Wisc. native keynote Nabozny featured

The Alliance brought in keynote speaker Jamie Nabozny for their annual Rainbow Rave event on Nov. 7.  Nabozny talked about his life story including his experiences with bullying.
Laura Firgau, a junior majoring in psychology with an emphasis in human services, and Megan Dietrich, a junior double-majoring in psychology and Spanish, are the co-presidents of the Alliance.  Firgau said the group has helped her discover her identity and develop a better understanding of the culture.
Dietrich said she likes when people come up to her after the event and say how the speaker has opened their eyes.  A few things that Firgau and Dietrich do for the Alliance are contact speakers, arrange schedules, plan the drag shows, come up with the decorations and take care of the publicity for the events the Alliance holds.
Firgau and Dietrich said Nabozny is an extremely good speaker.
Nabozny grew up in Ashland, Wisc. He was bullied throughout his life, starting when he was in middle school.  The harassment escaladed.  Nabozny was beaten and needed abdominal surgery.
Nabozny said he couldn’t take the bullying anymore, so he decided to move to Minneapolis where he currently lives with his husband. When he moved there, he realized many others were experiencing the same problems.
Nabozny wanted to stand up for not just himself, but everyone else who is having the same problem. His legal advocate advised him to consider a lawsuit, and he went through with it and won the liability verdict.  He ended up receiving $900,000 in monetary settlements.
Nabozny currently travels around the country and speaks with schools, churches, etc., to raise awareness about lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals getting bullied on a daily basis.
The message of the story is prevention.  Nabozny stressed that it is okay to fight for something that isn’t right, just like he did.
“I thought (Nabozny) was enlightening,” Masees Mesdjian, junior industrial engineering major, said.  “I knew stuff like that goes on but didn’t know the extent.  It changes the way you think.”
“I went to a school that was more open, but it hurts to see that it still exists,” Kim Cordova, a senior business administration major and theater major with an emphasis in marketing, said.  “I like knowing that things are changing, but we need to be more aware of the problem.”