What you didn't hear was that Taylor wasn't the only student to speak up; there were nine teens that drove from the Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor to the meeting. If you don't know what the eff I'm talking about, you can get some background from my article in The Voice (muhahaha) or a past post.
While it's always cool to see an Ann Arborite making national news, it would be nice to see the Neutral Zone get some props. Until Taylor was on "Ellen," I thought that he had found out about the situation in the news, gotten pissed and somehow went to Howell on his own (remember, he's 14, so that's more impressive than it already is).
I don't think it takes away from Taylor's actions to acknowledge that there were nine other students that spoke after him, nor that the Neutral Zone organized the opportunity for the group (which is Riot Youth, the Neutral Zone's teen LGBTQQA organization). If anything, it just goes to show what a confident, well-spoken (and absolutely adorable) kid he is. Like I told my friend Aubrey, interviewing him was like listening to Obama give a speech for first-grade class president. But Riot Youth has been doing activist work for gay rights for years, and it's too bad that they couldn't get more recognition for their efforts amidst this media clusterf*** (sorry Grandma).
Besides, the Neutral Zone is Ann Arbor's baby. Anytime I bring it up, young Ann Arborites chomp at the bit to tell me about how they went to Queer Prom or just hung out there after school. Even folks (bringin' the word back, people) that have only been there once will tell me all about it, sans shame. They're proud of it, and they want to show that they owned it back in the day.
So here's to the Neutral Zone. Pour one out, since that's all you can really do during finals anyway.
Photo courtesy of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."