Transgender student Gavin Grimm received a college scholarship from LGBTI ally Aaron Jackson.
Both Grimm and Jackson have made tremendous impacts on the LGBTI community.
Grimm first made headlines in December 2014 when his high school in Virginia implemented a discriminatory bathoom policy aimed at transgender students. That same month, the ACLU filed a federal complaint, before eventually suing the school.
Jackson, meanwhile, is the founder of the humanitarian charity Planting Peace.
Planting Peace has made numerous gestures towards the LGBTI community, including creating the Equality House in Kansas across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church. They also planted a Pride flag in Antarctica and sent another into space.
How Grimm received the scholarship
Jackson previously gave a scholarship to a victim of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
‘I got an update about her progress, and it reminded me of the importance of giving someone a chance to make something of themselves,’ he told the Huffington Post.
In that vein, he made a Facebook post inquiring about queer or trans kids who could not attend school due to financial reasons. Grimm’s name came up and it was an easy choice.
‘To me he is like the Rosa Parks of the trans bathroom debate,’ he explained.
Jackson is straight and said it was learning about LGBTI youth suicide rates that made him begin to incorporate LGBTI rights in Planting Peace’s mission.
‘It really became important to me to use my platform to try to simply do my part in helping the LGBT community … Becoming an LGBT activist is one of the best decisions I have ever made,’ he continued.
‘A good advocate, whether it be fighting hunger in Haiti or LGBT rights here in America, is listening to the community’s problems and doing what they can to help. It’s not about what I want or what you want. It’s about what people need. Seeing them. Hearing them. And then taking action. Being loud with your support.’
‘My heart still hasnt stopped racing’
Grimm, who graduated high school in 2017, may not have gotten his case to the Supreme Court, but he made an impact. The Gloucester County School Board is now considering ending the discriminatory policy before it goes to trail.
‘I received word of this just this evening and my heart still hasn’t stopped racing,’ Grimm said in response to the scholarship, as quoted in a post Jackson made on Facebook.
‘I can’t express how grateful I feel to have my work and my life supported in such a significant way. The enormous gift of not staring down crippling educational debt as I enter the workforce as a teacher is something I can never hope to pay forward enough.
‘Thank you again, Aaron Jackson, you’ve changed my life.’