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How Technology Can Create Safe Spaces for LGBTQ+ Youth

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StreamElements has teamed with the It Gets Better Project to create those safe spaces and support It Gets Better's important work.

What a difference a year makes! Last summer my family and friend pod celebrated Pride not in the streets of Los Angeles like we usually do but in the safety of the backyard. I purchased several new Pride flags and covered the yard with them to celebrate the month and my husband's birthday. Like so many members of our LGBTQ+ community, we were trying to be safe from the virus by staying home and yet still looking to celebrate our progress and our pride. During that time last year, our youth were also home finding ways to stay safe and to stay connected online.

Unfortunately, the pandemic highlighted the reality that we still have a long way to go when it comes to creating safe spaces for our community, even when we are in our own homes. As one of the leaders of StreamElements (a provider of content creation tools with a large user community), a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, and a father of a teenager, I know that now more than ever we need to work harder to create safer spaces online for our youth.

As part of our commitment to build safer, inclusive spaces for our LGBTQ+ community members, we are partnering with the remarkable It Gets Better Project to raise critical funds for its important work. Please take a look at our Pride initiative, detailed on our blog, and help us spread the word about the trailblazing work that the It Gets Better Project does every single day, not just during June.

On a similar note, while we announced our program during Pride Month, we will continue aspects of it throughout the year to ensure that we create spaces in person and online that support our youth for the long term. Every day another young person starts their journey in embracing their authentic self, and every day is an opportunity for us to do our part to celebrate their growth in a way that is not performative but transformative for an LGBTQ+ person.

One of my favorite things about Pride is that it is always transforming. Our community continues to build on the progress ignited by the heroes of Stonewall, carrying through to the impactful work of the leaders of the It Gets Better Project to consciously expand our safe spaces. Those safe spaces allow our youth to revel in their powerful voices and discover what it means for them to be their vibrant, authentic selves.

In that same vein of creating safe spaces, I continue to be inspired by the work of LGBTQ+ content creators and the inclusive communities they are creating. It's no easy feat, mind you; these creators are on the front lines of vanquishing trolls to ensure authenticity can flourish.

It's the reason I joined StreamElements, a company that powers the connection between creators and their audiences to strengthen community bonds. And it's the reason that we are partnering with the It Gets Better Project to uplift and empower youth. I know I wouldn't be who I am today without the support of my community. And whether it's celebrating Pride on the streets of Los Angeles, in our backyard with my family and friends, or with online communities, we must continue to transform the world into a better one than we found.

Together with It Gets Better, we are committed to fueling the evolution of what Pride means to our community and to bring the spirit of safety and celebration to a new venue and a new generation. Happy Pride from our family to yours!

Sean Horvath is chief revenue officer at StreamElements.

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