A lack of representation in the media has a substantial impact on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. This lack of representation disproportionately affects and misrepresents marginalized youth, particularly Queer and BIPOC people. I created Connect, a fun and nostalgic genderless teen magazine that seeks to provide a space for marginalized youths to be heard and represented. The magazine ensures LGBTQ+, People of Colour and disability identifying youths can share their stories, ideas, art and work. The digital magazine focuses specifically on sharing voices from those with lived experience, who can speak about relevant topics, providing a space for them to be validated. Additionally, the magazine ensures that young allies [of the above groups and beyond] find resources to learn and be educated on important topics that may not be highlighted enough in mainstream media. This spring issue was just a taste of the kind of representational content that should be included more in magazines and on social media to encourage a healthier and more positive mental health for youth.
In addition to the continuation of Connect, I continue supporting and expanding spaces that are inclusive that seek to represent marginalized groups particularly within the fashion industry. I encourage everyone, particularly non-marginalized people, to support art and work that is not as well represented in mainstream media as others but that deserves the same appreciation and applause. Everyone has a story that is deserving of sharing, and we, as creatives, should be encouraging and uplifting one another’s work and voices. Without the voices and art shared in the magazine, Connect would have not been realized, and it’s my hope that Connect continues to provide space for those who need it.