LGBTQ youth who are making a difference: Elliott Darrow

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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21 | Transgender | He/Him/His

Whether surrounded by land or sea, St. Petersburg native Elliott Darrow is dedicated to making a difference.

As an educator at The Florida Aquarium, the University of South Florida student teaches children about conservation, ecology and animal welfare. He also volunteers with the Foundation for Sustainable Families, where for years he’s advocated for the LGBTQ community and focused on providing resources to all communities in need.

The organization utilizes expertise from individuals like Darrow who specialize in the arts, education, social work, medicine and more to foster sustainability. By enriching and supporting public health, child welfare, equality and human rights, they aim to reverse cycles of abuse, dysfunction and neglect.

“The foundation provides services for all different types of families,” Darrow explains. “We work with a lot of transgender and questioning children, offering them events and support, and then also with parents who are transgender who have young children. Just having a place where people can go to feel comfortable and safe is so important.”

From providing meals to the food insecure at the foundation’s farm to assisting with educational field trips, Darrow has worked tirelessly with the organization—advocating for them in school and during a professional development conference earlier this year. “I served as one of their panelists,” he says, “and was able to educate people on ways they can serve the local LGBTQ community.”

Increasing visibility for the LGBTQ community is of particular importance to Darrow. In June, he designed the commemorative T-shirt provided to the first 1,000 registrants of the third annual TransPride March, which kicked off the 17th annual St Pete Pride parade.

The design depicted the word “trans” in the shape of a heart, presented in the colors of the transgender pride flag. “There needs to be more love within our community,” Darrow said at the time. “I hope the love we show this summer at Pride for trans individuals will continue on through acts of allyship in everyday life.”

Darrow is also a proud participant in the inaugural class of Equality Florida’s TransAction Leadership Academy. On a monthly basis, the organization trains and develops the next generation of transgender or gender nonbinary leaders in the areas of advocacy.

“I come from a place where people have a lot of fear,” Darrow says. “To me, fear is the opposite of love and education is what helps cure that fear. Being able to raise awareness about who we are will lead to the most impact I can have.”

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