Queer Heroes NW 2013: Joyce Liljeholm


By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly

The second annual Queer Heroes NW, a collaboration between the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN) and Q Center, recognizes local LGBTQ leaders based on nominations from community members. On June 3, it honored the contributions of Joyce Liljeholm, an activist for safe and welcoming schools, congregations, and communities.

Here’s how Queer Heroes NW describes Liljeholm’s contributions:

Joyce’s passion for youth advocacy turned into a statewide effort when she helped found Oregon Safe Schools and Communities (OSSCC) in 2001.

Joyce LiljeholmOSSCC resulted from Joyce’s lead in organizing a state department funded workshop to better meet the needs of sexual minority youth. As the workshop pointed up the serious need for more work, OSSCC was formed.

As an OSSCC Board Director, she helped organize the first Oregon Safe Schools Training in 2002 for teams of youth and adults to meet the needs of LQBTQ youth. She then helped organize the Oregon Gay-Straight Alliance Network and assisted students to put on the first GSA Summit in 2006.

Joyce was a regular visitor in Salem as she lobbied for the Oregon Equality Act (2007), to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in education and other areas, and the more recent Safe Schools Act (2009).

Joyce works with the Community of Welcoming Congregations, especially with the United Church of Christ, to make faith communities welcoming to LGBTQ individuals. She has served as a board member of Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network of Oregon, Portland Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays and served on the City of Portland Sexual Minority Roundtable.

A new queer hero will be revealed online each day in June. All the honorees will be featured in a poster exhibit at Q Center’s Aaron Hall Gallery during June and July, which opens June 13 with a reception from 5-8 p.m., during the Second Thursday Mississippi Avenue Art Walk (full event details here). You can see last year’s honorees here.