Ella Briggs is Connecticut’s first openly gay ‘Kid Governor’. The 5th grader was elected by over 6,000 children, running on a platform to support LGBTQ rights, which would have been completely unimaginable for elementary aged children not that long ago. Ella has not always had an easy time at school and has not always been surrounded by people who love and accept her but she is determined to change that for other children. “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 about anyone else in the whole world.”
Ella’s appointment to Kid Governor shows hope of the nation’s growing acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. In May Tuscano’s apt words, “This is it. This is the world we’ve been fighting for all these years. What an incredible marker of progress.” But Ella was not satisfied just being a symbol of hope, she wants to make a change. So during her time as Kid Governor, she promoted adoptions of LGBTQ+ youth who were homeless, trained teachers on how to support LGBTQ+ students and created youth programmes for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. She is also jump-started GSA’s (Gay-Straight Alliances) at the schools she visited.
Ella’s words are powerful and she gives us hope for all children feeling accepted. Ella is inspirational, not just for her courage and her tenacity, but also for showing that the right person in the right place can make real change. It is not easy to be that sure of yourself while in the public eye, but Ella is committed to making a real difference in her home state and she really believes that “love is love”. I have no doubt she will go on to do great things.