At the LGBT Center Orange County’s 2018 Indigo Ball (the Center’s biggest event of the year!), our family was awarded the Torchbearer Award for shining a light for LGBTQ people, children and their families.
It was a night we’ll never forget; in large part because it was C.J.’s first time accepting an award for LGBTQ advocacy and giving a speech to a large crowd. (He also got to stay up late and wear his new hot pink, three-piece tux with rhinestone bow tie.)
Here’s the introduction C.J. received:
C.J. is an 11-year-old, fifth grader who lives in South Orange County and self-identifies as gender nonconforming and a member of the LGBTQ community.
An advocate for non-binary children, he has traveled to Washington D.C. to educate members of the American Academy of Pediatrics about working with gender expansive children and has appeared on The TODAY Show, The Chelsea Handler Show and The Doctors.
C.J. attends one of the largest elementary schools in Orange County, where he has been instrumental in making it the first school in the district to adopt a gender non-specific dress code. The dress code was used as a model for district-wide implementation last school year.
This school year, through a letter writing campaign, C.J. fought for and was successful in putting an end to sex and gender segregation during PE at his school and, then, across the all of the district’s elementary schools.
This June, C.J. will serve as grand marshal of OC Pride – making him the youngest grand marshal in pride history.
Here’s C.J.’s speech, which made my mama-heart burst:
And, finally, click here for a special, congratulatory message from Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka!