Zea, The Ohio Girl Who Stood Up To A Homophobic Preacher, Raises Money For LGBT Youth

Zea Bowling, the Ohio girl who became an Internet sensation last week when she calmly and quietly waved a rainbow flag as a homophobic preacher screamed at her, is using her newfound fame to make a difference.

An image of Zea (pronounced "Zay-uh") was turned into a T-shirt by a local artist, and in a video released on Monday, the 7-year-old said she would donate half the funds from sales of the shirt to the Kaleidoscope Youth Center, an LGBTQ youth community center in Columbus.

"I want to donate money from my T-shirts to help kids have fun and be safe," Zea said in a video released on Monday.

Following the Supreme Court's landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, Zea attended a local arts and music festival with her family. As happened across the country, the event became an impromptu celebration of the decision, and Zea was waving a rainbow flag when the preacher approached and began yelling at her through a microphone.

Instead of backing down, Zea waved her flag in an image that quickly went viral across social media:

#lovewon #mykid #zeabowling #comfest2015 #happycomfest

A photo posted by Ryan Bowling (@bowling.ryan) on

Ryan Bowling, Zea's dad, told The Huffington Post via email that she isn't really conscious of her sudden fame.

"Thankfully, Zea is not on social media, and she doesn't watch the news, so that has helped to shield her from much of the buzz," Bowling said. "That having been said, at play-dates, the first thing her friends have said to her has been 'Zea, I saw you on TV last night!'"

As for Zea's distinctive name, Bowling said they were looking for something unique and pretty.

"We didn't want her to ever be mistaken for anybody but herself," he said.

There's little chance of that happening now.



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