Clarke School Board appoints first-ever openly LGBTQ member

The Clarke County School Board named bisexual entrepreneur Antwon Stephens as its newest member, as the 23-year-old beat out four other candidates for the District 2 seat.

The school board voted in favor of Stephens (photo) during its Jan. 16 meeting. He is believed to be the school board’s first-ever openly LGBTQ member, according to Stephens. 

“I am so overwhelmed in emotions and thankful to the Athens-Clarke County community and school board for trusting me to bring unity and tenacity in the equity fight for minority and LGBTQ+ students and faculty,” he told Project Q Atlanta.

A spokesperson for the Clarke County School District said Stephens will officially take office this week, but she would not confirm if he was the board’s first LGBTQ member.

“I cannot speak on behalf of any staff or board member regarding their personal information,” said Beth Moore, communications manager for the Clarke County School District.

Stephens replaces Frances Berry, who resigned her seat in December, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. Stephens said he will drop out of a race for the 9th Congressional District and run for a four-year term on the Clarke School Board in May.

Stephens announced the run for U.S. House Rep. Doug Collins’ seat in 2019. He would have been Georgia’s first-ever LGBTQ member of the U.S. House if he won.

Stephens ran for Athens mayor in 2018, but dropped out for health reasons. 

He was in the news again in June 2019 when a motel manager in Rabun County refused to rent rooms to attendees of the Rural America Pride Festival, the first-ever event celebrating LGBTQ people in North Georgia. Stephens is a co-founder of the festival, which took place that August. The motel manager was fired for the incident, according to 11Alive.