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Valerie WeislerValerie Weisler, the 16-year-old CEO of The Validation Project, shared her inspiring story about coming out and becoming a leader in the LGBT community with HRC staff today. The Validation Project is an international organization committed to uniting teenagers worldwide to use their unique talents to make their positive mark on the world.  This evening Valerie will be receiving the National Jefferson Award for Public Service - in the area of Peace and Justice.  She earned the award for her commitment to the rights of LGBT people.

Weisler began The Validation Project to allow teenagers across the world to come together to use their skills and passion for LGBT rights into service. Within weeks of launching the project, there was a branch in Africa and other countries around the world and an executive board of members all younger than 25. 

Weisler, who identifies as lesbian, was not out when she founded the project. In the middle of her parents’ divorce last year, she would sob in the bathroom, but not because of the divorce. “I was telling everyone to be proud of who they are when I couldn’t be proud of myself,” Weisler said. 

The first person she came out to was her school counselor. With an HRC sticker on the counselor’s desk inspiring her, Weisler was able to finally be herself. Weisler admitted, “HRC, you were the push I needed to finally find my pride.” She was the second person in her school and first in her grade to be publicly out. Since then Weisler has been able to celebrate her identity, not hide it, and has become a motivational speaker as well as a CEO.

HRC congratulates Valerie on her award and is excited to see what her future holds. For more information on The Validation Project and Valerie Weisler, check out Weisler

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