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Sue Campbell receives Human and Civil Rights Award

May 15, 2020
Source: Rachel Adbury Sue Campbell, Deputy Director of OUT Maine receives the Maine Education Association’s 2020 Human and Civil Rights Award.

Rockland — Sue Campbell, the deputy director of the LGBTQ+ youth organization, OUT Maine, was awarded the 2020 Human and Civil Rights Award by the Maine Education Association.

According to the MEA, the award recognizes outstanding dedication in promoting human and civil rights for students and citizens of Maine. This work includes promoting appreciation for diversity, working to eliminate discriminatory or abusive behavior toward groups and individuals, helping schools develop programs that encourage tolerance, and establishing an ongoing program or institution for improving human relations and civil rights.

For the past five years, the South Thomaston resident has been traveling Maine from York to Aroostook counties to provide training sessions for teachers, medical providers and other professionals who work with LGBTQ+ youth. The goal of the work is to build a statewide safety net of informed providers who can offer safe space for LGBTQ+ youth in their offices and schools.

According to Campbell, “The statistics tell us over 80% of LGBTQ youth in Maine are bullied regularly, and 40% have considered suicide. They feel unsupported by their schools, communities and families. Even supportive adults are often afraid of saying the wrong thing, so they don’t say anything at all. The youth then feel ignored or dismissed. These trainings give adults tools to feel confident in supporting all youth… in offices, schools, communities and their homes.”

OUT Maine has trained over 8,000 providers statewide in the last five years. Teachers, clergy, social workers, medical professionals and other training attendees found the training makes them better allies to the LGBTQ+ youth.

Participants report confidence in the ability to re-adjust to new pronouns and preferred names and to be better listeners. One elementary school principal told Campbell he felt this form of training should be mandatory.

The Human and Civil Rights Award is usually presented at the Maine Education Association’s Representative Assembly during the MEA Awards Banquet in May. Because of current circumstances, the banquet is being rescheduled.

OUT Maine works toward an affirming Maine for all rural young people of diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions and gender identities. In partnership with their allies and families, OUT Maine supports, educates and empowers these youth in their journey from adolescence to adulthood.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | May 17, 2020 18:29

Congratulations Sue! And really, props to the entire staff at OutME - you folks not only provide a safe, non-judgemental space for our areas youth, but you do so much to educate as well! Keep up the great work. GW

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