The 2018 HRC Youth Ambassadors are a group of 16 inspiring young people, ages 15 to 22, from across the country who show courage in sharing their stories and demonstrate a commitment to speaking out about issues facing LGBTQ youth.
Post submitted by Sula Malina, HRC Foundation Children, Youth & Families Program Coordinator
The 2018 HRC Youth Ambassadors are a group of 16 inspiring young people, ages 15 to 22, 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 HRC Foundation, using their voices to raise awareness about HRC’s youth-focused programs.
HRC recently sat down with Makayla Humphrey (she/her/hers), a Youth Ambassador from Lancaster, Texas, to learn more about her story. Humphrey, 17, is the president of the Jobs for America’s Graduates Program at her Texas high school. The program works to ensure that children with special needs feel full a part of their high school community. Humphrey also organizes her school’s Special Olympics events every year, and is also involved in both Sister 2 Sister and Kolorblok, non-profit organizations that help inner city youth.
Humphrey came out to her parents when she was just 10, the same age she began to play basketball. Despite being treated differently by coaches and teammates because of her sexual orientation, Humphrey’s passion for basketball deepened and she now uses her experiences as an openly lesbian athlete to encourage people to talk about their own LGBTQ identities, helping many of her friends come out to their families.
What inspired you to become an HRC Youth Ambassador?
What inspired me to become an HRC Youth Ambassador was the mistreatment I received from my coaches and teammates for confidently expressing my sexual orientation.
What’s been one highlight of your experience as an HRC Youth Ambassador?
One of the highlights as an ambassador has been meeting all the incredible people and hearing their stories -- knowing that I had people who were like me, who were supportive and who didn’t judge. I love the fact that they are different, and the love they share is amazing.
What part of HRC’s work do you connect with the most?
I connect most with the sports and social media side of HRC’s work. I think that social media is a great way to raise awareness because of the wide audience. Most people who are connected to social media are young people. This will help make a difference by letting young adults know what we are doing, and the difference we are making.
What’s your message to LGBTQ youth?
Be yourself! Absolutely no one can be you or be like you. Love yourself because you are important. Embrace yourself confidently and know that you were put in this world to shine -- so shine on!
Despite the growing visibility of LGBTQ athletes, coaches and officials, too many LGBTQ youth report that they have witnessed or been the targets of anti-LGBTQ treatment or exclusion in sports. Read HRC’s “Play to Win: Improving the Lives of LGBTQ Youth in Sports” here.
To learn more about the experiences of LGBTQ youth in the U.S., check out HRC’s 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report at hrc.im/YouthReport.