Alex Muwu Li, LGBT Activist, 22

When Alex Muwu Li was three years old her parents left their fishing town in The People’s Republic of China to start a new life in New York City. Six years later, at the age of 9 Alex hopped on a plane, landed at JFK at 7am and has lived here ever since.

Alex thrives on the youthful energy of the city and doesn’t mind that being politically active (she worked on Paul Newell’s assembly campaign in 2008, and can be seen in THIS movie documenting the experience!) and socially conscious means that she gets very little sleep. “Go out and do things. Who needs sleep when they’re young? You’ll sleep when you die!” is what the little nagging voice in the back of her head tells her, and she does! Alex is active in MYD’s LGBT Issues committee (who will be getting together this Saturday!), an issue that she has been active in since attending The Beacon School on the Upper West Side.

With the help of my best friend, we brought the then defunct Gay Straight Alliance back into my high school. My favorite political moment happened back in 2006. On the annual day of silence, students and teachers voluntarily chose to remain silent in order to stand in solidarity with LGBT youths. The silence mimics the alienation that LGBT youths face everyday due to their identity. That day, our expectation was to maybe get 100 people to participate, so naturally we printed out 200 “silence pledge” cards just in case. We ran out of pledge cards before the doors to the school were even opened and we scrambled to print out more as the word spread even further by first period. By our count, we had close to 500 participants and 10 teachers who taught “silent classes” because we had encouraged them to do so beforehand. In a school usually filled with nearly 1,000 chattering teenager during breaks between class time, walking down the halls that day was to put it mildly, eerie because nearly half of the students body was silent, everyone else felt compelled to tone down their chatter. It felt so good to walk down those halls that day with my head held high because on that day, despite the fact that I was silent, I felt like I’ve never said so much in my life to my fellow classmates. The slight nod of the head to everyone wearing a “pledge card”… more meaning was conveyed in that single gesture of solidarity than in all my 4 years of knowing some of them, and it felt beyond great.

Join Alex along with other members of our LGBT Issues committee this Wednesday at the 5th Annual Women’s Awards at the Stonewall Inn.

Do you have someone you’d like to nominate for MYD Member of the Week? Email me at taylor [at]!