the voice and vision of a new generation
GLAAD

WATCH: BuzzFeed’s Queer Prom was a reminder that LGBTQ youth have power

June 25, 2018

The Japanese word kyodotai roughly translates to “community through shared experience” in English. In many ways, by existing as an LGBTQ individual alone, queer and transgender people are a part of something larger than themselves. Earlier this Pride Month, I attend BuzzFeed’s Queer Prom and it reminded me of the innate power the voices in our community have when we convene together. From when each person arrived and either registered or pledged to vote in the upcoming midterm election, to the final dance of the night with friends old and new.

Starting Pride Month as a twenty-year old in 2018, the last thing I expected to be doing was attending a prom. By the time I arrived in Manhattan from Philadelphia, it became apparent many other attendees felt the same, if not more surprised because of an even worst high school prom experience. For others, this was one of their first experiences attending a formal event as an out queer and/or transgender person.

June is a time to both celebrate my identity as an out queer man, but also to reflect on a time when I couldn’t disclose my sexuality because I knew that I would be subjected to questions, harassment, and discrimination. During high school, in particular, I was out but had very few places to turn and explore my identity, June was the perfect chimera for acceptance--equally so close yet so far away from me.

Now more than ever, with the rescinded protections of transgender students in public schools, seven states with local or state education laws prohibiting teachers from discussing lesbian, gay, or bisexual+ people and topics, and the recent Supreme Court ruling on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, young queer and transgender people need to make their voices heard in opposition to discrimination.

The change we, as young people, want to see cannot happen unless we elect politicians who support the LGBTQ community. But before we can vote we have to show up. In 2016, 39% of Millennials were not registered to vote in the 2016 election cycle and only 50% of eligible voters aged 18-29 voted in the general election.

Before we can show up, we have to get informed and speak out. That is why GLAAD is launching the #ampyourvoice campaign to empower LGBTQ youth with the tools and resources necessary to vote in the 2018 Midterm Election. Together, we can defeat anti-LGBTQ legislation at the state and local level while demonstrating support for legislation that is beneficial for the LGBTQ community.

Although the night was filled with dancing and fun, BuzzFeed’s Queer Prom was nothing short of serious. It was a reminder to accept ourselves as who we are—and to never allow anyone to take that away.

#ampyourvoice is a voter excitement campaign to engage, inform, and inspire young people to take action in their communities this midterm election. Follow the #ampyourvoice campaign on GLAAD social mediaFacebook, Instagram, Twitterand learn how you can take one action today at countable.us/profiles/glaad!

Nick Fiorellini is a GLAAD Campus Ambassador and a rising junior at Bard College studying literature. He is member of the school’s QSA, Christian Fellowship, and is currently in the process of reviving the Hudson Sexuality and Gender Discussion Group

the voice and vision of a new generation