Watch: Young Gay Student Defends Teacher At School Board Meeting

14-year-old student Graeme Taylor, who is openly gay, bravely stood up for Ann Arbor teacher, Jay McDowell at a recent school board meeting. McDowell was disciplined on October 20 for removing two students who had made anti-gay remarks in class. During his speech in support of his teacher, Taylor revealed his problems with bullying and even talked about a suicide attempt at the age of nine.

Watch young Taylor's very mature and highly inspiring speech, AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. What an amazing guy! Can we give him a medal or something? Ellen? Get this guy a scholarship!

    Posted by: Fausto Fernos | Nov 14, 2010 4:12:06 PM

  2. To Chuck Bielke, I'm not sure if you read my comment, but if only one million people in total (gay and everyone else) commit suicide every year as surmised based on studies around the world, then I'm not sure how six million gay people in the world commit suicide every year. Six million gay people committing suicide would absolutely be an epidemic, but I don't think the number is actually that high.

    Posted by: SFNative | Nov 14, 2010 5:04:56 PM

  3. what a brave kid...

    Posted by: alan brickman | Nov 14, 2010 7:56:47 PM

  4. This kid is wicked awesome! :D

    Note to Tank: so 6 million was a figure that's a bit overestimated (I know where he got the number from and I'm not holding it against him -- just a simple error in memory that's all). But still, any number of suicides over zero is still a number that's WAY too high.

    Posted by: Ed-M | Nov 14, 2010 8:02:35 PM

  5. @Tank"So why not just say a billion? One billion gay people killed themselves last year alone..."

    Why not say "one". Isn't one, one too many?

    Posted by: Gray | Nov 14, 2010 10:04:17 PM

  6. Nice move from suicide attempt at nine to articulate advocate at fourteen...an inspiration to kids everywhere.

    The upsurge of self esteem in the LGBT community is very refreshing.

    Posted by: mark | Nov 14, 2010 11:11:26 PM

  7. Tank--you are a blog hemorrhoid--burning the ass of gay humanity. Please go heal yourself and disappear permanently.

    Posted by: Mike | Nov 15, 2010 12:02:54 AM

  8. @Rowan, thank you for explaining Derek's disappearance. I miss him.

    As for the rest of you, please just ignore Tank entirely. Responding to him simply fuels him and gives him the attention he so desperately craves.

    Posted by: Paul R | Nov 15, 2010 12:49:32 AM

  9. Actually, I'm with Tank on this one. Sure it is annoying when someone jumps in and asks a question about a little detail while the whole picture is beautiful, but he corrected that later when stating his full opinion about the speech. Obviously it is incredibly brave and amazing what this boy did, but there are enough comments about that already.

    As any good sceptic will tell you, just because an admirable person makes a claim, does not make it automatically true. Six million sounded a lot to Tank, it does to me too, and I wonder if it's any way accurate, as did he. I mean, all he did was ask if it was really true. And instead of replying with a link to a credible site, you guys just started insulting him. How about saving the insults for those who say negative things, instead of just people who ask questions?

    For me, I am curious as well whether the student was correct and whether the number is really that high (I doubt it is), but either way I could forgive his non-sceptical behaviour: at that age you tend to simply belief what you read.

    For those interested, 3000 people commit suicide daily, and 60000 people try to commit suicide daily. This means roughly one million a year and about 20 million attempts. See: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/annual/world_suicide_prevention_day/en/index.html

    China has about 300,000 suicides a year (http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=116x10675) and they make up 20% of the population (http://geography.about.com/od/populationgeography/a/chinapopulation.htm). In China suicide rates are higher, but even assuming those rates are representative, then only 1.5 million people commit suicide daily. Even assuming they all did it because they are gay, it's only a quarter of what the student claimed.

    So no, the student is not correct. Tank was right to point that out. Does it make the boy any less amazing? Not really; it is an amazing speech he gave and I certainly would not have had the courage to come out as a gay person and support a teacher at his age. Does it make all of you dicks for jumping on Tank merely for noticing a tiny error? Yup, pretty much does.

    Posted by: WriterBen01 | Nov 15, 2010 5:45:53 AM

  10. Holy shit, amazing!!!! This young man plus those high school kids who protested Fred Phelps back in 2009 (http://www.towleroad.com/2009/02/fred-phelps-and.html) give me crazy amounts of hope.

    Posted by: David Christopher | Nov 15, 2010 7:44:49 AM

  11. A brave and articulate young man....and a perfect foil for the bitter ravings of a John McCain and one TANK.

    Posted by: mcNnyc | Nov 15, 2010 9:42:08 AM

  12. I am a 49 year old gay man! I am proud of the person I have become! This young person stood up and spoke for those who cannot or will not.
    This young man should be applauded and hugged, it took great courage and strength to speak before a group of people! I truly hope that someday, my actions will be judged, not who I am!
    I take my hat off to this young man, he stood up and spoke! I was a victim of bullies many years ago, I was beaten up, my car vandalized and I was taunted, this all took place on school grounds! There were no teachers or staff willing to come and say STOP! I see the future of the Gay movement in good hands!

    Posted by: Mark Grantham | Nov 15, 2010 10:12:50 AM

  13. The error does not negate the power of the speech or its message. If it were an accounting error that completely through off a balance sheet, for example, that would be different.

    People are not attacking Tank because he pointed out the error. They are attacking him because his idea of a good time is to come on Towleroad every day and be insulting, condescending, or just plain mean.

    His favorite tactics, however, are playing devil's advocate to antagonize people--and finding fault with things that everyone supports or likes. This is what he is doing here. He's like the kid who in the classroom who resents the other kids for having fun so he spends his time trying to ruin their fun by tattling or sabotaging whatever they happen to be enjoying. His idea of fun is keeping everyone else from really having any.

    In a child this kind of behavior is called immaturity. But for an adult to sign into a blog and do this daily (and repeatedly) is probably some kind of indicator of sadistic/sociopathic tendencies.

    Posted by: Mike | Nov 15, 2010 11:39:40 AM

  14. "Does it make all of you dicks for jumping on Tank merely for noticing a tiny error? Yup, pretty much does."

    Exactly. I came to this blog for the first time with this article through a link on Google News. I haven't read past posts, and after reading the ridiculously crass and hateful comments attacking one guy, who later added his full support for the kid, for pointing out an obvious factual error -- I have no intention of giving the blog further attention past this post. That's unfortunate, but it is entirely due to the extremely poor impression left on me by the gang-mentality of abuse from the regular commenters... the exact type of abusive gang-mentality that likely led this cool kid to a suicide attempt years ago. To the casual observer, again -- you're all just as bad as the homophobes. Good job on that, folks.

    Posted by: Andrew | Nov 15, 2010 1:18:07 PM

  15. I am thankful that his attempt at suicide failed and that he will go on to do great things for himself and our community. God Bless the Children who often understand more that we adults.....

    Posted by: John | Nov 15, 2010 4:14:02 PM

  16. Ahhh Howell, Michigan. Thats where I'm from. Born in raised in that weird town.

    Posted by: JR | Nov 15, 2010 6:41:24 PM

  17. I have never commented on anything before-but this young star moves my heart. He is brilliant and fearless and as a world community we should hold him high-PEACE

    Posted by: kahanamoon | Nov 15, 2010 7:29:18 PM

  18. And regardless of the accuracy of his numbers-it got everyone's attention-a well accepted technique...BRAVO

    Posted by: kahanamoon | Nov 15, 2010 7:59:37 PM

  19. Sorry John--Tank is not the victim here--he just was outnumbered here and couldn't find a way to continue hating on this kid without looking like total asshole.

    Tank is normally the big bully here on Towleroad. What you witnessed here is all the little kids banding together to kick his cyber bully ass because they are sick of his shit.

    But if you choose to come on and draw conclusions about the situation based on this one posting that's fine. It's too bad because this is a great blog site.

    Posted by: Mike | Nov 15, 2010 9:51:52 PM

  20. Wow. Graeme, you are one hell of a kid. I felt more conviction in your defense of Mr. McDowell than I have heard in a long, long time. Good for you. I give you an A+!!

    Wisth the best of wishes,

    Fred (52 years old, straight, and proud to support gay rights)

    Posted by: Fred Lunau | Nov 16, 2010 9:06:31 AM

  21. Actually the facts of the story are that Graeme spoke at the school district board meeting in defense of Jay McDowell, not because he's his teacher, actually Graeme doesn't go to that school. He was brave and courageous to speak out about the kind of teacher he admires and supports no matter where he teaches. Graeme Taylor should be an inspiration to adults and teens alike. He's awesome!!

    Posted by: BartmanLA | Nov 16, 2010 11:23:57 AM

  22. I'm confused as to why this teacher was suspended at all... Isn't a teacher SUPPOSED to discipline a student for disrupting class and abusing a classmate? I mean, regardless of whether or not you agree with the politics of the whole thing, it sounds like the guy was just doing his job!
    I understand that disagreeing with a student's personal beliefs is no grounds for punishment (no matter how horrible they are), but you can CERTAINLY punish them for breaking school rules, right?

    Posted by: joansey | Nov 16, 2010 1:43:02 PM

  23. Let's consider, just for a moment, that we don't have all the facts. Let's consider, just for a moment, that people will seek out their 15 minutes of fame and seek out platforms for their voices to be heard. Let's consider, just for a moment, that this kid in the video ISN'T A STUDENT AT HOWELL HIGH SCHOOL.

    Let's consider, just for a moment, that the school administrators aren't monsters eager to burn witches and gays at a stake.

    Perhaps there is more information to this story? Like the school cannot comment on an on-going investigation that they are handling BY THE BOOKS...

    The only thing I hate worse than the violation of rights, is the exploitation of that sympathy for personal gains.

    Posted by: PauZotoZhaan | Nov 16, 2010 2:53:46 PM

  24. I really hope that Graeme's speech can be an inspiration for other altersexual and altergender students, particularly those who are not gay. I know it's esp. difficult for bisexual and genderqueer kids given the ongoing media frenzy over gay issues. It's easy to feel invisible and ignored. To all of my bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters, it is important to find the confidence to stand up even in the face of adversity. Don't lose hope. People might not notice us, but together we won't remain silent!

    Posted by: Randall Ellison | Nov 18, 2010 4:00:52 AM

  25. I find it ironic that we hear that teachers need to control the bullying and violence in schools, but when a teacher actually does, he gets reprimanded. Way to stand up for what is right!

    Posted by: Jeanette | Nov 19, 2010 4:55:11 PM

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