Raised in the small town of Hartville, Ohio, Joan Mosyjowski faced adversity when she came out as gay at age 13. After surviving a suicide attempt, she began to combat homophobia in her school, town, and in the Northeast Ohio region. As a sophomore in high school, Joan rallied local organizations to form the first regional prom for LGBTQ+ high school students. The organizations later joined to form the Teen Pride Network, an organization whose purpose is to connect LGBTQ+ youth in a safe, accepting environment. As a junior, Joan was the president of her high school’s newly formed GSA. The club helped to find safe teachers and allies through open dialogues and the school’s first Day of Silence. Joan also worked with PFLAG to support struggling teens and advocate on their behalf to parents, religious leaders, medical professionals, and educators. Joan aspires to pursue a career in human rights advocacy, particularly LGBTQ rights.

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