Instagram has launched a unique and colorful effort to highlight the lives of its young queer users.
On Friday, the popular photo and video-sharing mobile app debuted its #VisibleMe series at the top of its Explore page, as seen in the image below. Created in conjunction with digital activist Raymond Braun, the new channel is the first of its kind to be dedicated exclusively to the LGBTQ community.
Braun, who is a Huffington Post blogger and was honored as one of Out magazine's OUT 100 in 2015, told HuffPost that the series aims to provide a platform for LGBTQ youth to share their experiences with coming out, dating and spiritual beliefs, among other issues, as well as connect with one another.
When he began spearheading the #VisibleMe series late last year, Braun said he'd hoped to "make the invisible visible."
Hear Braun speak about creating #VisibleMe. Story continues below.
"Every day, I am impressed by the creativity, passion, diversity, intelligence and resilience I see from LGBTQ youth on social media," he told The Huffington Post in an email. "People are more likely to support the LGBTQ community when they know someone who identifies as LGBTQ, so I hope this project provides a platform and voice for young people to create change, helping them feel empowered, supported and visible."
Most importantly, he hopes #VisibleMe "shows LGBTQ youth that they are not alone and that they're part of a vibrant community around the world."
Don't miss some of the incredible #VisibleMe video submissions, via Instagram, below. You can also view an archive of #VisibleMe photos on Facebook here, and read more about Braun's thoughts behind the effort here.
i am so honoured to be apart of @raymondbraun 's #visibleme campaign to shed light on all LBGTQIA+ lives 💕 staying true to yourself and your own happiness over others peoples opinions is so important and I'm so proud of myself for discovering that at such a young age. ❤️ The most common struggle I face being trans/gay is people trying to invalidate my life. However I've pushed passed negativity and learned to love myself 100% without any stigma. I know who I am whether or not it suits other people. It's time we learned to live our own lives and not other people's. 😊 I want you all to be as involved as possible in being proud of being LGBTQIA+. Comment below your self love story being LGBTQIA , I would love to respond to your amazing lives! 💕if you aren't LGBTQIA+ and are an ally tag someone who is , and tell them why they inspire you 😄 It's time LGBTQIA+ lives become as important as everyone else's ~ T xxx
I'm proud to be a part of @raymondbraun's #VisibleMe project highlighting voices from LGBTQ youth for many reasons. Our stories are the most powerful weapon we have to combat homophobia, transphobia, and just garden-variety ignorance. Accurate, bold, and multiple representations of what it looks like to live and love as an LGBTQ person has the power to save lives. If one person can see themselves in another's story and think, "Wow, maybe everything will be alright," then hate has lost and visibly has won. Love yourself and allow others to love you. That's why I'm participating in the #VisibleMe project 🤘🏼
I decided to be apart apart of the #visibleme project because it essentially highlights the struggles we as the LGBTQ+ community have gone through or are going through every single day, but it also emphasizes on our narratives, our experiences, and our aspirations for the future. The #visibleme project is allowing voices of our community to be heard and finally acknowledged. This project is giving people the opportunity to hear narratives and stories directly from youths who identify as being an LGBTQ+ individual. This wonderful project is educating SO MANY people on our identities and allowing us to articulate our stories for ourselves! Thank you @raymondbraun for allowing me to be apart of this wonderful project of activism. #transisbeautiful
I'm incredibly honored to be part of @raymondbraun's #VisibleMe project highlighting voices from LGBTQ youth.💗 My dream has always been to inspire other LGBTQA+ people around the world. No one should ever feel like they have to hide who they are regardless of race, religion, gender expression, sexual orientation, appearance, or disability. Let your light shine so bright that you help others see. Be Visible. "Growing up gay in the south wasn't exactly easy but if I learned anything it's that you're going to be judged no matter who you are, so you might as well choose to be yourself unapologetically. Because at the end of the day you're the one who has to look in the mirror and love who you see. I am more than my sexual orientation." I am proud of who I am and you all should be too. There is an entire world out there waiting for you to join it. Love yourself💗
I feel so honored and humbled to be teaming up with @Instagram and @raymondbraun for the #VisibleMe project. Being part of the LGBTQ community empowers me as a human being to speak my voice and share my message. "Gay or straight, self-love is the most important part to be being happy. You don't need validation from anyone else but yourself. Once you find out who you really are, everything will be okay." I'm here to help the #Invisible become #Visible. Share your voice, love unconditionally, and just be happy :-) ❤️💛💚💙💜
I'm so so honored to be apart of @raymondbraun's #VisibleMe project. In mainstream media, the LGBT+ community is often ... one-note. A butch lesbian with a flannel, a slender and muscular white gay man. Bisexual people can be protrayed as greedy, trans women as men in dresses (trans men are virtually unrepresented). The other facets of our community are practically ignored, erased, or altogether denied. I love what #VisibleMe stands for and I felt compelled to contribute --to be Visible. I am so proud of who I've become and my brothers and sisters and siblings in the community who have come this far with me. We are all different, all unique, and one day we will all be visible.