Since 2016, Tanner has worked incredibly hard to pass legislation to ban conversion therapy in Kentucky. Though in grad school AND working, he tirelessly devotes any extra time on BCTK. This year he went above and beyond, with the help of the board and volunteers, BCTK got record breaking co-sponsors and had a bill in the KY House AND Senate. Through his work with Ban Conversion Therapy KY, Tanner has have a voice to those who have suffered the abuse of conversion therapy. He is working to end these practices to protect the LGBTQ youth now and the future generations to come. He has been a fearless leader to BCTK and it has been a true honor to work alongside him. This year he was selected for an internship in D.C. with the Trevor Project helping even more of the LGBTQ community. I truly can’t think of anyone who deserves an award more than Tanner.
For me the word queer is liberating. Growing up in Southern Indiana, where there was minimal support for LGBTQ people, I didn’t know what supportive LGBTQ spaces looked like.
Moving to Louisville, Kentucky, I started coming into my queer identity and learning how my other identities influence the way I exist in various spaces. For myself, the queer community has given me purpose.
Being involved in activism and fighting for the queer community is a passion of mine.
I am heading a project to make conversion therapy illegal for minors in Kentucky. Hearing the horror stories from survivors of conversion therapy, we wanted to take action to show queer kids that someone is fighting for them. No one should have to experience this torture and should be able to be happy and celebrate who they are.
Though we have made significant strides as a community in the United States– our fight is far from over. In addition to the work we have ahead of us as a country, we as community have so much work to do.
I believe that Queer people and all people will never truly experience liberation until we as a community actively address the oppression that still exists in queer spaces.
We will not truly be a community until we fully support queer folks who are black and brown, undocumented queer folks, our queer folks with disabilities, queer folks of all body types, as well as many other identities that intersect with queerness.
I am excited for the progress that will come with future generations — it seems that today’s youth are more caring and unapologetic in their queer identities than ever before.