LGBT+ Charity Just Like Us, which focuses on helping young LGBT+ people see the representation they need, is set to launch a new campaign during December called #YoungerMe, which seeks to bring attention to the difficulties LGBT+ people face growing up, and the support that is needed particularly in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
During December, stars, influences, and supporters will be sharing their experiences growing up LGBT+, and discussing how inclusive education and having role models would have been helpful. By posting their #YoungerMe images on Instagram and Twitter, supporters are hoping to start a discussion about the reality of growing up LGBT+ and how Just Like Us is making positive change in this area, such as through their Pride Groups and their Ambassador Programme.
Dominic Arnall, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, said: “We’re thrilled to be launching this campaign with the support of people like UK Drag Race queen Divina De Campo, at a time when LGBT+ young people are facing increasing isolation due to lockdown restrictions.
“Both coronavirus and Christmas are likely to add to the feeling of isolation among LGBT+ young people and it’s vital that we are able to continue supporting them through our community network, mentoring, Ambassador Programme, and by helping schools and colleges to make education inclusive through our Pride Groups programme.
“Just Like Us is looking forward to shining a light on the vital need for inclusive education in transforming the lives of LGBT+ young people, and we can’t wait to see supporters’ #YoungerMe posts on Twitter and Instagram this December.”
Read some of the quotes from those taking part:
Amazin LeThi: "#YoungerMe thought I was the only Asian LGBT+ kid in the world. This led to feelings of isolation which made me feel sad and unsure of who to speak to or trust. If Just Like Us had existed back when I was a kid it would have been so affirming to meet and see community members or role models where we can see a mirror image and reflection of ourselves through shared stories and experiences. It helps us to realise we are safe and part of a large and diverse LGBT+ community. It is a revolutionary act when you see a reflection of yourself in someone else’s story; its impact allows us to realise we are not alone and encourages us to celebrate all forms of diversity and inclusion. This is why I’ve donated £20 to ‘Just Like Us’ and taking part in their #YoungerMe campaign so that LGBT+ youth, particularly from the Asian community, can see a positive LGBT+ role model in school."
Jamie Windust: "#YoungerMe was unable to see the wood from the trees. It doesn't matter how long it takes, or if you're out, your identity is yours to own and navigate through and we are all here with you. To all the young LGBTQ+ people now also unable to see the wood from the trees, the world gets brighter, and clearer, and your chosen family and community are always there for you every step of the way."
Michael Gunning: "When I was younger, I was always smiling and spreading joy wherever I went. I always knew I was different, but a charity like Just Like Us would have shown younger me that 'different' is OK. Never let the world dampen your smile! #YoungerMe"
Influencers taking part in #YoungerMe:
Dancing on Ice star Matt Evers, trans model Maxine Heron, self-described ‘autistic Black Indian lesbian’ Char Bailey, LGBT+ sports inclusion leader Amazin LeThi, non-binary model Jules Guaitamacchi, gay reverend Jide Macaulay, body-positive author Ruby Rare, Phil Samba, Kelsey Ellison, drag artist Misnie, Rose and Nana from the Black lesbian Two Two’s podcast, and Essie Dennis, among others.
#YoungerMe launches on 9 December – visit www.justlikeus.org/younger-me for more information.