Openly gay teen, Keagan Roberts, has become one of the youngest elected officials in United States history after winning a place on his local council.
The 19-year-old from South Berwick, located in Maine, won the second-largest share of the votes for a seat on the South Berwick Town Council – making him the youngest city council member in South Berwick’s history.
Speaking to Out magazine, Roberts describes his humble hometown as a place where “everyone knows everyone” and said it has been “such a great place to grow up” as a young gay person. Roberts’ journey to self-identity and acceptance began in middle-school, after coming out in a Facebook post to a “pretty small town” and a family that was overall supportive and accepting.
“I hope that it doesn’t matter how young you are, it doesn’t matter how you identify, you can do whatever you put your mind to,” he said.
“My school was super understanding,” he told Out.
“I really didn’t face too much bullying, at least to my face, which was nice. I also have a twin brother who’s gay, so that kind of made high school a little bit easier. It’s amazing. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Despite missing the original deadline to be on the ballot, Roberts decided to take a community-centred approach and knocked on over 200 doors to greet and introduce himself to voters, encouraging them to instead write his name as the candidate they wanted to vote for – a tactic that worked giving him 20.5 per cent of the overall vote.
“I said [hello] to almost everyone who walked in the door. [It was] rainy out there, so I had to go home and dry my clothes off a couple of times, but I spent 10 hours at the polls,” he explained to MTV News.
Roberts says his main motivation behind running was to give youth a voice, as no one his age had ever run before.