Credit: Mike Kemp / In Pictures via Getty Images

“Despite the progress that has been made, three out of four (75%) Australian LGBTQIA+ youth still experience some form of bullying or discrimination,” Kathryn Carter,  General Manager, Snap Inc. ANZ revealed to ICON. On Sunday, May 17, the queer community will come together – digitally – to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Unlike Pride Month in June which commemorates the Stonewall riots, IDAHOBIT Day aims to raise awareness and furthermore instil rights for minority groups. In collaboration with Minus 18, Australia’s largest youth-driven charity for LGBTQIA+ young people, local, young creatives will have their work projected onto Snapchat in a week-long initiative to further drive conversation.

“We champion queer and questioning youth by hosting safe, inclusive and affirming events that foster social connections and provide a sense of belonging,” Programming and Relationships Coordinator of Minus 18, Miller Soding revealed to ICON this week. When I asked her how she has seen rights progress in the last decade she said, “We’ve seen great progress for the LGBTQIA+ community; birth certificate reforms in various states, marriage equality, and a general increase in visibility and understanding of the community. We are still facing political and social challenges like the Religious Discrimination Bill and there’s also a long way to go in the fight for intersex and trans rights.”

Aligning with the cause, young people were invited to create a Snapchat Lens that will be shared to the app for people to celebrate and share their own support for the community. “This collaboration is all about visibility and a celebration of our differences. We want the public to join us in celebrating IDAHOBIT and standing against LGBTQIA+ discrimination. It’s great to see Snapchat provide creative ways for people to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community during IDAHOBIT,” Soding says of the collaboration.

“As the leading communication platform for youth in Australia, ​we remain committed to offering a safe and engaging space that allows Snapchatters to be their authentic self while communicating with their friends​,” Carter assures. “​Snapchat was built with privacy at its core — starting with ephemerality — and designed to let people be themselves, without the pressure of being judged by others.”

She continues, “Snapchat was founded on the belief that talking with photos and videos, with our real friends, was more personal and more fun than texting. While we have continued to evolve our platform since then, we have never strayed from our core mission of helping close friends express themselves freely and be creative together – and making sure they can do it safely.”

ICON caught up with those creatives to learn of their own experiences within the LGBTQIA+ community as well as gain insight into their own lenses.

Miller Soding

What does pride and IDAHOBIT mean to you?
IDAHOBIT is about acknowledging the hardships our community experiences (and have experienced) and showing visible support and understanding of that. Showing pride is celebrating and expressing yourself, as well as acknowledging and respecting the history of the LGBTQIA+ community. There was a time where being who I am was illegal, and I am so grateful to those who fought to get us where we are now. Pride is a privilege and I wave my flag high for those who never could!

What inspired your Snapchat lens?
No one represents every letter in the acronym. We are all allies to each other and need to be actively supporting and standing up for each pocket of the LGBTQIA+ community. I created this Lens so that everyone (queer or not) can show their support for the community.

What change or evolution do you hope to see around acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community?
I’d like to see LGBTQIA+ people respected and celebrated for their identity in their schools, workplaces and homes. The more we educate people, the more we will see this. People make assumptions that our community is completely accepted in all spaces, but this is not the case. We must work to educate others and stand up for LGBTQIA+ people when witnessing discrimination.

Peter Spring

What does pride and IDAHOBIT mean to you?
IDAHOBIT and showing pride means we stand together and each individual is proud of who they are and supports each other.

What inspired your Snapchat lens?
I was inspired to create this Lens for LGBTQIA+ pride as I am very passionate about LGBTQIA+ rights and pride. I wanted to share my passion for everyone to experience.

What change or evolution do you hope to see around acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community?
My hope for the LGBTQIA+ community is that everyone is treated as equals.

Finn

What does pride and IDAHOBIT mean to you?
IDAHOBIT and showing pride means celebrating an immense sense of community and the space to be yourself without fear of judgement.

What inspired your Snapchat lens?
For my IDAHOBIT Lens I wanted to incorporate Minus18’s pre-existing logos, and also have a softer feel to the colour scheme.

What change or evolution do you hope to see around acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community?
I hope to see a change in the general public’s attitude towards the LGBTQIA+ community for the better, so that more people feel increasingly welcomed and wanted in all spaces.

Richelle Lim

What does pride and IDAHOBIT mean to you?
IDAHOBIT means celebrating our identities, showing support and encouraging acceptance to everyone who falls in the queer community!

What inspired your Snapchat lens?
I wanted to make something colourful but also simple, so I centred my lens around the simple Snapchat features but with a touch of rainbow goodness.

What change or evolution do you hope to see around acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community?
I hope that people become more aware of many issues and inequalities that the LGBTQIA+ community face, from a systemic level but also on an everyday level and work together to combat prejudice and celebrate everyone’s identities.

tyler

What does pride and IDAHOBIT mean to you?
To me showing Pride means being confident in who you are, celebrating and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community!

What inspired your Snapchat lens?
My Snapchat lens was inspired by celebrating and showing pride! To me showing pride means being confident in who you are, celebrating and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community!

What change or evolution do you hope to see around acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community?
I would like to see less ignorance in the world. Society as a standard becoming more educated and knowledgeable on LGBTQIA+ matters, and therefore being more accepting and understanding.

Peri Boobies

What does pride and IDAHOBIT mean to you?
IDAHOBIT to me is a day that represents a day of belonging. IDAHOBIT is particularly special to me as it marks two years since I went to my first ever pride event!

What inspired your Snapchat lens?
My Snapchat Lens is inspired by the amount of diverse identities in the community, so I tried to represent as many as I could in order to make everyone feel included in the celebrations.

What change or evolution do you hope to see around acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community?
I hope to be able to live in a world where I can openly hold my girlfriend’s hand without getting stares from strangers or the fear of being berated by anyone who feels I shouldn’t show affection out in the open.

bronte

What does pride and IDAHOBIT mean to you?
Pride means being able to show your true self with love and without fear, recognising the pain the community has gone through and the fight that needs to continue.

What inspired your Snapchat lens?
My lens was inspired by the amazing amount of glitter people use in their pride looks!

What change or evolution do you hope to see around acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community?
I hope that in celebrating pride, we encourage more education throughout all year levels in school. I also look forward to positive and properly researched representation of the LGBTQIA+ community in the media, as well as improvements of laws and legislation that affect LGBTQIA+ people.

lucy

What does pride and IDAHOBIT mean to you?
IDAHOBIT and pride for me is very special and all about expressing your true and authentic self to the world. I’m already a very colourful person but pride allows me to celebrate my rainbow from both inside and out alongside others like me. I find a huge sense of comfort, safety and family in pride and IDAHOBIT for me is all about strength and love in numbers, celebrating our beautiful identities.

What inspired your Snapchat lens?
As for my Lens, I love retro, colourful and funky things so finding the flashing vintage-like stickers got me really excited. I’ve always loved Snapchat Lenses with symbols on the cheeks so decided to incorporate that into my Lens and add subtle freckles underneath the hearts. My Snapchat Lens was inspired greatly by my love for colour and the Lens’ of the butterflies on the cheeks because I find those super cute.

What change or evolution do you hope to see around acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community?
I hope to see more exposure of the LGBTQIA+ community and to have diverse identities normalised. There’s such a big stigma surrounding the community, especially in rural areas, and it makes coming out hard. I hope eventually the community is recognised and normalised largely in society in order to make life easier for all members identifying as LGBTQIA+.

BENJAMIN T

What does pride and IDAHOBIT mean to you?
It’s important for our community to celebrate the progress we’ve achieved so far as a community and most of all to celebrate ourselves.

What inspired your Snapchat lens?
The younger generation seems to be instigating a lot of positive change and are very vocal in our community. For my Lens I wanted to highlight that we are strong and powerful as a generation that accepts everyone.

What change or evolution do you hope to see around acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community?
A worldwide ban of conversion therapy and overall just equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community. Legislative change needs to be made to educate society and encourage tolerance.

So how can you get involved?  “There are so many ways! Host [digital] events and fundraisers, share messages of love and support on social media and take the time to understand the many types of discrimination that members of the LGBTQIA+ community face,” says Soding. “IDAHOBIT is all about visible support and action – so get behind it! Tag @minus18youth in your celebrations so we can see what you get up to and how you’re supporting the community!”

thoughts?