A whole host of LGBTQI legends have gotten involved with the campaign to show that it always gets better  

BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS

Just Like Us, the charity for LGBTQI young people, have today launched a new campaign called #YoungerMe to raise awareness that growing up LGBTQI is still unacceptably tough, and support LGBTQI young people need in the face of increasing isolation this winter, due to Covid-19. 

By posting their #YoungerMe images on Instagram and Twitter, supporters will be raising awareness of the realities of being a young LGBTQI person and how Just Like Us is making education more inclusive through Pride Groups, mentoring, and the Ambassador Programme.

Queer influencers and activists such as Char Bailey, Jamie Windust and Helen Scott, among others, are opening up about their experiences growing up and why inclusive education is needed.

Speaking to DIVA, Amazin LeThi who has taken part in the #YoungerMe campaign said: “Just Like Us have done such a great job of making sure that every story and every voice is at the table. I’m in a position now where I can easily share my story and I know what kind of positive impact that can have on LGBTQI kids.”

“It’s been a difficult year, particularly for LGBTQI people and youth, because you could be stuck at home with family members that aren’t affirming of your sexuality or gender identity and we can empower people through campaigns like #YoungerMe and remind them there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. There are always positive role models who share a similar story.”

Check out some of the queer icons involved in the campaign below! 

Rose Frimpong and Nana Duncan, hosts of the Two Two’s podcast


Rose: #YoungerMe always knew she was different from most people in her class. She tried to be just like everyone else and almost convinced herself that was who she really was. She copied what she saw because there didn’t seem to be any other option. If Just Like Us existed back then, #YoungerMe would have had another option and that option would have been to be herself. She would have felt validated from other people like herself, and wouldn’t have felt like the odd one out. 

Nana: If you told #YoungerMe who I would be today, #YoungerMe would not believe you. How would I? I didn’t know any black LGBT+ people growing up. I didn’t know any LGBT+ people, period. If Just Like Us existed back then, it would have given me the validation I so desperately needed. It would have given me the representation I so desperately needed. I would have seen people who looked like me, who were like me and that would have made me feel normal. 

Helen Scott


If Just Like Us had been around when I was younger, had come into my school and let me know that what I was experiencing and feeling was normal, I would have saved myself a whole heap of trauma that took a lot of emotional and exhaustive work to unravel. It’s so important for us to feel like we belong, that we are loved and accepted, and that goes for all children – but especially for those who exist in minority groups. We’re important and normal (and fabulous), and we need to make sure our next generation knows that. 

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.

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.

Just Like Us ambassador Rita Leci


Being LGBT+ meant I grew up thinking there was something deeply wrong with me and I would never be accepted for who I am. If Just Like Us had come to my school when I was a teenager, it would have spared #YoungerMe a lot of heartache. Just Like Us matters because the next generation of LGBT+ kids deserve to know they are completely normal and so loved.

Drag queen Misnie 


Being in a Catholic all girls school, my knowledge of LGBTQIA+ people was non-existent – I didn’t even know anything about queer people, nor did I know that i could ever love someone that wasn’t necessarily a cis straight man. Discussions were met with negative vibes and I never met or spoke to anyone of my knowledge during this time who felt the same as me. Even when I tried to open up about my feelings for one of the girls in my class in year seven to my own family, I was shut down before I could even catch my breath with the next sentence.

Char Bailey


I didn’t know anything about identity or sexuality growing up. I was called a “tomboy” and floaty, lacey and tartan clothes made me so upset. It wasn’t until much later in life I learned more about the spectrum of identity and fluidity. I wish I had been able to understand that people like me existed, I wish I had seen myself and felt validated. Just Like Us is so important because it gives young people a chance to see themselves. You have to be able to look at yourself to see your worth and to have the best chance to be all we can be. Visibility is key.

Visit www.justlikeus.org/younger-me for more information and make sure to take part in the campaign online yourself and use the hashtag #YoungerMe.

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