Melissa was raised in Rockford, Michigan, a fairly conservative community. After lobbying her high school’s administration, Melissa was permitted to form a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at the beginning of her junior year. In high school she excelled academically and was active in many organizations on campus including the National Honor Society, Diversity Club, Young Democrats and served as captain on the Debate Team. As one of the few “out” gay students at a high school of 2,000, students often defined Melissa by her sexual orientation, negating her as whole person. Knowing that a supportive family is often the exception for LGBTQ youth, Melissa is thankful to have a supportive father.

Melissa attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and majored in English. At the university, she gained the experience necessary to utilize the power of the written word in order to counter the attitudinal barriers created by sexism and homophobia. Melissa plans to attend law school and work towards furthering and protecting LGBTQ civil rights.

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