NSAA Executive Director Rhonda Blanford-Green admitted that controversy over her attempt to introduce, last year, a non-discrimination policy for transgender students played a part in her decision.
That controversy was largely stoked by a right-wing religious pressure group, the Nebraska Family Alliance via a disinformation campaign, replete with scare tactics, targeting the NSAA.
Although the World-Herald video (not a recording of his NET performance) which you may watch here, along with an very good interview with Barth's mother, is embeddable, it rudely autoplays and then won't stop, making it unsuitable for many blogs. Below is a screencap from KMTV's video report, which also autoplays, but which you may see here.
In a follow-up editorial, the Omaha World-Herald wrote:
Hours into the controversy — after Nebraska Educational Television announced that it would record whichever poems Barth chose to present — NSAA executive director Rhonda Blanford-Green reversed the ban. Barth could perform his championship-winning poetry.
The young man had the support of his mother, his school superintendent, members of the speech community and people on social media nationwide.
But most importantly, Michael Barth had the courage of his convictions. That’s the stuff of a champion.
|KMTV's video, including excerpts from Barth's NET|
performance, can be seen here.
Barth said his presentation was inspired by the bigotry he's faced. Students have bullied him, he said, and called him homophobic slurs for much of his life.
“Despite being a feminine person, I am still a man and that's what I am,” he said. “That's what I discovered through doing this.”
Buchan said her son has been accepted into the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“He's just a great kid. He's always been somebody who is everybody's friend and has very strong beliefs about things.”