Gay Iowa Teen Starts Anti-Bullying Coalition, Receives Matthew Shepard Foundation Award

Jacob Still for Web2.photoblog500

Last week, awesome gay teen Jake Stallman of Tipton, Iowa received the Spirit of Matthew award from the Matthew Shepard Foundation for overcoming bullying and starting an anti-bullying coalition in his high school.

According to KWQC of Davenport, Iowa, Jake was on the receiving end of anti-gay bullying that escalated from teasing to death threats after he came out in the seventh grade.

NBC Nightly News also reports that his mother Tania was a source of strength or Jake, even helping to stand up against bullying in their small town.

“I decided to start an anti-bullying campaign on Facebook,” Tania said. “When I started it more people were coming forward, letting him know that they had the same concerns you know, with being bullied in the school district, elementary, middle and high school.”

After Jake and his mother turned to the Matthew Shepard foundation, they invited him to blog for the foundation, in turn becoming a symbol and ally for other gay students in his school and his town. With his newfound confidence, Jake became the first male cheerleader in his high school’s history. “I feel like I became a warrior, a fighter. And I think I became a fighter because there are kids out there who are struggling right now,” said Stallman. “And if I’m not strong, who’s going to be strong for them?”

We could only wish that we were as strong and brave as this kid at that age. Well done, Jake. You can follow up with Jake’s blog here and watch Jake receive the Spirit of Matthew award below:

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  • Elexis

    I really commend what they are doing here, every place should have something like this. No one deserves to be bullied, especially where the victim fears for his or her life. Every day, 160,000 students skip school because they are afraid they will be bullied.

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    Please help spread the word and I encourage everyone to take the step to protect themselves by using this. If you would like to know how the company is expanding, or to learn more about the mobile application, please feel free to contact me.

    Elexis Smith
    Social Media Community Manager
    ICE Black Box Inc.
    [email protected]

  • Greg Garavani

    What a wonderful boy and mother, tears ran down my face as it brought back a haunting past and am so proud of them for standing up with a strong heart and helping those in need. Good for them!

  • Thomathy

    This must be such a proud moment for this teen. He’s making a meaningful contribution to his community and in the lives of others so early in his life. This is awesome.

    [Meta – ‘Gay Iowa Teen’? Seriously‽ Iowan Gay Teen. It is not difficult to construct a grammatically correct noun phrase or, at least, to use the correct noun form to refer to someone from Iowa.)

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