The #YoungerMe campaign, created by Just Like Us, a charity for LGBT+ young people, launched on Wednesday and will raise awareness that growing up LGBT+ is tough.
Supporting the campaign are UK Black Pride volunteer and lesbian influencer Char Bailey and Levi Williams, who starred on Channel 4’s The Bridge and MTV’s Love Squad. Both are from Wolverhampton.
Several LGBT+ young people – who are Just Like Us ambassadors that give talks in schools – are sharing their experiences growing up and what needs to change for schools to be happier, safer places for LGBT+ young people.
Ambassador Siraaj M, 24, said: “Younger me had always wanted a role model, and I think this need came from many intertwining aspects of my identity.
“As a gay, South Asian, Muslim boy, I didn’t see the way I wanted to live my life represented in the lives of people around me, nor did I see my traits and values necessarily reflected in anyone I looked up to.
“Just as I needed role models, Just Like Us is an increasingly diverse group of positive role models who give school talks to inspire the next generation to be themselves. I no longer feel such a need to seek permission to be myself in the same way.”
Throughout December, celebrities, influencers and supporters will be sharing what it was like for them growing up LGBT+ and how inclusive education would have helped them.
Dominic Arnall, chief executive of Just Like Us, added: “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.”