By Kelsie Hoitomt
MENOMONIE – On Thursday, March 27, Glenwood City senior Bailey Britton attended the first annual “Qubies Gayla” at the University of Wisconsin-Stout where she was recognized with the Outstanding Community Ally Award.
“It was such an honor getting this award,” expressed Britton. “I still am blown away by it. I would just like to thank the Qube for this opportunity, the program and the staff are all amazing.”
The Qube is Stout’s main headquarters for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) students and allies.
The Gayla itself was a sold out evening with an elegant dinner and awards show with over ten different awards categories, which was advertised as being “like the Gay Oscars”.
Bailey received the award for respecting the LGBTQ community and for educating the Glenwood City School District on why bullying against kids with different sexual orientation isn’t okay.
“Really, I just want to inspire other students that even though we are young, we still have a voice,” shared Britton.
Bailey was introduced to the Qube through Julie Miller, the LGBTQ Program Coordinator at UW-Stout.
Educating her school about the bullying that occurs was a part of Bailey’s Contemporary Social Issues (CSI) class senior project. One criteria to the project is finding a mentor, which is how Julie was introduced into the picture.
“It is not often that we see a high school student in a small town advocate in this way,” said Miller. “Bailey is an impressive and courageous young role model who stands up for what she believes in, with a gentle approach that moves people forward rather than alienating them. That’s a gift and Bailey uses it as a powerful advocate in her school and community. We couldn’t be more impressed and that is how the nomination came about.”
Bailey created a piece of artwork that is also on display at the Qube. This artwork was made in her Studio Art class as a part of the “Puzzling Viewpoints” theme.
“Students were to choose a topic that they were puzzled by, something that maybe confused them or that they couldn’t quite grasp. It could be a controversial topic, a viewpoint that others held that was different from their own or just something they were curious about,” explained Glenwood City Art Teacher Mary Jones.
With that said, Bailey chose the topic of sexual orientation and how people in society pass judgement based on it, especially with those in the entertainment industry, which ties into the fact that Ellen DeGeneres is her greatest television inspiration.
Bailey took pictures of famous people whose sexual orientation may not be considered “acceptable” to our society and cut them into puzzle pieces before assembling them back together. She also used rainbow colors to show the stereotypical meaning associated with the LGBTQ community as well.
Bailey extended a personal thank you to Julie Miller and to two of her teachers, Mrs. Jones and Mr. Kieper.