Julia Roberts announced she is standing with students fighting for LGBT rights under the Trump administration.
In a statement for PEOPLE, Roberts explained her show of public support for Miguel Johnson, a 16-year-old GLSEN student ambassador in St. Joseph, Mo., at the 2016 GLSEN Respect Awards where she stood behind Johnson on stage.
“I had the pleasure of presenting with Miguel at last year’s GLSEN Respect Awards, and Miguel, like all the students I meet there, is smart, kind and incredibly brave to live their life openly and honestly at such a young age,” Roberts said in a statement to PEOPLE. “As a parent, I want all students to feel safe and protected at school, and I stand with Miguel and trans students across the country. You are loved.”
Johnson, who identifies as gender-fluid, was hopeful at the time of the GLSEN Respect Award which took place weeks before the election. In February, President Donald Trump rescinded Obama-era federal protections for transgender students.
“Before Trump got elected, he always said he was totally for LGBTQ students, because they’re people too and they deserve an education,” Johnson tells PEOPLE. “And then after he got elected, he was basically like, ‘Just kidding, I lied.'”
“We need to be progressive. People don’t realize that these things affect people they know and care about. So I’m hoping that the more people come out and speak up, the more people will start realize this affects them too,” Johnson continued.