Openly gay Ann Arbor teen who supported teacher to be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Monday
Pioneer High School student Graeme Taylor, an openly gay teen who made a moving speech in front of the Howell school board last week, will appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Monday.
An interview with Taylor, 14, is scheduled to air on Monday’s show, which is shown at 10 a.m. in the Ann Arbor area on WDIV (Channel 4). Justin Timberlake is also scheduled to be on that day’s show.
Taylor made national headlines following his speech in support of Howell teacher Jay McDowell, who was suspended after ejecting a student who said he didn’t accept gays. In his speech to the board, Taylor revealed he attempted suicide at the age of 9 because of fears of being bullied due to his sexuality.
Taylor said he attended the school board meeting to support a teacher who “finally stood up and did something.”
Since his speech, Taylor has been featured on several prominent blogs and was interviewed along with McDowell on MSNBC.
A promo on the Ellen show website says: "Last week, an incredible 14-year-old named Graeme Taylor gave an inspirational speech defending his teacher for stopping gay bullying. Today he's here to tell Ellen what motivated him to do it."
The incident that prompted Taylor to support McDowell occurred on Oct. 20. McDowell told a student in his classroom to remove a Confederate Flag belt buckle. She complied, but it prompted a question from a boy about how the flag differs from the rainbow flag, a symbol of pride for the gay community.
"I explained the difference between the flags, and he said, 'I don't accept gays,'" said McDowell, 42, who was wearing a shirt with an anti-gay bullying message.
McDowell said he told the student he couldn't say that in class.
"And he said, 'Why? I don't accept gays. It's against my religion.' I reiterated that it's not appropriate to say something like that in class," McDowell said Monday.
McDowell said he sent the boy out of the room for a one-day class suspension. Another boy asked whether he also could leave because he also didn't accept gays.
McDowell was suspended for one day without pay after the incident.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.