Calling all the young LGBTI heroes out there

A new programme for LGBTI youth is urging “young heroes” to share their positive and empowering experiences to help others find their way.

“I’m not a girl, not yet a woman”, Britney Spears sang in the adolescent phase of her pop princess reign. Cheesy as it may be, everyone can relate and identify with that awkward phase of being a teenager or young adult.

It’s a time filled with discovery, excitement and many changes. At the same time, it can be confusing, scary and inevitable that you ask fundamental questions about life, your place in the world and evaluate your sense of ‘self’. It’s no wonder that this phase is often referred to as “the wonder years”.

However, for some marginalised groups this not just a ‘Britney’ moment in time. Bullying, trolling, shaming, homophobia, prejudice, racism, social alienation, depression, suicide, cultural and religious issues, core family rejection, poverty, homelessness and limited access to information are but a few of the realities that some young people are living with.

For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) youth this trauma can have a significant, lasting impact on their psyche, relationships and health, which is evident in our adult LGBTI communities.

This is where YOU come in… Heroes represent the best of ourselves; a hero can be anyone who is willing to make a difference and help others.

The Anova Health Institute and Elton John Aids Foundation recently launched the Young heroes programme. They are looking for positive role models that LGBTI youth can look up to for guidance, hope and direction.

They are also searching for heterosexual allies who will lend their voice and take a stand against inequality, bullying and discrimination.

Finally they are also looking for young gay men that are already doing positive, visible, impactful things on social media.

If you believe you are one of these heroes, send your motivational stories or video clips to Young Heroes to share with the world. Tell anybody else you think might fit any of these profiles.

Be part of the difference you want to see in the world and show that you care.

Email Young Heroes on info@health4men.co.za and visit the Young Heroes Facebook page.

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