school each year because of who they are. This year, students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and nearly 50 countries around the world have registered to participate in the Day of Silence. In total, GLSEN estimates more than half of a million students have participated in the event since 2001. For more information, please visit www.dayofsilence.org.

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN’s research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, please visit www.glsen.org

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