Post submitted by former Children, Youth & Families Program Coordinator Sula Malina

This month, HRC sat down with St. Louis native and HRC Foundation Youth Ambassador Jacob Kanter to learn about his experience in LGBTQ advocacy.

During college, Kanter served openly as the president of his club tennis team while taking an active role in politics and LGBTQ advocacy. He works as a paralegal in Atlanta and hopes to attend graduate school to pursue degrees in law and social work. His long-term career goal is to work in nonprofit management.

What inspired you to become an HRC Youth Ambassador?

I became a Youth Ambassador during my senior year of college. I think I was at a point in my life where I knew advocacy and social justice was a path I wanted to follow as a career.  Part of any good advocacy work is the ability to tell your story, to describe what motivates you, and I was ready to begin to tell mine.

What has been one highlight of your experience as an HRC Youth Ambassador?

It has been, without a doubt, being able to spend time with the other Youth Ambassadors. I love being around them and listening to them. They are all wonderful, beautiful souls who have taught me so much and inspire me to better myself in all aspects of my life.

What part of HRC’s work do you connect with the most?

I love the work the HRC Foundation does, specifically the Children, Youth and Families Program. I remember learning about programs like All Children - All Families and Welcoming Schools and hearing what great work they do when I interned at HRC. Being able to eventually use the Foundation’s own research on LGBTQ youth in one of my presentations as a Youth Ambassador was amazing.

What’s your message to LGBTQ youth?

When I was a child I felt alone in the world, with no one to protect me -- and I know many queer youth feel the same way. But there's a whole world out there, and I promise you that your family is out there. It may be with the LGBTQ community or it may be with another group, but it's out there and you will find it and you will be found. You just have to be brave enough to allow them in.

The HRC Foundation Youth Ambassadors are a group of inspiring young people from across the country who show courage in sharing their stories and demonstrate a commitment to speaking out about issues facing LGBTQ youth. As Youth Ambassadors, they represent the HRC Foundation, using their voices to raise awareness about HRC’s youth-focused programs. Learn more here.

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