Meet Mae Lexi Zurita, Trans Rights Advocate
Originally Published: May 7, 2021
Revised: May 7, 2021
Nineteen-year-old Mae Lexi Zurita (pictured in the center above) is determined to make a change in the world. As a member of the Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health (MOASH), she has been involved with a number of projects aimed at helping young people in her home state of Michigan. What does MOASH do? “MOASH mobilizes youth voices, engages community partners and informs decision-makers to advance sexual health, identities, and rights,” according to their website.
I am passionate about youth empowerment.
Mae’s advocacy work started while she was in high school, when she helped to get gender-neutral bathrooms placed in her school as well as required training for staff members on transgender issues. A transgender teen herself, she advocates strongly for trans rights. Mae heard about MOASH from the Diversity and Inclusion Director at her high school and, after an interview, she was put on two MOASH Youth Advisory Councils—Michigan Youth (MY) Voice and MY Trans Voice. “The youth councils I am on are like nothing I have ever been a part of,” says Mae. “A youth council is a group of eight to15 youth who gather every month to discuss issues facing youth in Michigan, especially around the issues of sexual health.”
Through her involvement with MOASH, Mae has also gone to Washington, D.C. to represent the young people of Michigan while working toward HIV legislation. “MOASH’s goal is to empower the voice of the youth of Michigan,” she says. “I am already a very strong voice in my community, so giving me a national megaphone has helped me as well as MOASH get our message out to the world.”
Now a college student, Mae has established a student group called the Student Sexual Health Network, which focuses on safer sex and other sexual health issues that affect college students. Not only that, she is passionate about her goals for the future, which include creating a company that will benefit trans people and running to be president of the United States!
I recently had the chance to talk with Mae and here’s what she had to say.
“I am passionate about youth empowerment. It’s awful how we treat youth in this world. They are capable of so much, but they are mistreated and dismissed. I would love to give youth the right to vote and let them have more direction in their education.”
“I get angry when I see people in my life complain about something and decide to do nothing about their situations. I know that actions are not always the answer, but I have found that actions are a lot better than no actions.”
“I like free speech… We should feel free to speak openly about our beliefs. I actively fight for certain communities to get rid of rules that say we should not speak about politics. Speech suppression like this is a shield for those in power who want the status quo to continue to hide behind political neutrality. Speak open and freely, debate with others and fight!”
“I dislike rules.”
Stranded on a Desert Island
“I would bring my best friend Sawyer. I really think I could be anywhere in the world with him for any amount of time, and we would be happy. He’s a nerd that loves to debate, and we learn so much from each other. You need someone in your life who can challenge you to act better and encourage you when you succeed. We would read the complete works of William Shakespeare. We love theater, and in high school, we took Shakespeare class… We would probably perform it with each other every day and get better and better so when we do get rescued we could go on tour and show the fruits of our labor. We would drink soda…sorry, it’s just too good, dude!”
Show Her the Money
“If I had a million dollars to change sex ed? One million dollars does little to address the structure of sex ed in my state and country. A drop in the bucket, really. So to answer the question truthfully, I would probably pay a team to develop good interactive activities. Like something that will get me laughing, thinking and will help me learn very quickly. I’d also like this to be done so people don’t need to feel awkward participating in it.”
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