GLSEN, an organization aimed at ensuring safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ+ students, is marking its 30th anniversary

By Ally Mauch
October 22, 2020 12:00 PM
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Octavia Spencer, Antoni Porowski, Matt Bomer and more Hollywood directors are taking part in a celebration that will showcase the stories of LGBTQ+ students across the country, PEOPLE can exclusively announce.

GLSEN, an organization aimed at ensuring safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ students, is hosting the celebration, titled Respect Everywhere. The event, which also marks the organization's 30th anniversary, is a reimagining of GLSEN's annual Los Angeles Respect Awards.

In addition to Spencer, Porowski and Bomer, Kalen Allen, Rob Hardy and Joe Mantello will also be taking part in telling a student's story. Each story will premiere online on Monday.

Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty; Neilson Barnard/Getty; John Lamparski/Getty

"We knew GLSEN's 30th anniversary would begin in a world profoundly challenged by the COVID pandemic, the fight for racial justice, and a continued assault on hard-fought LGBTQ+ rights and gains for LGBTQ+ youth," says GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard in a statement. "It was imperative to center a diverse group of LGBTQ+ student stories for this year's Respect celebration. They will give you hope for the future and the energy to fight for the next thirty years."

The stories range from a trans football player navigating the sport and his identity, to an immigrant student acclimating to a new country while embarking on a journey of self-acceptance.

Spencer will be telling the story of Jessica Chiriboga, a mixed-race lesbian seeking to find a balance between her faith and sexuality

"I was honored to meet Jessica Chiriboga and tell her story for GLSEN Respect Everywhere," says the Hidden Figures star, 48. "Jessica is an exceptional young woman who struggled to reconcile her Christian faith with her sexual orientation, but in the process she became a leader and activist making a difference in so many people's lives."