Saturday, July 16, 2016

Meet Caleb Laieski, Activist

Caleb Laieski is an advocate for the environment as well as civil rights. As a teenager who experienced bullying, he became involved in meeting with many members of Congress as well as other legislators regarding anti-bullying legislation. At age 17, Caleb was the Youth and Diversity Liaison in the city of Phoenix, Arizona. Today, he continues to advocate for LGBT rights, public safety, and the environment.

Learn more about Caleb by visiting his website.

1. How did your experiences growing up inspire you to become involved in political advocacy?

After receiving death threats and being severely bullied for being openly gay in high school, I ended up dropping out of school. Believe it or not, that was my only birthday wish, and fortunately it came true. About a month later, I quickly obtained my GED and went into advocacy work to make sure other young people wouldn't have to experience what I had to.

2. What projects are you currently working on?

I just joined the effort to challenge Tennessee's recently passed law that allows counselors' and therapists' religious beliefs to be an excuse for terminating care or referring clients because of moral objections to how the client identifies. In summary, this allows mental health professionals to put their own beliefs above and before the needs of their clients.

3. What is the hardest part about your work?

That's a tough question... I would certainly say that sometimes it's hard to stay energized 24/7, and advocacy can be extremely tiring. However, seeing the impact of my work and hearing that I have made a difference in someone's life is what gives me that continuous spark of energy and enthusiasm.

4. Do you think that the national conversation on LGBTQ rights has changed at all, in the wake of Orlando?

Absolutely. This shooting was the most tragic in not only LGBT history, but in U.S. history. It reminds the members of the LGBT community that hate still exists, and we must always be aware of what is going on around us. This hate crime also highlights the importance of passing legislation to ensure basic background checks are performed and make sure that guns stay out of the wrong people's hands.

5. What are your plans for the future?

I have had the honor to get involved in many amazing gigs with activism and worked as a 911 Dispatcher for several years. I am now looking to become a police officer and continue serving my community in that capacity.

Thanks, Caleb!

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