US: Gay teenager appointed to the board of Florida city council after he spoke out against discrimination

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

The council of the South Florida city of Boca Raton has unanimously appointed a 17-year-old openly gay boy to its community relations board after he spoke out against the city’s lack of anti-LGBT discrimination policies.

The city, that is about 50 miles north of Miami became the only city in Palm Beach County to last year opt out of an ordinance to protect LGBT public employees.

At a council meeting last month, 17-year-old Tyler Morrison spoke out against the city’s lack of such a policy. South Florida Gay News reports that when council member Constance Scott asked the rest of the council what prevented them from moving into the 21st century and updating its protection, Mr Morrison burst into tears.

Last week, the council unanimously selected Mr Morrison to join its community relations board.

“He seemed like such an articulate and dedicated young man who wanted to get involved,” Susan Haynie, Boca’s Deputy Mayor, told the newspaper after the meeting. “And I suggested that serving on one of the city’s advisory boards was the perfect vehicle for him to get involved with our community.”

The President of the Palm Beach Human Rights Council left Mr Morrison a Facebook comment when he was appointed: “This makes you, probably, the youngest openly gay appointed public official in Florida. Congrats.”

Mr Morrison told the South Florida Gay News: “I’m not so interested in the title or being the first this, or first that,” Mr Morrison said. “It doesn’t matter unless I do something about it. I’m looking forward to what I can do.”

The teenager says that he’s considering standing for mayor of the 80,000 strong city in 2014.