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Old 01-03-2018, 08:56 PM   #21441
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Old 01-05-2018, 05:01 PM   #21442
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Old 01-05-2018, 05:20 PM   #21443
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Old 01-05-2018, 05:30 PM   #21444
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:53 AM   #21445
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Old 01-08-2018, 11:33 AM   #21446
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Default Pittsburg woman recognized for LGBT advocacy efforts

Pittsburg woman recognized for LGBT advocacy efforts


Julie Huston has a semicolon tattoo, symbolizing Project Semicolon, which is a suicide prevention initiative. GLOBE/Roger Nomer

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The superhero that Julie Huston identifies most closely with is Batman, who struggled through his childhood as Bruce Wayne but grew into adulthood wanting to help others.

Huston views herself the same way. She has dedicated her time and resources to helping members of the LGBT community after struggling to understand her own sexuality as a teenager, and she has commemorated her link with the Caped Crusader with a tattoo on her wrist.

Huston, 33, is now being recognized in honor of another superhero — she has received the inaugural Wonder Woman Award given by the Southeast Kansas Chapter of the National Organization for Women. She was selected for the award because of her commitment to advancing LGBT rights and ending domestic violence, local NOW members said.

“There are so many women working with various organizations and individually to improve women's and children's lives in Southeast Kansas,” said Lyn Schultze, a co-coordinator of the group, in a statement. “We wanted to honor one of them. Julie Huston, a warrior for the LGBTQ community, is a great choice for our first Wonder Woman Award.”


Megan Yocum (from left), Wonder Woman Julie Huston, KEK NOW Co-Coordinators Lyn Schultz and Ashley Caldwell at the SEK NOW award presentation on December 8, 2017. Courtesy photo.

Providing safe spaces

Huston, a Farmers Insurance agent in Pittsburg, said she is humbled to have been chosen as the first Wonder Woman of the region. A graduate of Pittsburg State University, where she wrote her thesis on sexuality, she was active with the gay/straight alliance there, and she frequently shares her personal coming-out story to help others in the LGBT community.

The owner of an office on North Broadway up until about a week ago, Huston tried to ensure that her business was a safe space for anyone who needed to talk. She records videos of herself on her cellphone, talking about her personal struggles with being gay, and posts them to her business' Facebook page. Her motto is "Be the person you needed when you were younger," and she is determined to be the listening ear for LGBT youth that she didn't have when she was a teen.

"I suffer from depression and anxiety as well, and I know sometimes you just need somebody," she said. "It was very important to reach out and let those people know that they could come to me."

As the 2017 award winner, Huston was honored with a plaque and a $200 donation to the charity of her choice. She selected The Trevor Project, a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth through its round-the-clock hotline, 1-866-488-7386, and text messaging and online services.

Huston said the organization is "near and dear" to her heart because it attempts to reach young people who are grappling with their sexuality at the time of their lives when they might be the most confused or distressed. Nothing like it existed when she was younger.

"When I was that age I would have rather ended my life than face the truth" about her sexuality, she said. "It's a horrible feeling. ... I want to get these kids when they're younger and let them know they're OK. There are a lot of people here for them."


Julie Huston raises awareness for LGBTQ issues through Facebook posts. GLOBE/Roger Nomer

Promoting equal rights

Members of the Southeast Kansas NOW group, which launched in 2010, said they created the Wonder Woman Award for 2017 after hearing about a NOW chapter elsewhere in Kansas that offered a similar type of recognition for its community. The award was created locally to honor a woman in Southeast Kansas who works to uphold feminist ideals, said Deborah McGeorge, who serves as the group's secretary.

"We thought (the award) would be a great way to highlight the good work so many local women are doing, often quietly and behind the scenes, and how much they contribute to our community," she said.

At its core, feminism is a movement for the social, political and economic equality of all genders, McGeorge said. The Southeast Kansas chapter takes the movement a step further by focusing on six specific areas: constitutional equality, reproductive rights and justice, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, ending violence against women and economic justice.

Huston said her goals include establishing a support group for members of the local LGBT community, perhaps through a community health center, and creating a program in middle and high schools to partner LGBT or questioning youth with adults who can help them through their teenage years.

"It just seems natural to me" to help people, she said. "I just hope somebody somewhere is getting my message."


Julie Huston. GLOBE/Roger Nomer

About SEK NOW

The Southeast Kansas Chapter of the National Organization for Women meets at 6 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at the Pittsburg Public Library, 308 N. Walnut St. The group is open to all supporters of women's issues and equality.

http://www.joplinglobe.com/news/loca...1e4ab1e3c.html
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Old 01-11-2018, 02:12 PM   #21447
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You forgot the "with a friend" part of it...
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Old 01-13-2018, 04:27 PM   #21448
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:22 PM   #21449
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Old 01-17-2018, 06:52 AM   #21450
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