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Minority leader

Minority leader


Barely out of high school, blogger Steven Emmanuel is changing lives with

While his friends spend their time fine-tuning their MySpace profiles or watching videos on YouTube, 18-year-old Steven Emmanuel is doing something a lot more substantial with his online hours. With his blog, the Latino teenager is giving underserved minority queer youths a much-needed sounding board and news source. And he's doing it by snagging topical news stories and exclusive interviews with innovators like Noah's Arc creator Patrik-Ian Polk and African-American gay activists Keith Boykin and Jasmyne Cannick.

"There was really nothing out there for me," explains the New York City-based Emmanuel. "I was bored with [other online outlets], and I got the idea to start my own site--with the purpose of giving queer youth a conversation forum." And thus was born in August.

Taking the site from its conception to HTML fruition was a labor of love, recalls Emmanuel: "It was a rather long and rigorous process. Months, it took. No LOL or JK here. I got some great story ideas, wrote on those, and even e-mailed a few people to use their articles.... It was stressful, but I loved every minute of it."

With a growing archive of stories and new interviews, it wasn't long before the blog's traffic grew and reader commentary rolled in. An anonymous contribution called "My children are gay and I love them" tells of a mother who struggled to accept her children as they both came out to her within a single month. Other reader posts, like "I am the prostitute working the streets because no [employer] will hire a transsexual woman" and "I am the boy who never finished high school because I got called a fag every day," illustrate why discussion forums like the one on are needed.

"QueerKidofColor represents a kid with pride," says Denzel Thornton, a 15-year-old QueerKidofColor reader. "[The blog] helps other [gay minorities] relate and not be so afraid to come out and be open--to not hide on the down-low."

Emmanuel, a recent high school graduate who lives with his mother and two younger sisters, wants readers like Thornton to be informed, not just entertained.

"If someone leaves my site knowing that 40% of homeless teenagers are gay, then that's an accomplishment," says Emmanuel. "This is about striking up information and growing the seeds of accomplishment that were planted by the mountain of LGBTQ leaders before me."

Emmanuel's future aspirations are far-reaching, yet he's already an accomplished artist in the queer cinema scene, an ardent youth advocate, and now a writer at Clik magazine.

"In 10 years I see myself as a sought-after producer for LGBT programming and a person [of] unprecedented success," he says.

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