Queer Heroes NW 2014:
Ron Bloodworth

Organizing in Portland's gay community began in 1971 - for grownups.

Gay youth remained mostly on their own. They might, or might not, have support at home, and they couldn't hope for much at school except a quietly sympathetic teacher here and there.

Ron BloodworthRon Bloodworth was one of those sympathetic teachers - but he was a persistent activist as well. Starting in the Portland Public Schools in 1988, Ron advocated for LGBTQ young people in a career spanning 29 years as a public school teacher and counselor, followed by 5 years as Oregon's Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator - plus more volunteer hours than anybody can count.

Today, it's easy to underestimate the risks that Ron took in standing up for queer youth in the early days - in fact, educators were fired for far less.

Ron served on the Oregon Task Force on Sexual Minority Youth in 1989, and he co-authored a groundbreaking study that still shapes public policy for at-risk youth. He was co-founder of the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Oregon chapter in the 1990s. In 2000, Ron worked at the state level with PFLAG and the Oregon Department of Education on a Safe Schools Training Project, which led to co-founding the Oregon Safe Schools and Communities Coalition, which led to passage of the Oregon Safe Schools Act of 2009.

Thirty-eight years after gay organizing began in Portland, our legislature affirmed that Oregon's LGBTQ kids should be safe at school. Without folks like Ron Bloodworth, it might have been longer.


Please join Q Center and GLAPN as we hold a reception at Q Center Thursday, June 12th, 5pm-7pm, 4115 N. Mississippi, to unveil the posters for all 30 of 2014’s Queer Heroes!




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