Celebrating the achievements of the young LGBTQ+ Community
Since the LGBTQ+ community has developed over time to include terms related to both sexuality and gender, so too should the world of youth leadership to include persons of all genders and sexuality. The YCDiversity website offers an updated list of terms to educate ourselves and provide avenues to be an ally to the community. Most importantly, the webpage emphasizes the importance of pronouns and the importance of not misusing these. Normalize adding these to your introductions.
GLSEN has opened an important gateway for LGBTQ+ youth to access national student leadership. GLSEN realized as a body that LGBTQ+ youth across the country had valuable insights to add to leadership conversations, particularly in the creation of Dear Mr President.
Teen Vogue’s GLAAD’s 20 Under 20 featured many LGBTQ+ people shaping the future of activism. Young people’s leadership in Black Lives Matter, March for Our Lives, and the Youth Strike for Climate has shown that the new generation is the forefront of these conversations. Pride Month offers a shining spotlight on the LGBTQ+ young people who are fostering both sustainable and inclusive cultural change.
With more young people identifying as LGBTQ+ than ever before there needs to be significant change and acceptance. GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis commented that this year’s “20 Under 20 list is a true reflection of the changemakers who are advancing the dialogue and accelerating acceptance for LGBTQ people.”
Young people at the forefront of change include Emma Gonzalez (gun reform activist), Jamie Margolin (climate justice warrior), Sarah Rose Huckman (athlete), and many many more. Aaron Phillip made history as the first Black, transgender, and disabled model to be signed by a major modelling industry (she starred in Miley Cyrus’ “Mother’s Daughter”) and starred in a campaign for Nike. Phillip told GLAAD that “it is critical to fight for your humanity to be adequately understood and/or recognized.” Emma Gonzalez formed the Never Again MSD. A student led committee advocating for gun reform. Emma represents one of the many visible LGBTQ+ people of color and visibility is also a very important part of how we move forward. Jamie Margolin is setting the reading world on firs with her book “Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use it” which serves as a guide to youth activism. Map Pesqueria became one of the first “out transgender person barred from entering the armed forces” because of Trump’s trans ban on the military. Now as a GLAAD Ambassador Pesqueria champions youth leadership: “we need to be pushing the narrative for an increase in the representation and visibility of young people who are fighting for the rights of marginalized identities like those within the LGBTQ+ community.”
The Brooklyn Liberation March, organized by Jezz Chung, Shear Avory, Qween Jean, Joshua Obawole, and Junior Mintt, was a powerful show of support for Black trans youth. As a response to dozens of state’s legislatures anti-trans legislation, the march organizers stated “Let kids play. Let kids speak. Trans youth know their truth.”
NSLDC PRIDE is a leadership conference which provides student leaders with skillsets to encourage societal change and inclusion. With keynotes, workshops, and roundtable discussions students can become better allies, stronger leaders, and practice inclusion on their campuses. The conference coordinator Ayannah Johnson expounds that “The Pride Conference was created to provide a welcoming space for LGBTQA+ student leaders, advisors, and allies to learn leadership tools and skillsets that will motivate them to facilitate the necessary conversations and work that needs to happen on our campuses.”
The call for proposals is still open: check it out.