FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February, 9, 2006
Contact: Tully Satre
Statewide group for gay youth forms
Responding to continued attacks against Virginia’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) youth, a new coalition has been formed to work to protect the rights of students to assemble and meet on school property. The “CEEVA (Commonwealth Education Equality Virginia) Initiative” is working to bring together student groups, advisors and other professionals and advocates to oppose legislation that will restrict “Gay Straight Alliances” (GSAs) and other measures.
The second week of January, HB 1308 was filed by Delegate Matt Lohr (R-Harrisonburg.) HB 1308 was initially intended to target Gay/Straight Alliances, student clubs that provide peer support GLBT youth. The bill flew through the House Education Committee and passed through the House 70-29. The CEEVA coalition has responded to HB 1308.
CEEVA Initiative has formed into a statewide organization. “We are here to provide a resource network for Gay/Straight Alliance clubs and GLBT youth in Virginia,” says the organization’s founder, Tully Satre, a 16 year-old gay activist, “CEEVA will work towards equality, and fair treatment for Virginia’s GLBT high school youth.” CEEVA has been working to organize GSAs across the state. The group will also educate the commonwealth about GLBT youth in Virginia.
Groups such as GLSEN (Gay and Lesbian Straight Education Network, in regions of Richmond and Northern Virginia), and Virginia Out (a statewide group for GLBT college students) have made a strong presence in Virginia youth activism. “Gay youth are in need of protection in Virginia,” said Dyana Mason, Executive Director of Equality Virginia, Virginia’s leading gay rights group, “CEEVA will help advocate for that protection.”
“We know that GLBT and supportive youth can speak for themselves, CEEVA will simply bring them together as one strong voice.” declared Satre. You can visit the group online at www.CEEVAinitiative.org