Ds Scholarship

New MaineCF scholarship supports LGBTQ+ individuals and allies

PORTLAND & ELLSWORTH – A new scholarship at the Maine Community Foundation will support LGBTQ+ youth and allies in pursuing post-secondary studies. The Parsons Scholarship Fund for Young and Allied LGBTQ+ honors the late Betsy Parsons, a longtime Portland teacher and a fierce advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

Parsons has taught English for 30 years and was one of the first teachers in Maine to openly identify as a lesbian. She helped found the Southern Maine chapter of GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), which fights to ensure schools and safe spaces for all students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. She led the way in creating nearly 90 student sex and sexuality clubs statewide, recruiting student leaders and counselors, and providing ongoing support.

Parsons has received numerous awards for her teaching and LGBTQ advocacy. In 2019, she was recognized with legislative sentiment by the state legislature for her leadership in making schools safe for students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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