Two students with deep metro Atlanta roots are among the 2015 recipients of coveted annual scholarships doled out by big-money benefactor the Point Foundation.
The foundation pores over scores of applications each year and puts funds into the higher education coffers of students with widely varying interests, backgrounds and education levels. What do all the scholars have in common? A record of excellence and a gay card – that is, they identify as LGBT.
Kevin Robertson (photo, left) grew up in Roswell and is seeking his medical degree from Georgia Regents University in Augusta. He is among gay medical students there responsible for founding the Equality Clinic, a first-of-its-kind facility in Georgia.
Dani Planer (right) identifies as transgender non-binary and has advocated for LGBT rights since high school. The Atlanta native is studying Critical Social Thought at Mount Holyoke College.
Each of the locals harbor future goals in LGBT advocacy and activism. They are among three-dozen Point Scholars for 2015. Here are their bios from the full list of recipients.
Kevin Robertson was born in Caribou, Maine, but grew up in Georgia, which became his home state. His entire education, starting with elementary school through college and medical school, has been in Georgia, and he is well-acquainted with the trials and tribulations of being LGBT in the South. During his medical education, Kevin worked to advance the health of the LGBT community in Augusta, Ga. Along with a group of his medical student peers, he helped establish the Equality Clinic of Augusta, an LGBT-focused free clinic. He has served a number of roles in the clinic — first as a student coordinator and webmaster to the clinic's website, and later as a member of the clinic's nonprofit board of directors. A particular focus of his has been HIV awareness and prevention, and he established opt-out rapid HIV screening for the clinic's patients as well as offering pre-exposure prophylaxis. Kevin was elected president of GRU Equality in 2014, and he has worked to carry out the organization's goals of education, advocacy, and outreach on behalf of LGBT faculty, staff, students, and patients in Augusta's medical community.
Dani Planer came out as transgender nonbinary at age 16 and has advocated for transgender rights and inclusion ever since. Dani has helped to designate an all-gender restroom option at school, raised awareness of nonbinary and transgender identities within the academic community, and led solidarity campaigns. Dani has combined a passion for social justice with writing poetry and critical essays as a means of presenting information about the transgender community and how to support transgender individuals in an accessible way. Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, a national alternative news source that focuses on juvenile justice reform, has featured Dani’s writing on multiple occasions, and one of Dani’s poems appears in the writing journal Two Serious Ladies. Dani's passion for social justice extends beyond the LGBTQIAA+ community, as reflected in Dani’s many photojournalism articles about the importance of honoring different cultures and traditions in respectful ways as well as a commitment to participate in many protests calling attention to police brutality.