For a closeted Cuban kid living in Miami, it’d sure be helpful to know how others in his hometown coped. Same for, say, a lesbian growing up in an Orthodox Jewish household looking for girls in similar straits.
Using the website Equalize Youth, young LGBT people will soon be able to look up videos from peers who live in their area, are the same age, ethnicity or religion, or who have gone through the same situation. The site will use a Google Map application and background tags to direct users, but contributors will be kept anonymous. Content can be sorted by place—hometown, summer camp, high school, community center, etc—and by important keywords relating to the entry.
“These will be stories of struggle, of success, of people just simply being themselves. Real-life knowledge on coming out, bullies, feeling ashamed, dealing with parents, handling crushes,” explains Equalize Youth’s mission statement. “There is a world of support out here, and we want to make it accessible for young people by harnessing the power of the technologies of our time.”
Equalize Youth is the next logical step after the It Gets Better Campaign, and the idea for the non-profit web portal was partly inspired by IHadCancer.com, a site for those fighting and affected by the illness. To get it up and running, EY creator Derek Gerson and his team are hoping to raise $25,000 by November 16 through an IndieGoGo campaign.
“Derek’ [saw] ‘It Gets Better’ go viral, but like the vast majority of people everywhere, he himself never had the guts to make a video,”says blogger Dan Estabrook. “He has a brilliant idea: to take key takeaways from ‘It Gets Better’ and provide a more location-based, but anonymous, tool. It’s an alternative with lower barriers to entry and impact that will hit close to home for the site users.”