June, the month of pride is all about the celebration of LGBTQ culture, uplifting them and shining a light on the issues these people face. Over the past few years, we have witnessed many movements which indicate that people around the world are ready for a revolutionary cultural shift. At the forefront of such movements are the voices of young people who strive to bring equality, inclusion, and diversity to the society.
1.Aaron Philip, she/her, 21, Model
Aaron Philip made history as the first Black, transgender, and disabled model to be signed to a major modeling agency. At just 19 years old, Aaron is doing exactly what she set out to do — change the future of fashion and entertainment. As someone who campaigns for transgender and disability representation in high fashion, she believes it’s important for her to be a visible LGBTQ advocate because “it is critical to fight for your humanity to be adequately understood and/or recognized.”
2. Jazz Jennings, she/her, 21, Activist/TV Personality/Author
It would be an injustice if we talk about the impact of representation and visibility for transgender youth without mentioning Jazz Jennings. As one of the youngest people to become a national transgender figure, Jazz’s story has helped to change the way people around the world see and understand transgender youth.
Since 2015, her TLC series I Am Jazz has spotlighted the experiences of growing up as a transgender teen, and she continues to educate the general public about issues affecting transgender youth. She also inspires other young LGBTQ people to be their authentic selves while promoting necessary messages of acceptance and equality.
3. Ezra Greyson Wheeler, they/them, 22, Writer
Ezra Greyson Wheeler likes to call themself “just your local queer activist,” but they are being modest. Through their advocacy work for accessibility, disability rights, intersectional feminism, and LGBTQ inclusion on college campuses, Ezra fights for a world that is more inclusive and equitable for the most marginalized.
Ezra founded the We Exist Collective, a social movement to bring visibility to disabled activists and create accessible, accommodating spaces to include people with disabilities in advocacy. They were also profiled in the documentary series Trust Me, I’m Sick, which raised awareness about people living with chronic illnesses.
“There is almost no visibility or space for visibility of disabled LGBTQ+ folks,” says Ezra. “If I’m not a visible advocate, then who will be? It’s all about leading by example.”
4. Ose Arheghan, they/them, 21, Policy Organizer/Student
Ose Arheghan is a well-known name in the world of activism. Ose, a nonbinary and queer, started advocating for greater LGBTQ inclusion for their fellow students in high school, ultimately spearheading crucial changes to the school’s discrimination policy. They also served as the National Student Advocate of the Year for GLSEN, advocating for inclusive practices in K-12 schools.
Ose continues to emphasize the need for inclusive practices for queer and trans students. They are also a Policy Organizer with Know Your IX, a DC-based non-profit that aims to empower students to end sexual harassment and violence in schools.
5.Shannon Li, she/her or they/them, 21, Student
As a Girl Who Codes and #BUILTBYGIRL ambassador, Shannon aims to break down the barriers for queer woman in tech. Their work centers around empowering others, especially In marginalized countries.
“My identity remains as the vulnerable reminder of who I am, how far I have come, and who I will become,” however they believe “I understand the challenges of being a queer person and the power that stories and communities can be a lifeline for other queer folks.”
Credits: Teen Vogue
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- Staff Reporter