Caleb Michael Laieski is an environment and civil rights activist, as well as a Champion to the LGBT rights movement. He was bullied, dropped out of high school and quickly obtained his GED. After being bullied at the age of 16, he became a national advocate for anti-bullying, LGBT rights, and suicide prevention. We have conducted an interview with him.
Based on your personal experience, when do you think the victim who had been bullied should stand up? How can he/she do it effectively to overcome the complexities in his/her feelings?
I think someone who has been victimized by bullying should talk to a teacher, a mentor, and/or a parent as soon as the bullying begins; delaying only makes the situation worse. I think it is important to always remember that teachers, counselors, etc. are there to help you.
What lead you to drop out of high school and obtain your GED?
After receiving death threats and being severely bullied for being openly gay in high school, I ended up dropping out of school. Believe it or not, that was my only birthday wish and fortunately it came true. About a month later, I quickly obtained my GED and went into advocacy work.
Why did you do in the effort to challenge the new law about “mental health providers to reject services due to religious beliefs”? What do you think was unjust?
I just joined the effort to challenge Tennessee’s recently passed law that allows counselors and therapists religious beliefs to be an excuse for terminating care or referring clients because of moral objections to how the client identifies. In summary, this allows mental health professionals to put their own beliefs above and before the needs of their clients. Paramedics, medical doctors, police all cannot refuse to help you based on their own religious beliefs; why should counselors be able to?
What would you advice to youths who would like to get involved in environment and civil rights activism?
1) NEVER give up and be persistent. Elected officials and government agencies receive so many calls and comments, it is important to pinpoint those people who truly have a voice and can have a direct impact on your activism. 2) Listen to those in your community, and think about those in other communities that need a voice. Once your voice becomes powerful, use it to help as many people as you can!
What are your plans for the future?
I have had the honor to get involved in many amazing gigs with activism and worked as a 911 Dispatcher for several years. I am now looking to becoming a police officer and continue serving my community in that capacity.
CALEB LAIESKI is a former 911 Dispatcher and Washington, D.C. based advocate for the LGBT community, public safety, and the environment.