A large section of our modern and liberal-minded society believes that it has become more accepting of the LGBTQ community. Yet many within the community are still reeling under the fear of discrimination. They are often subject to slurs or jokes, or suffer rejection by a family member and lack a support system. For this community, the road to equality and acceptance is a long one, and it’s people like Josh Helfgott who are paving the way for equal rights and visibility.
Discrimination due to being ‘different’
For Josh Helfgott, feelings of being ‘different’ from other kids emerged throughout childhood. However, it was not clear to him what the feelings meant. He was scared or nervous during his childhood and started to feel isolated from his peers, mainly because he thought that he didn’t fit in. As a result, he was often treated brutally for being different. At this point, his two lesbian mothers played an essential role by advocating for safe spaces where young Josh could explore interests without judgment or stereotypes. Since they fought for their identities in the same society where Josh was growing up, they were his ideal mentors. They helped him cope with his feelings of fear, loneliness and anxiety. With their support, Josh completed his education in LGBTQ Studies at Cornell University and pursued advanced education to deep dive into LGBTQ culture and community from Buenos Aires in Argentina and Tel Aviv in Israel.
Josh’s online support group for LGBTQ youth
At thirty-years-old Josh has emerged as an advocate for LGBTQ rights. He provides courage and strength to his community to share who they are inside, especially to those who are unsure of how their families will respond. Many LGBTQ youth prefer to first come out to online communities or peers they perceive as safe and accepting before telling their family. With an active online presence on TikTok with 500,000 followers, Josh is now a leading influencer who is passionately educating people on the language of love and acceptance. Josh is always motivated to go the extra mile to help those who reach out to him. He asserts that the need to feel valued and respected is one of the basic needs of any human being. He strives hard to make his community, who he considers part of his large family, feel worthy and deserve to live a life in their terms.
Josh has created an online community and supports LGBTQ youth. People grappling with their own sexual identity, and various other challenges can find a conducive environment and forge strong relationships with friends. They are taught to manage their feelings and deal with any discrimination they may face.
Josh emphasizes that feeling loved and valued is critical to children’s overall health and development regardless of gender or sexual orientation. With this objective, he stands as an advocate for his community and educates children and youth. Josh always wished that he had received such support during his formative years, and so he ensures that others have access to it through him.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.