The Biden Foundation understands the power of storytelling to promote change. That’s the essence of their new program, an LGBTQ awareness campaign called #AsYouAre. The campaign is an advocacy effort to collect personal stories from youth about their experience being LGBT at home, in school, or in their community at large.

The goal, former Vice President Joe Biden said in the campaign video, is to “use our resources to highlight the harms of family rejection and to lift up research, best practices, and personal stories to show the importance of family acceptance.”

The foundation hopes to educate the public about the importance of accepting and supporting the LGBTQ community, especially those under 25. In an interview with Them, Biden explained the hardships specific to LGBT youth: “They [LGBT youth] are disproportionately more likely than their non-LGBT peers to experience homelessness, interact with the juvenile justice system, suffer from depression, and have thoughts of suicide.”

Biden explained in the interview that “family rejection is a substantial factor in these negative outcomes, and that healthy outcomes are much more likely when you people experience support at home, in school, and in their communities.”

The goal of the #AsYouAre campaign is to garner that kind of support for the struggling LGBTQ youth who face rejection from the people closest to them.

This is not the first movement the Biden Foundation has made to ensure LGBTQ equality. In May of this year, the foundation and the YMCA teamed up to foster LGBT equality in Ys and communities nationally.

Biden also officiated two same-sex weddings in 2016 and 2017 and urged the LGBTQ community to hold President Trump accountable on his tweeted pledge to “fight for” the LGBTQ community during his campaign, according to an article by the Huffington Post.

The Foundation says it believes that it’s the culture surrounding the LGBTQ community that needs to be changed. “We know from experience that laws and policies are not enough,” Biden told Them. “We have to change hearts and minds. And the most effective way to do that is through personal stories,” he said, relating it to the #MeToo movement, noting how the culture of sexual assault changed after “brave women and men were willing to share their stories.”

“This campaign is about changing the culture so that no young person is rejected by their family, their school, or their community simply because of who they are or whom they love,” he said. “This is about saving lives.”

If you want to share your #AsYouAre story, you can find the entry form here.

 

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