June 1st is when Pride Month begins, and this year ILGA marks this important event by joining an initiative allowing you to share your own stories. Today, we are happy to announce a partnership with Wattpad, the global multiplatform entertainment company for original stories, to celebrate, empower, and give back to LGBTIQ+ youth around the world.
Throughout Pride Month, Wattpad will host the Pen Your Pride Write-a-thon, a global writing event open to Wattpad users, who will be encouraged to share their experiences as LGBTIQ+ youth and allies. Every story submitted with the hashtag #WattPride will help Wattpad to raise funds for ILGA, and support our work to represent LGBTI human rights defenders in international fora, empower our member organisations, and research laws and attitudes impacting our communities.
“LGBTIQ+ persons have probably never enjoyed as much visibility as in recent times, and yet many in our global communities still struggle to have their voices heard: this is why it is incredibly important that we get to tell our own stories to the world,” said André du Plessis, Executive Director of ILGA. “Being allowed to share our own perspectives and lived realities gives us room to express ourselves, while countering all the stereotypes and the negativity directed towards us. Every opportunity to dismantle prejudice and the root causes that still make LGBTIQ+ people a target of human rights violations is a precious one, and we are grateful for each space that opens up for our communities to be heard.”
Wattpad was called one of the safest spaces online for LGBTIQ+ youth to feel empowered and share their voices. In the past 30 days, Wattpad users have spent more than 700 million minutes reading LGBTIQ+ stories, and have shared more than three million new LGBTIQ+ story uploads. In 2017, #FreetheLGBT was a popular movement on Wattpad, as users around the world looked to increase the number of prominent LGBTIQ+ characters in fiction.