Nat Werth to attend World Pride as well as Victory Institute’s Candidate & Campaign Training
LGBTQ Victory Fund today announced that Nat Werth – the Wisconsin high school valedictorian who was denied a valedictory speech because he is gay – will march with Victory Fund at World Pride in New York City. He will also be provided a spot at a future Victory Institute Candidate & Campaign Training – a competitive, four-day intensive training where LGBTQ people from across the nation learn how to run for office. The invitation to Werth was made by Victory Fund Board Chair and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele during Milwaukee Pride on June 7, where he introduced Werth as the keynote speaker. Abele will pay all expenses for Werth to attend World Pride and the Candidate & Campaign Training.
Werth was denied a valedictory speech by administrators at Sheboygan Lutheran High School after he came out in a draft script of the speech. Werth told administrators he would remove it, but they refused him anyways, believing he would go off-script and come out while on stage. The salutatorian was asked to give the speech in his place. BuzzFeed reported on the story.
“His school administrators may have stripped away the crowning moment of his valedictory run, but adversity breeds strength, and Nat is already determined to make change within religious communities and in his state legislature,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Our Board Chair Chris Abele is sponsoring Nat’s participation in World Pride and in our intensive Candidate & Campaign Training because we need more young people like him to be involved in politics and to run for office. The adults at his high school aimed to silence him, but inadvertently gave him a platform to make greater change for our community and America.”
In addition to marching with Victory Fund in World Pride on June 30 and attending a future Candidate & Campaign Training of his choice, Werth will also join Victory Institute at its World Pride Reception in New York City on June 27. Hundreds of LGBTQ elected officials and leaders from throughout the United States will be in attendance – including U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and New York City Speaker Corey Johnson.
At Milwaukee Pride, Werth was given the Valor Award, which honors a young LGBTQ person “who has risen above obstacles, challenges and pressures to be their best selves.”
BY MELANIE NATHAN
Follow me on Twitter – @MelanieNathan1