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San Diego activist Vincent Pompei named to The Advocate's Forty Under 40 list

SAN DIEGO -- Vincent Pompei, a local educator, activist and organizer of the annual Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership (CESCaL) conference focused on LGBT children, has been selected for "The Advocate's" annual "Forty Under 40" recognition.

The national LGBT magazine calls its list of 40 people under 40 years old "the architects of the next decade." The honorees are featured in a spread in this month's edition of the print magazine as well on Advocate.com.

Honorees, which range from leaders in media, politics, sports and science, include people like Ricardo Lara, member of the California State Assembly; Brittany McMillan, founder of LGBT Spirit Day; Mike Munich, dancer for Lady Gaga; and Rachel Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality.

In its description of Pompei, The Advocate said:

When Vincent Pompei became a schoolteacher, he designated his classroom a safe space for LGBT students. But when another teacher in his conservative public school found out Pompei was gay, there was no safe space for the teacher to hide from bullying at the hands of fellow educators and the school’s administration. So he filed a formal complaint with the district. The administrator in charge was subsequently removed, and Pompei started conducting LGBT awareness training for teachers across the district. That experience empowered him to get involved in the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership, which just held its Supporting Students — Saving Lives Conference (CESCAL.org), attended by 500 educators from 29 states, sponsored by Southwest Airlines, and endorsed by President Obama.

“There are a lot of kids for whom it hasn’t gotten better yet,” says Pompei, who was also a victim of bullying as a child and who is now the Supporting Students — Saving Lives conference chair. “We don’t want to just prevent suicide, we want children to know that the people around them are going to love them, protect them, and welcome them for who they are.”

The next conference is Feb. 15-17, 2013 in San Diego.

Read The Advocate's full profile of Pompei and the 39 other community leaders HERE.