Scholar Class – 2012
Growing up in New York City and suburban New Jersey in a politically active home, Josh Blecher‐Cohen has always been interested in social justice issues. He first got involved with activism as a high school sophomore working as a student organizer for Amnesty International. At the same time, he was beginning to put a label on his sexuality and coming out as a bisexual man. Eventually Josh’s identities as a human rights advocate and queer man intersected, leading him to get involved in LGBTQ activism. Out at school, Josh helped found a gay‐straight alliance that grew to ninety members. As GSA president, he also led regional youth outreach initiatives, founding and leading a countywide coalition of over twenty GSAs across northern NJ. Josh’s interest in LGBTQ youth issues continued as an intern with Garden State Equality, where he helped coordinate anti‐bullying initiatives aimed at protecting LGBTQ youth.
After experiencing biphobic remarks in a nominally LGBTQ space, Josh became interested in the marginalization of identities within the LGBT community. Accordingly, he has conducted original humanities research attempting to integrate considerations of bisexuality into areas of study as varied as queer theory and Judaic legal tradition. After interning at the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & AIDS Project, Josh hopes to work in public interest law with a focus on civil rights issues. A National Merit Scholar and United States Presidential Scholar, he looks forward to studying philosophy and Classics at Harvard University.