From the president

Joshua Honaker, in his third year at Ohio Northern University, is a student leader active in addressing issues of inequality facing members of Ohio’s LGBTQ+ community. Since coming out as a transgender male at age fifteen, Joshua has employed the power of conversation and taken to the stage to tell his story to change the hearts and minds of those who oppose the rights of queer people. He testified before the Ohio Board of Education in October and November 2022 against an anti-transgender resolution, delaying its passing until December. When the Families, Aging, and Human Services Committee of the Ohio House of Representatives took up House Bill 454, which would ban gender-affirming mental and medical care for minors, Joshua organized a letter-writing campaign to the committee chair to outline the bill’s very real physical and emotional dangers to transgender youth and to plead that it remain in committee and never make it to the House floor. Both personally and professionally, Joshua is committed to addressing social stigma and inequities, particularly for the LGBTQ community.

Melissa Baumann


Ohio Northern University


Personal Statement

I came out as transgender when I was fifteen. The news spread quickly around my small high school. Acquaintances and teachers I had known for years began approaching me with invasive questions, crude jokes, or threats of violence. I empowered myself through this journey of transitioning by having conversations with these people directly, even when that meant answering the uncomfortable questions. Over time, I watched their stiff views of queerness soften. I live by the motto, “Change minds by changing hearts,” so I continued holding these conversations as I entered college. When I was twenty, I got on stage and told my story of coming out and a memorable interaction with a hateful stranger to an audience of a hundred people. When the Ohio legislature began working to pass anti-transgender bills a few months later, I let the fire of that performance carry me to the statehouse. There, I sat in front of a room of officials and told them my story. A month later, I did it again. By using my voice and speaking out, I have been able to reach people in ways that leave a lasting impression. This is how we make change.

Joshua Honaker

Pharmacy (PharmD)/Honors Program; Secondary Major: Integrated Health Sciences (BS)

Ohio Northern University