Neil Giuliano’s Homecoming Project

Returns to his Bloomfield New Jersey high school to inspire today's LGBT students


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On Jan. 2, 2009, Neil Giuliano returned to his high school in Bloomfield New Jersey and participate in Live Out Loud’s Homecoming Project.

The Homecoming Project is a grassroots initiative, encouraging successful LGBT role models to revisit their high schools to connect with LGBT youth and talk with students about the experiences that have led them to their open, affirmed and successful lives.

Neil G. Giuliano is an American gay rights activist. He was the former four-term Republican mayor (1994-2004) of Tempe, Arizona. He chaired the commission in charge of hosting the third debate of the 2004 United States presidential elections. He has served as President of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) since September 1, 2005.

One year ago, Live Out Loud launched The Homecoming Project, a major new program that brings lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) leaders back to their high schools to share their personal stories and life lessons with today’s students.

The program is already making a major impact. Leaders like Oscar winner Lance Black (“Milk”) and former GLAAD president Neil Giuliano have returned to their high schools, making a lasting impression on thousands of students and inspiring schools

You can see how your support is helping to inspire the next generation of LGBT leaders by viewing the above 5-minute film documenting Neil Giuliano’s Homecoming Project visit.

Following Neil’s visit, the high school guidance counselor Cindy Sherman said:

This whole event began as a whisper of possibility and evolved into a very loud (and proud) shout-out and wake-up call to our high school community.”

Your continued support can help Live Out Loud bring more LGBT role models back to their high schools. Through this project, we will be able to reach thousands of more gay youth on a national level and continue our mission in connecting them to leaders in the LGBT community.

The Homecoming Project is a grassroots initiative, encouraging successful LGBT role models to revisit their high schools to connect with LGBT youth and talk with students about the experiences that have led them to their open, affirmed and successful lives.

Learn More About the Homecoming Project

Neil Guiliano

Neil G. Giuliano is an American gay rights activist. He was the former four-term Republican mayor (1994-2004) of Tempe, Arizona. He chaired the commission in charge of hosting the third debate of the 2004 United States presidential elections. He served as President of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) from 2005 until 2009.

What Neil G. Giuliano says about going back to his high school

Participating in The Homecoming Project was a wonderful experience. I had not stepped foot in the high school since 1974, having moved to Arizona a few days after graduation. Needless to say, I was a very different person as I left high school 35 years ago, and going back would be quite an adventure. I felt it important to accept this opportunity, even if a bit uncomfortable, so that the current students and staff at the school would hear the story of one who was very active and social while a student, but yet was not fully authentic and was in fact terrified that others would know I was gay.

I never had any sort of gay role model while in high school, and it is important for LGBT youth to know they can become whatever they choose in life, that their sexual orientation or gender identity will not be a barrier to their success.

The experience allowed me to see how much our culture has changed: an openly gay alumnus would have never even been invited back to the school when I attended in the 1970’s, and certainly not to address an assembly with hundreds of students. And yet, it helped underscore how far we still need to go with regard to full equality and acceptable for gay people too. It was an overall wonderful, motivating and uplifting experience and it could not have gone better.

Hopefully, by hearing my story firsthand, the young people assembled will move further along on their own journey of acceptance and understanding, whether as an ally or a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender community.

- Neil Giuliano


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