Fifth-grader, Ella Briggs becomes the first kid governor from the LGBTQ+ community in Connecticut. She was bullied at school and ran a pro LGBTQIA+ campaign to win her spot.
11-year-old Ella Briggs is the first openly gay 'Kid Governor' of Connecticut. She ran a pro LGBTQIA+ platform during the election for fifth graders. The award-winning statewide initiative teaches the children civics and the winner is 'sworn in' at the Old State House in the capital. Now, Briggs has her eyes at the big office. The budding politician has a new dream now, she wants to be the country's first ever lesbian president. The swearing-in ceremony took place on the 18th of January and in attendance were plenty of dignitaries who were there to praise her, including the newly elected Governor, Ned Lamont and U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes. The platform she ran was unimaginable for a fifth-grader until even a few years back. The stance Briggs took during the ceremony was a symbol of the nation’s growing acceptance of the LGBTQ community. However, she did make it clear that there was still a long distance to go.
Although Ella was elected by 6,400 fifth-graders from 87 schools across the state and feels accepted at her current school, the Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary Magnet School in Avon, she has had to face a lot of hurdles along the way as an openly gay child. Because of her sexuality and dressing, she was a primary target for harassment at her school. The discrimination she faced was not just from the students. Some of her classmates' parents did not allow their children to attend her inauguration ceremony.
The state of Connecticut has elected its first-ever openly gay “Kid Governor,” and she’s using her platform to lead with love.— Logo 🏳️🌈 (@LogoTV) March 21, 2019
At just 11 years, Ella Briggs is already a local legend! https://t.co/RatHEou7ic
As reported by the Connecticut Post, “I’m just so happy that most kids in my class came,” said Ella shortly after the ceremony. “There were some kids who pulled out but you can’t do anything about that. Haters going to hate. It’s just so amazing being in a room full of people who accept me. It feels really good.” When some of the students at her former elementary school found out she was lesbian the often called her hurtful names. Some students even moved their desks away from her and were open about the fact that they did not want to associate with her anymore.
“I think they were just scared of me,” said Ella said. “They were afraid to touch me.” Some of the parents would tell their kids that Briggs would go to hell for the path she has chosen. However, she chose to take all of the criticism positively. She claims that all of the resistance she has faced is what motivated her to take the pro LGBTQ+ stance. Another reason she was motivated by her desire to help other children who are not yet as comfortable with their identities. Coming out should not be so hard.
THIS IS SO SO SO AMAZING. Election of first openly gay Kid Governor is a milestone. But coming out wasn’t easy. https://t.co/DbaPp6r2ea— Samuel Brinton (@sbrinton) March 22, 2019
"A lot of kids don’t feel comfortable with who they are and that makes me really sad,” she said in a recent interview, “because I just want everyone to be happy and be themselves. I like being myself. I wouldn’t change one thing about me and I wouldn’t change one thing about anyone else in the whole world.” She spoke about the difficulties she faced when she started to open up about herself. She mentioned to a substitute teacher that she was a lesbian, Ella said the teacher immediately shut her down saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, we are not talking about that right now. That is not school appropriate. Someone else?”
May blessings light upon this child like warmth from the sun.— Rick Lurye (@RickLurye) March 20, 2019
“It really hurt my feelings,” Ella said. “I cried in the bathroom and I don’t want kids to feel like that because like I already didn’t feel like I fit in at that school.” Briggs has an older sister named Riley who is 13. Riley mentioned that she and her parents, Chris Briggs and Kendra Dickinson, have to be extra supportive of her since not everyone else who is around her is always supportive. “I’m not saying I wish it to be any other way. I don’t want her to change any other way,” Riley said. “She’s perfect the way she is, but it is harder, you know. It’s harder and it shouldn’t be harder.”
Most people look at Ella's election as kid governor as a milestone not just for her but also for the LGBTQ+ community. It shows how far their acceptance has come, especially among the younger generations. They also see Ella's experience as a reflection of the growing number of children that are coming out at a young age. Experts say there are no good numbers on how many of the country’s youngest children are gay or transgender. However, a 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says that 14.6 percent of high school students are gay, lesbian, bisexual or unsure.
This amazing kid is Ella Briggs. She is a fifth grader and the Kid Governor of CT, she is openly gay and won on her platform for LGBTQ+ Kids Safety! pic.twitter.com/78J5YmsAtg— Carli ♈️ (@Carlibeth7) March 2, 2019
During her inauguration, Ella Briggs expressed that she wanted to be the country's first ever lesbian president. The way she is going, that dream might actually be a reality someday. It is great that children, as young as the ones in middle school or elementary school are opening up about their sexuality and have parents and friends who support them. There are still those people who haven't opened up their minds yet but someday, everyone will be accepting of the fact that there are other ways than the stereotypical societal norms in which people identify themselves. It is completely normal.