Meet the 2023 Class of HRC Youth Ambassadors

by HRC staff

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Youth Well-Being Program is pleased to announce the 2023 class of HRC Youth Ambassadors: Billy, Ray, Mya, Kei, Katie, Rehman, Kiki, Eris, Hildie, and Adrian.

As Youth Ambassadors, these LGBTQ+ advocates will represent the HRC Foundation, adding their voices and experiences to raise awareness about the most pressing concerns facing LGBTQ+ youth and our programs that promote well-being for LGBTQ+ youth, including All Children - All Families, Welcoming Schools and the Youth Well-Being Program, as well as our tenth annual Time to THRIVE Conference.

Six members of the cohort will begin their first year as Youth Ambassadors: Billy, Ray, Rehman, Kiki, Eris, and Hildie, while Mya, Katie, Adrian, Kei and were named Youth Ambassadors in 2022.

We would like to thank Ve'ondre, Jalen, Alise, Ash, and Lucy/Luke for their service as Youth Ambassadors in the previous cohort.

Meet the Ambassadors

Billy (he/they)

Washington State, Pacific Northwest

Billy is a 16 year old advocate from Washington state. Their passion for advocacy centers around their dream of a world where inclusive sex education is accessible to everyone. When he’s not educating others about reproductive justice he can be found exploring his hobbies; including alternative fashion and roller derby.

Ray (he/they)

Kentucky

Ray is a 17-year old transgender activist from Kentucky. He became involved in activism when the recent wave of anti-trans legislation passed through his state. He realized that he couldn’t just sit back while his rights to school, therapy and medical care were being attacked, so he drove himself to Kentucky’s Capitol building every day after school during the legislative session and spoke with legislators and other activists in an effort to prevent the bill’s passing. He took a lead role in organizing a Queer Youth Visibility rally in late March, as well as being interviewed by local and national news sources to share his story and experiences. He recently published a piece of his own, on the impact of community on queer youth, in the magazine Scalawag, and plans to continue writing and sharing his story.

Mya (they/them)

Arizona

Mya is a 17-year-old biracial non-binary artist from Arizona. Currently in high school, Mya is pursuing art in various forms and is focused on character design. Raised in a close-knit home by their mother and father, their parents are loving and accepting of Mya’s whole personhood. Both encourage Mya to explore the world on their terms, ensuring that their home will always be a safe space. With their support, Mya joined the Arizona organization One-N-Ten in the hopes of finding others with whom they share common interests. In late 2020, Mya was selected to join the One-N-Ten Youth Advisory Council, where they now work to make transformative change within the organization and the LGBTQIA+ community. Their hard work was profiled at the One-N-Ten “Fresh Brunch” fundraising event in the spring of 2021. They continue to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ BIPOC discrimination as they strongly believe in amplifying the voices of those often silenced while using art and storytelling to spread love, awareness and representation.

Kei (she/they)

Illinois

Kei is a bisexual woman from the suburbs of Chicago, and is a proud community college student. After receiving affirming mental health treatment in high school, Kei felt validated enough to come out. Since then, she has vowed to advocate for communities of color to get the same affirming care she received. On her journey to do so, Kei became the co-founder and president of the first LGBTQ+ Youth Advisory Council at the Kenneth Young Center. Through her work at the Kenneth Young Center, Kei has spoken to local and state lawmakers about requiring LGBTQ+ trainings for counselors and the importance of being accepted by those that are meant to help you. She hopes to continue to destigmatize conversations about mental health and queerness, especially in the Asian community, and be the representation she has always wanted.

Katie

Florida

Katie is a 21-year-old LGBTQ+ advocate. Katie was born in Russia but was adopted at 11 months old. Katie is a former high school GSA president, straight-A student and past member of the school’s LGBTQ youth advisory council. During senior year, Katie attended a youth group and applied to be a little in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. From there Katie’s big sibling HRC Director of Strategic Outreach and Engagement Nik Harris ignited and fostered a passion for advocacy work. At that point Harris and Katie started to do advocacy work together. Katie is now on the HRC South Florida Steering Committee, with the goal of making schools a safer place for fellow LGBTQ+ youth.

Rehman (they/them)

Texas and California

Rehman is a passionate human rights advocate who has been recognized as a WHO Adolescent Champion (PMNCH), the Representative of US Youth Voices at the WHO and PAHO, a UN NGO Representative & Young Ambassador, and a UN Refugee Agency Young Champion for their work with iCure, an organization they founded at the age of 11. iCure aims, across its 30+ international chapters that have helped 60,000 people, to improve public health access, education, and policy. Rehman additionally has extensive experience consulting for organizations such as UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, UN Human Rights, UN Women, and the governments of the G20, UK, New Zealand, and European Union with over 22 first-authored papers, many of which have been presented before and cited at esteemed platforms such as the Human Rights Council, UN Committee for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, Commission on the Status of Women, European Union Parliament, White House, and the Economic and Social Council Partnership Forum. In the future, they hope to develop culturally competent policies to improve the well-being of underserved communities.

Kiki (she/her)

New Jersey

Kiki is a fierce advocate for BIPOC LGBTQ+ youth in the U.S. and is passionate about bringing to light the issues of BIPOC and immigrant LGBTQ+ youth in the U.S. today. She immigrated from Mexico when she was young and finds her heritage a crucial part of her identity. She is also passionate about the problems the LGBTQ+ community faces in STEM and academics and hopes to be a trailblazer in those fields. This is her first year at the Human Rights Campaign and was previously a Youth Voice for It Gets Better. Apart from advocacy, Kiki loves public speaking and debate, regularly participating in Model UN at her school.

Eris (they/them)

Michigan

Eris is an 18-year-old Black, nonbinary, neurodivergent, and queer activist. Their biggest passion is fighting for liberation and accessibility in all areas. This led them to be president of their high school Gender-Sexuality Alliance and heavily involve themselves in other national organizations such as GLSEN and It Gets Better. Most of their advocacy surrounds BIPOC liberation, LGBTQ+ rights, Reproductive/Sexual Health, and the intersectionality of all three. Throughout their years as an advocate, they have published an op-ed in Teen Vogue, spoken on many panels to share their unique experience, and created a sexual health resource for their local community. When not immersed in activism, Eris can be found crocheting or listening to their favorite Spotify playlist. Currently, Eris is studying sociology at Wayne State University in the fall to create their own non-profit in the near future.

Hildie (she/her)

Minnesota

Hildie (she/her) is a 13 year old actor, singer and performer who is passionate about advocating for the safe and affirming environments trans kids deserve. She lives with her family in Minnesota where she has been active in passing the recent Trans Refuge Legislation protecting trans kid’s access to gender affirming healthcare. In 2022, at 11 years old, Hildie was named the youngest grand marshal in Twin Cities Pride history. She has appeared in an international ad campaign for Expedia, testified in front of the MN Senate, been a featured speaker at fundraisers and LGBTQ+ community events, and will appear next month in the world premier of the unapologetically queer "Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress" at Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis.

Adrian (he/him)

California, originally Ohio

Adrian is a 19-year-old fiery activist who made history at his Catholic high school as the first transgender man to ever openly transition. After being censored from his high school’s newspaper his freshman year and told LGBTQ+ content was unacceptable, Adrian worked all four years of high school to grow his school’s GSA threefold, re-introduce LGBTQ+ library books that were previously banned and organize workshops and trainings to give the staff the tools they need to fight against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. He now also leads the student-run newspaper and the “Tellus Zine” editorial board in Cincinnati, retaliating against the oppression he faced in creative expression in literary spaces and forging a safe space for his entire community. Adrian's numerous obstacles and mental health struggles have inspired him to fight boldly for equality in LGBTQ+ health care and he aspires to become an openly transgender medical professional.