Justice Horn is on the fast track to a political career he hopes will one day find him sitting in the Missouri governor’s mansion.
After enrolling at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in January, Horn was voted the Student Government Association president, where he works with 423 different organizations and oversees a budget of $1.9 million.
The 2016 Blue Springs High School graduate gained national attention last year when he came out as one of the first openly gay NCAA wrestlers while attending Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
He had wrestled and played football at Blue Springs, and had announced to his Wildcat teammates that he was gay, but he did not make national headlines until his announcement at NSU.
“I don’t know what it was when I was a little kid, but I didn’t think I was normal,” Horn explained. “It all started in fifth grade, when I knew I was different. But I was in fifth grade – I didn’t even know what it meant to be gay. I was bullied, and it was pretty awful.”
“That’s why I wanted to come out as gay and let those little kids who are struggling know that there were other people, like me, who struggled too. I want to be a trailblazer, someone everyone can look up to admire, not just members of the gay community, but everyone.”
“I think it’s important that I tell my story, and when I do tell it, it’s like this weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
Horn said he wants to be a representative of all students at UMKC.
“My experience coming out has been a positive one, but it has had its highs and lows,” he explained, “but I did it because I believe representation matters, and it accelerates acceptance.”
“My goal is to change the hearts and minds of people, and that happens by going to audiences that do not always agree with you and showing them that I am living proof of progress,” said Horn.
When he returned home, he enrolled at UMKC in January and took on a position as an SGA Bloch School of Business senator. In a few months, he was elected SGA president.
“I want to make an impact, I want to be a difference maker, and this is the best way to do it,” Horn said from his second-floor, corner office in the Student Union.
“People ask me if I want to go into politics when I graduate, and I tell them absolutely. I am thinking about getting a law degree, running for City Council – I’m not going to wait. I’m going to get involved in my early 20s because I think I can make a difference.”
“And I’m talking about making a difference for everyone – not just members of the LGBT community. I am not the SGA ‘gay’ president of UMKC. I am the SGA president of UMKC, and I am the president for every student on campus. And that is important to me and I hope it is important to the UMKC student body.”