Post submitted by Sula Malina, Children, Youth & Families Program Coordinator
This month, HRC sat down with Zimar Batista, an HRC Foundation Youth Ambassador from Coral Springs, Florida, who was raised in the Dominican Republic, to learn about his experience leading his peers in LGBTQ advocacy.
Since coming out in high school, Batista has been dedicated to the fight for LGBTQ rights. In 2017, Zimar became the first openly gay student ambassador at Marymount University. Now a junior at American University in Washington, D.C., he is pursuing a career in public service with the long-term goal of becoming a foreign service officer.
What inspired you to become an HRC Youth Ambassador?
My love for public service, my community and lack of representation were the three things that inspired me to become a youth ambassador. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, LGBT groups were treated as non-existent and considered a disgrace within our community. Seeing the lack of support for embracing your true self gave me the initiative to get involved.
What has been one highlight of your experience as an HRC Youth Ambassador?
One of the biggest highlights has been being able to meet Dolores Huerta during the Time to THRIVE conference this past February. She’s a labor leader, civil rights activist and co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association. As a Hispanic-American, I was honored to have met her and discuss LGBT activism with her.
What part of HRC’s work do you connect with the most?
HRC’s work on supporting LGBT youth of color.
What’s your message to LGBTQ youth?
My message is: “What’s stopping you from becoming the person that you want to be?” Don’t ever feel alone -- there’s a family waiting for you with open arms.
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.