She made it better | Arkansas Blog

Friday, January 21, 2011

She made it better

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 1:11 PM

As we noted a few days back, Arkansas gay and lesbian rights advocate Carolyn Wagner passed away on Jan. 18 after a long battle with cancer. After her son was relentlessly bullied in the Fayetteville School District, Wagner went over the heads of school officials who ignored her concerns to the U.S. Department of Education. The result was an agreement which stated that gays and lesbian students were protected by Title IX, opening school districts up to civil litigation and the loss of federal funds if they turned a blind eye to the abuse of gay/lesbian students.

Amongst the outpouring of love for Ms. Wagner from the LGBT community, a friend alerted us to the video posted in October, 2010 by Russellville resident Brandon Brock as part of the "It Gets Better" campaign to try and curb gay teen suicides. In the video, Brock recounts a call he made to Wagner when he was a confused gay teen living in small town Arkansas:

"She drove two hours in rural Arkansas to meet me in the parking lot of a Walmart," Brock says in the video. "We sat in her pickup truck — this stranger, a woman I'd never met, whose son was gay, who met with me because she knew I needed her... She simply told me that I was okay; that I can be a decent person and be gay. I knew that down inside somewhere, but I needed someone else to pull it out of me."

R.I.P. Carolyn Wagner. You were an example for us all.

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