Our Youth Voices took a storytelling workshop, “River of Life”, where they learned how to craft their story to affect positive change for LGBTQ+ youth like themselves. They recorded these beautiful stories which were used in workshops and conferences. Now, we want you to get to know some of the Youth Voices from the Class of 2022.

Ben B. (they/them), Age 16, Pennsylvania

I have something to tell you. I love the clouds. I love the clouds because as a child, I could look up at them and see shapes. Not dogs and turtles and snowmen like the other kids though. I could see visions of my life.

My story truly began when I was 12. I was by far the first kid in my area to come out, and I was terrified. From then on, I was known as the gay kid, not the kid who loved cats, or the kid who made music, or the kid who cared so deeply about the people and things around them. No, I was and forever would be the gay kid. I faced bullying from kids and adults, harmful policies targeting myself and my peers. I’ve been hospitalized, but I’m stronger because of it.

I know there are queer youth out there that have a story like mine. It might sound cliche, but it does get better.

I still love the clouds, but it feels like they’re closer to the ground than they were. Because the visions of my best life are closer and closer to reality with each passing day.

Check back for more stories from our Youth Voices throughout the month of August.