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April 02, 2014

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HRC to NSAA: Listen To Judges, Poems on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity are not Controversial

Washington – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization is calling on the Nebraska School Activities Association to reverse a recent decision requiring the winner of a high school speech contest to alter his winning performance for a television audience.

According to the Omaha World Herald, Michael Barth of Gordon-Rushville High School won the competition after performing spoken word renditions of the hit Macklemore song “Same Love” and a poem by Andrea Gibson entitled "Swingset.” Bizarrely, the sponsoring group later required him to censor the content of the same winning performance for broadcast on Nebraska Educational Television.

“By censoring this winning performance, the Nebraska School Activities Association is sending a message of exclusion to LGBT students and their allies across the state,” said Ellen Kahn, director of the HRC Children, Youth, and Families Program and a professional social worker.  “LGBT students face very real challenges, and many of their peers can benefit from hearing about these challenges firsthand. The last thing we should be doing is marginalizing the experiences of LGBT youth and limiting everyone’s opportunity to learn and grow. The NSAA should reverse this decision and apologize immediately for the harmful message they sent to Nebraskan youth."

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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