When he was walking towards a gay bar, Jared Fox, 28 was attacked by a group teenagers while visiting his hometown, Cleveland, Ohio. He was left with a host of injuries: a ruptured ear drum, hearing loss, black eye, and bruises all over his body.
"I can't un-do what happened," a black-eyed Fox said in a YouTube video he posted shortly after the attack. "Thank God that I'm alive...the only thing I can be right now is thankful. That's the only emotion I feel."
But the attack has not affected Fox's mission to make schools safer places for LGBT youths. Two years after the attack, Fox has just become the first ever LGBT community liaison for the New York City Public School system.
"With the appointment of Jared Fox as the new LGBT liaison, the Department has taken a bold step forward to assure students and teachers alike that anti-gay discrimination will not be tolerated and that, in fact, the Department will look for ways to be more inclusive of the LGBT communities," Daniel Dromm, NYC Council Education Committee Chairperson, told The Huffington Post.
Fox's goals include having LGBT authors visit English classrooms and talk about their works and putting gender-neutral bathrooms in schools. "This is 28 years of dreaming of what I would want to do when I grew up," Fox said. "To wake up in the morning and be able to know the work I'm going to do is going to make school safer for everybody, not just LGBT kids...I think it's amazing. I feel blessed."