Helping LGBTI youth come out of the digital closet

This article first appeared in The Age

“How do I come out?”

This is the question most often put to Rory Blundell, 20, when he gives talks to high school students about gender, sexuality and his own experience of coming out as a trans man.

Many young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students find the concept terrifying, says Blundell, but their questions are difficult to answer because everyone’s personal situation is different.

Rory Blundell, 20,says coming out can be one of the most difficult things to do for young LGBTI people.Rory Blundell, 20,says coming out can be one of the most difficult things to do for young LGBTI people. Photo: Wayne Taylor

A new app and website lets young LGBTI people anonymously ask their friends through Facebook (or email or text) if they would support them coming out, offering a way to gauge how friends might react.

The “You’re accepted” website, which can be used on any device, allows users to send a personally-composed, anonymous message to friends and family on social media, and read the positive messages they send back, including names of those who have written them.

It is a collaboration between national LGBTI youth organisation Minus 18, and advertising agency GPY&R Melbourne, which came up with the concept and developed the website pro bono.

It gives LGBTI people confidence by removing some of the guesswork in the process of coming out, says Minus 18 chief executive officer Micah Scott.

“Having just one supportive friend through the process can make all the difference,” Scott says. “And coming out can be a bit of a snowball effect – the more people you know the easier it gets.”

When Blundell, now a Melbourne University arts student and volunteer with Minus 18, was at high school, the teen told a close friend about having a crush on a girl in their friendship group.

Just minutes later his entire friendship group had found out, and at least one of his friends told the rest not to speak to him.

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Minus 18 and GPY&R Melbourne support International Day Against Homophobia With ‘You’re Accepted’

This article first appears in B&T

Sadly, today’s LGBTI youth still face discrimination. Young gay people often fear coming out due to online homophobia. ‘You’re Accepted’ is the first Facebook message that gives LGBTI youth the chance to anonymously find out how many of their friends would support them coming out.

A person begins by anonymously asking their Facebook friends if they would support them coming out. Friends can reply directly back with positive messages of support. GPY&R Melbourne developed the ‘You’re Accepted’ concept and both built and designed the microsite on behalf of Minus18.

Micah Scott, CEO of Minus18 added, “You’re Accepted is here to tackle hateful online discrimination against LGBTI youth by showing people there’s a lot more support out there than they might think. Through positive social support, provided by friends and family, we can do this together. After all, no one should live in fear of simply being who they are – everyone should be accepted.”

Client: Minus 18
CEO: Micah Scott

Agency: GPY&R Melbourne
Executive Creative Director: Ben Coulson

Creative Director: Jake Barrow
Copywriter: Michael Barticel
Art Director: Joey Newton
Business Director: Jonny Clow

Account Manager: David Gallo
Executive Digital Producer: Ben Crowe

Digital Producer: Kyle Stein

Snr Front End Developer: Alex Case
Snr Back End Developer: Mark Natividad
Interactive Designer: Rosalie Iaria

Gold, Silver and Bronze Pencils for Y&R at One Show in New York

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