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Jamie Nabozny
(1976 - living) U.S.A.

Jamie Nabozny

Activist

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As a high school student in the Ashland, Wisconsin public school system, Jamie suffered years of relentless physical, sexual, and verbal harassment for being gay. He was beaten to the point of requiring surgery, urinated on, called anti-gay epithets, and made to suffer repeated assaults and indignities, including a mock rape.

Despite frequent meetings with school officials, the identification of his attackers, and the intervention of his parents, the school took no meaningful disciplinary action against Jamie's abusers. Jamie dropped out of school twice, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, ran away from home, and tried to kill himself several times. Ultimately, he left Ashland and eventually got a G.E.D.

Jamie was the first American student to successfully sue his school and his school district in federal court for failing to protect him as a gay student.

In July 1996, a precedent-setting federal district judge ruled that a school could not be held liable for the actions of students and that no equal protection claim was presented by Jamie's case, and spelled out the constitutional obligation of public schools everywhere to treat abuse of lesbian and gay students and of boys as seriously as any other abuse.

In appealing this holding, Lambda argued that Jamie's rights to equal protection and due process were violated when the school refused to protect him from anti-gay abuse and enhanced Jamie's risk of harm by creating a climate in which violent anti-gay abuse was tolerated. Then, after a two-day trial in November 1996, a federal jury found school officials liable for not protecting Jamie. In a landmark settlement reached after that verdict, he won a landmark settlement of nearly $1 million in damages.

In 2000, he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, and, in addition to lecturing on anti-gay harassment issues, is pursuing an undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Minnesota. His current career plans are to work with and on behalf of GLBT persons in the human services, especially continuing to help schools safe places for GLBT teens, as a consultant or an educator.

He's taking a year off from college while working for the only gay-owned and operated car dealership in the Midwest. He has been dating his boyfriend Jesse for nearly a year.

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