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Pictured from left: honorees Kaylyn Ahn, JoJo Siwa, and Amiri Nash
GLAAD has released its second annual 20 Under 20 list, honoring young LGBTQ+ people who are accelerating acceptance and shaping the culture.
The list, released Tuesday morning, is a diverse one, including pop star JoJo Siwa, social media influencer Ve'ondre Mitchell, artist and singer-songwriter mxmtoon, actress Yasmin Finney, professional streamer Ewok, and activists Stella Keating, Gia Parr, Trevor Wilkinson, Andrea Alejandra Gonzales, and Ashton Mota.
"More than ever before, young LGBTQ people are changing the way the world sees and understands LGBTQ people, while leading the charge to create a safer, more inclusive and equal society for all," GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a press release. "Whether it's driving LGBTQ visibility and representation in national politics, local activism, music, or Hollywood, the honorees on this year's 20 Under 20 list are a testament to the power that young LGBTQ people have to create lasting cultural change."
The honorees are:
Amiri Nash, 19, an artist, activist, writer, and a DC Youth Poet Laureate who cofounded Sign of Justice, a project that creates signs in predominantly white neighborhoods to raise awareness about racial injustice and other social issues.
Andrea Alejandra Gonzales, 20, a Mestiza queer activist and organizer, currently the director of operations for Youth Over Guns and an instructor through New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Education Fund's school program, ReACTION.
Andrew Adams, 20, a student and activist from Florida who successfully sued his school board for keeping him from using the men's restroom because he is transgender, in the nation's first trial involving a transgender student's equal access to restrooms.
Ashton Mota, 16, a GenderCool Project Champion who was a public face for the Yes on 3 movement in Massachusetts, a campaign that upheld a law allowing people to use restrooms and other public facilities that align with their gender identity.
Austin Houck, 20, founder of Homoglobin, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing queer equality in health care and education, which was instrumental in helping to pass a bill last year promoting culturally relevant and inclusive educational practices in Virginia.
Cyn Gomez, 18, an activist for LGBTQ+ equality and mental health services who is a member of the Mental Health America's Youth Leadership Council, an ambassador for the Tangible Movement, and a commissioner on homelessness for the city of Berkeley, Calif.
Darid Prom, 20, a queer immigrant who has worked with GLSEN, GLAAD, and multiple nonprofits to promote the liberation of LGBTQ+ people of color and has testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on the impact of anti-LGBTQ+ bills on LGBTQ+ youth.
Eli Bundy, 17, a trans and nonbinary student and activist who led their school's Gender and Sexuality Alliance in a court case that struck down South Carolina's "No Promo Homo" policy, the first time such a state law has been abolished by a federal court on constitutional grounds.
Gia Parr, 17, a GenderCool Project Champion who uses her platform to educate the public about trans youth. In addition to guest-starring in season 2 of Pose, she recently released a book titled A Kids Book About Being Transgender, which helps start conversations between children, parents, and families about what it's like to be a young trans person.
JoJo Siwa, 18, a global pop star and one of the most influential teenagers in the world, with over 45 million social media followers across platforms. This year she came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and she continues to use her platform to promote LGBTQ+ acceptance and equality.
Kaylyn Suji Ahn, 17, a queer student and activist who organizes monthly projects in their community centered on social justice, advocacy, and community service. Kaylyn spearheaded a March for Asian Lives demonstration in Arlington Heights, Ill., to call for an end to anti-Asian hate following the horrific Atlanta shooting in March.
Max Prestigiacomo, 19, a student, community organizer, and politician who was elected to the Madison, Wis., Common Council in April 2020, becoming the youngest elected official in the country and the youngest ever to sit on the council. He also became one of the first out LGBTQ+ candidates ever elected in Madison.
Molly Pinta, 15, a bisexual student and activist who founded a nonprofit called the Pinta Pride Project to increase LGBTQ+ awareness within suburban communities in Illinois. She also launched her town's first-ever Pride celebration in 2019 and served as the youth grand marshal of the 2019 Chicago Pride Parade.
mxmtoon, 20, a bisexual artist, songwriter, actor, designer, and gamer with over 2.9 million social media followers. She is well known for playing the ukulele and for her bedroom pop anthems, including her hit single "prom dress." Her music has been streamed over 500 million times across platforms.
Onyx (E. Smith), 19, a Black queer nonbinary activist who founded the Central Texas GSA Coalition to enhance the impact of GSAs in the Austin area. They also created a project called Q+ EDU, an interactive virtual experience designed to connect, inform, and empower LGBTQ+ and allied students, parents, and educators.
Soleil Wheeler a.k.a Ewok, 15, a professional Fortnite player who is part of the FaZe Clan and recently signed an exclusive streaming deal with Twitch, where he has over 346,000 followers. On National Coming Out Day in 2020, Ewok publicly disclosed that he is transgender and bisexual, becoming the first out transgender man in the T1 esports organization.
Stella Keating, 16, a GenderCool Project Champion and aspiring politician who made history by becoming the first transgender teen to testify in front of the U.S. Senate when she spoke during a hearing on the Equality Act in March.
Trevor Wilkinson, 18, a gay student from Texas who, after being suspended from his high school for wearing nail polish, persuaded his school administration to adopt a gender-neutral dress code policy following the launch of a petition signed by over 400,000 supporters.
Ve'ondre Mitchell, 17, a Black and Latinx transgender social media star who uses her platform to amplify conversations about trans inclusion and representation to her more than 3.6 million followers across TikTok and Instagram. This year she was nominated for the first-ever TikTok Queer Advocate of the Year award at the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards.
Yasmin Finney, 17, Yasmin is a rising Black British trans actress who rose to prominence on TikTok with videos sharing her experience as a Black trans woman. She is set to star in the lead role in Orion Pictures' coming-of-age film What If?, directed by Billy Porter, as well as in Netflix's upcoming series Heartstopper.
GLAAD's 20 Under 20 list is presented by Google, with official sponsors Ugg and Shutterfly. The list launched this morning in Teen Vogue, featuring individual portraits of each honoree captured on the Google Pixel 5 by Mayan Toledano of Pixel's Creator Labs.
"As a GLAAD board member, I'm so inspired by these 20 individuals who are creating a safer and more inclusive world for LGBTQ+ people," Adrienne Hayes, vice president of marketing at Google and co-global executive sponsor of PRIDE at Google, said in the press release. "Across Google, we're constantly striving to make our products and platforms more inclusive for everyone and I am so proud that Google Pixel could play a role in celebrating these honorees."
The honorees were selected by an internal committee at GLAAD, specializing in LGBTQ+ entertainment, media, and activism. Honorees were chosen based on the following criteria: (1) The honoree works to positively affect marginalized communities, particularly LGBTQ+ people; (2) The honoree has been featured in or a part of broad regional or national news media stories, public media campaigns, or other public media initiatives; (3) The honoree enhances representation for LGBTQ+ people through media advocacy; (4) The honoree utilizes an intersectional approach to LGBTQ+ advocacy.
GLAAD launched its inaugural 20 Under 20 list in June 2020, featuring model Aaron Philip, rapper Kidd Kenn, actors Ian Alexander, Joshua Rush, Josie Totah, and Logan Rozos, activists X Gonzalez, Jazz Jennings, Jamie Margolin, and Sarah Rose Huckman, among others. Check out last year's list here.
GLAAD's 20 Under 20 honorees gain access to a network of resources made available by the largest LGBTQ+ media advocacy organization in the world, including the opportunity to participate in an exclusive livestream media training hosted by the GLAAD Media Institute. Throughout the year, GLAAD will also help give greater visibility to the 20 Under 20 honorees in the media, including opportunities such as helping to secure media placements, elevating projects on social media, and connecting honorees with industry resources for achieving their goals. Find out more about the 20 Under 20 program here.