TORONTO, Oct. 11, 2020 /CNW/ - It's a fact: 75% of Gen Zers who come out, do so online before coming out to their friends and family1. Is it because it feels like a first "trial" step? Is it because it's not IRL? Is it because it feels anonymous? If Gen Z feels more comfortable online, then there's a need to create truly safe environments to hold space for what is likely one of the most important conversations of their lives.
INTRODUCING "THE SAFE SPACE SESSION"
In the days leading up to National Coming Out Day on Sunday, October 11th, influencers from the LGBTQ2+ community across Canada shared their coming out stories on social media and issued private invitations to join a virtual safe space session created exclusively for Gen Zers who are thinking about coming out.
The Safe Space Session was completely safe.
Just love and support.
Gen Zers from around the world joined "The Safe Space Session," moderated by Bill Ryan, a licensed social worker and internationally recognized expert in the field of sexuality, gender, sexual education and homophobia. The virtual Safe Space Session fostered open, honest dialogue about how to navigate the waters of this exceptionally important time in one's life, providing a supportive forum for participants to discuss their personal situations and plans for their own coming out.
After the counselling part of the session wrapped up, participants were surprised as celebrity guests from the LGBTQ2+ community popped into the chat, including multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter, performer and outspoken LGBTQ2+ philanthropist and activist Adam Lambert; former member of the girl group Fifth Harmony and one of pop's most loved singer-songwriters and outspoken LGBTQ2+ activist, 24-year-old Lauren Jauregui; Canadian YouTuber, actress, model and avid transgender activist Gigi Gorgeous, and Canada's own Jackie Cox, who was a fierce competitor on last season's RuPaul's Drag Race. The surprise guests shared their own coming out stories, answered participants' questions and provided some counsel based on their own experiences.
"Coming out is often one of the scariest and most important things someone will ever do. That's why so many young people come out online before they do in real life," said Bill Ryan. "COVID has created a lot of challenges for people in the LGBTQ2+ community, and it's especially hard for those who haven't yet come out. It's hard to feel connected, it's hard to feel able to explore who you are, it's hard to be your authentic self. Given that it looks like we'll be living in a virtual world for a while to come, it's more important than ever for us to connect virtually and ensure that everyone knows where to access the resources and support they need."
The celebrities shared their experience as well as some sage advice.
Said Adam Lambert, "I often wonder what my experience would have been back when I was a teenager, if I had had experiences like this." About coming out, Adam added, "Keeping a secret is harmful to you. If you're not out yet, you have to try to find someone in your life, someone somewhere who you come out to. It will be such a release – you can't imagine."
Said Lauren Jauregui about the event, "I'm just grateful. Grateful to be in these spaces," adding "Just know that it's your own journey, to go along at your own pace. To be express who you really are."
Said Gigi Gorgeous, "I know from personal experience coming out online, having somebody tell their story and thinking, 'That's me – it's the best feeling ever."
NYX Cosmetics Canada was behind the inception of and funding for "The Safe Space Session" initiative. Diversity, inclusion, accessibility and empowerment of self-expression through makeup for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or race, have long been fundamental brand pillars for the brand.
"To lead by example, earlier this year, all of NYX Cosmetics' retail stores in Canada became Certified Safe Spaces, with our employees across Canada participating in safe space training to ensure that everyone feels welcome to be who they are inside our stores," said Keon Zhang, General Manager for NYX Cosmetics Canada. "As National Coming Out Day was approaching, we asked ourselves how we could further extend our commitment to providing safe spaces to reach out to Gen Z, most of whom are more comfortable coming out online."
Added Zhang, "This year, National Coming Out Day is the day before Thanksgiving here in Canada. Across the country, friends and families will be gathering around the table – either virtually or physically. If someone is thinking about coming out on National Coming Out Day, on Thanksgiving, or any day of the year – it's important that we all do the work to create safe spaces for everyone."
"Most importantly, we wanted to ensure that people know about all of the resources that are out there, including the It Gets Better Project, whom we are proud partners and supporters of," Zhang said. "We believe it is our responsibility as a brand to lead by example and to do our part to truly stand strong as proud allies for all."
Learn more at www.thesafespacesessions.com
Please cite these resources in any PR coverage:
Visit ItGetsBetter.org to hear from more than 70,000 people from around the world who have shared their It Gets Better story. On the site, you will also find a robust list of resources offering support to LGBTQ2+ people around the world.
Call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or text 686868 to reach Canada's only 24/7 national support service offering professional counseling, information and referrals to help young people in Canada in both English and French.
Egale Canada is Canada's leading organization for LGBTQ2+ people and issues, whose mission is to improve the lives of LGBTQ2+ people in Canada and to enhance the global response to LGBTQ2+ issues by informing public policy, inspiring cultural change, and promoting human rights and inclusion through research, education, awareness and legal advocacy. Learn more at egale.ca.
About It Gets Better Canada
It Gets Better Canada is the official Canadian affiliate of the international It Gets Better Project global network. In 2010, American author and activist Dan Savage and his partner, Terry Miller, uttered three words that would give rise to a global movement focused on empowerment of LGBTQ2+ youth — it gets better. It Gets Better Canada is a registered charity in Canada that envisions a world where all LGBTQ2+ youth are free to live equally and know their worthiness and power as individuals. Its mission is to uplift, empower, and connect LGBTQ2+ youth across Canada. In 2019, It Gets Better Canada launched a successful change.org petition calling for the Canadian Federal government to end conversion therapy in Canada. https://itgetsbetter.org/
Data Source: Tinder study among 1,000 Tinder users within the LGBTQ2+ community (2019)
About NYX Cosmetics Canada
A leader in the global colour cosmetics industry, NYX Professional Makeup is an affordable professional makeup line with every shade, colour and tool needed to create makeup artistry at every level. Rooted in a professional artistry heritage, NYX Professional Makeup boasts a successful multi-channel approach at the forefront of digital and retail. A social media pioneer, NYX Professional Makeup is one of the most influential and top-rated brands, and is followed by top beauty vloggers, Instagram stars, and their millions of fans. While headquartered in the heart of Los Angeles, NYX Professional Makeup is a global brand available in more than 70 countries at thousands of retailers consisting of specialty beauty and fashion stores, freestanding shops and beauty supply stores, as well as on www.nyxcosmetics.ca.
Available for interviews:
- Bill Ryan, "Safe Space Sessions" moderator, licensed social worker and internationally recognized expert in the field of sexuality, gender, sexual education and homophobia
- Keon Zhang, General Manager of NYX Cosmetics Canada
- It may also be possible to interview a Canadian LGBTQ2+ influencer from this list, who participated in the event:
- Jackie Cox (she/her/hers) Best known for her performance on RuPaul's Drag Race https://www.instagram.com/jackiecoxnyc/?hl=en
- Cary Tauben (he/him/his) Fashion stylist and creator at https://www.instagram.com/carytauben/?hl=en
- Miss Julie Vu (she/her/hers) Very popular YouTuber, competed on behalf of Canada for Miss International Queen in 2019– the world's largest trans beauty competition https://www.instagram.com/missjulievu/?hl=fr-ca
- Daniel Reyes (he/him/his) – major Instagram influencer https://dothedaniel.com/
- Mei Pang (she/her/hers) – major Instagram influencer https://www.instagram.com/meicrosoft/?hl=en
SOURCE NYX Cosmetics Canada
For further information: Diane Ridgway-Cross, [email protected], (514)516-0509