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Meet Ose Arheghan

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By , 17, Staff Writer Originally Published: November 28, 2018 Revised: April 5, 2019

Ose Arheghan, 18, of Shaker Heights, OH, came out as queer in the eighth grade. Ose (who uses the gender-neutral pronouns “they” and “them”) soon found themselves facing challenges caused by a lack of LGBTQ-friendly school resources and laws, such as the lack of an effective way to report bullying or discrimination due to one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Realizing that these experiences were not unique, Ose started speaking out for the LGBTQ community.

In high school, Ose ran their school’s cultural proficiency subcommittee, which advised the school administration on minority issues like LGBTQ rights. They also wrote a series for their high school newspaper titled “Diversifying Diversity,” which aimed to educate and foster acceptance by featuring students who were considered a minority for their sexual orientation, religion or gender identity.

On an even larger scale, Ose has talked to legislators in the Ohio Statehouse about the need for statewide policies against LGBTQ discrimination. They have also lobbied Congress alongside Advocates for Youth (a sexual health and reproductive justice organization) to defund abstinence-only programs. For their achievements, Ose was honored by two LGBTQ organizations. GLSEN gave them the Student Advocate of the Year Award at the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards, and the Matthew Shepard Foundation gave them the 2018 Spirit of Matthew Award.

Ose now attends Ohio State University, where they are advocating for transgender rights by participating in the Diversity and Inclusion committee of the Undergraduate Student Government. They also promote LGBTQ-inclusive activism as a GLAAD Campus Ambassador. We thought Ose and their honorable work were perfect for Faces of Change!

I like Twitter threads because I’m able to share my opinions like I would in natural conversation.

Passion

“I’m most passionate about LGBTQ rights and justice. The lived experiences of not only myself, but the individuals that share my identities inspire me to do the advocacy work that I’m currently doing. Without those experiences, I’m not sure where I’d be today.”

Inspiration

“The person who inspires me most in life is my partner. When I look at him, I see a resiliency that I can’t help but admire and hope to match.”

Makes Them Happy

“Music makes me incredibly happy. I’m from Cleveland, and I think we have some of the best music venues in the world and going to concerts has always been one of my favorite pastimes.”

Likes

“I love journalism! Specifically columns and op-ed pieces. I love the platform media outlets can give to voices that on their own wouldn’t have been able to reach many.”

Dislikes

“I dislike waiting. Patience is a skill I’m trying to master and a lot of the time anticipation gets the best of me.”

Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr?

“I prefer Twitter because I’m able to reach a wide audience with a mix of my own thoughts and articles I think are worth reading. I like Twitter threads because I’m able to share my opinions like I would in natural conversation.”

Dream Dinner

“I’d like to have dinner with Barack Obama. I have so many questions about what it’s like to be such an influential black leader. I could learn so much from a conversation with him.”

Stranded on a Desert Island

“I’d bring my copy of Battle Royale and a lifetime’s supply of peanut butter.”

Show Them the Money

“I would make an effort to fund more comprehensive sexual health education programs. Right now, a lot of governmental funding for sexual health education is reserved for abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculums, and those do not provide students with the best tools possible to live safe and healthy lives.”

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