Senior, Watkins Mill High School
Whether she’s writing for her school’s newspaper or talking to her classmates, Jubilee “Lee” Robinson is working to change perceptions of the LGBTQ community at Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg and beyond.
“I think the reason a lot of people are discriminated against is because people aren’t educated,” says Lee, who leads the school’s LGB TQ + Club and has written editorials for The Current opposing legislation that bans transgender individuals from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity, among other issues. “When I write, I want to give people the opportunity to step into someone else’s shoes.”
Lee is the newspaper’s associate editor and the editor-in-chief of the school’s literary magazine, The Keyhole. “Everybody has something that clicks with them in their brain and it just makes sense. For me, it’s writing,” says Lee, 17. “I fell in love with being able to publish a story, getting feedback and knowing what you wrote mattered.”
The teen, who lives in Montgomery Village and has two moms (her dad transitioned to a woman beginning when Lee was 6), says her own gender expression varies. “I don’t need to put myself in a box,” says Lee, who has tried to curb her peers’ use of offensive language about sexual orientation.
During National Coming Out Day in October, she spoke to classes about how to support others who are ready to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity. She also has written a guide to help students who want to come out.
Lee’s efforts have helped create a more tolerant school community, says English and journalism teacher Sara Confino, who noted the LGBTQ+ Club ran out of wristbands and rainbow ribbon pins due to high demand during an April 2018 fundraiser for the National Day of Silence, a student-led movement to protest bullying and harassment of LGBTQ students and those who support them.
“Watkins Mill is, without a doubt, the most LGBTQ-plus friendly environment I’ve experienced, and I do think a large part of that is due to Lee’s tireless work,” Confino says.
Lee says she is applying for an ROTC scholarship and is considering majoring in science, math or engineering when she attends college in the fall.