Today, there is so much commentary on world issues. Turn on the your phone, TV, or computer and you’ll find debates, developing stories churning out new details by the minute, interviews, and plenty of angry tweets and hashtags. Then there are the dark days and nights when tragedy strikes, and suddenly we are left with death on our doorsteps and 24/7 media coverage with faces of victims and strangers who have gained new labels such as ‘racist’, ‘murderer’, ‘rapist’, and ‘homophobic.’ But when does all of the talk finally amount to change? When can you say that an issue is on it’s way to being solved? When will the tragedies stop?
I can’t promise you that tragedy, discrimination, prejudice, or hate will ever stop–but I can introduce you to someone I know who is bent on helping with one of these issues.
Meet Cassie. She’s a pretty typical 15 year old teenager. She’s a smart student and a talented musician, a good friend, and a loving child. She likes to read and travel and eat ice cream (and desserts in general). But what makes her stand out among all of the rest is how fiercely she fights for the rights of people mistreated by society. She stands with people who experience prejudice and hatred for their sexuality, expression, and their identities.
Cassie is a 15 year old LGBT rights activist with an outreach of 76,000+ people.
As a young teenager, she can spread her positive and anti-bullying messages with one tap of a finger and they will appear on thousands of phones all over the world. Cassie’s outreach makes her powerful enough to bring change and positivity to people everywhere. Most likely, she has even saved lives.
In the light of tragedies such as the shooting in Orlando, in light of bullying and the massive spread of hatred parts of our culture is breeding, in light of the preached idea that we should fear what we don’t understand, there is Cassie and her message. I was able to talk to Cassie about her message, and below one can find her inspiring words and support she spreads to 76,000 people daily. I hope you, regardless of your gender or sexuality or beliefs upon those subjects, will take the time to listen.
Q: What made you decide to get involved with the movement for LGBT+ rights?
C: I myself am a member of the LGBT+ community and even before that, I always thought it was ridiculous that people of the same gender couldn’t get married to each other and that transgender people are so ridiculed by society. I have a lot of LGBT+ friends who introduced me to the community, and that was when I realized I was a part of it, too.
Q: What is your job as a LGBT+ activist?
C: My job is to make people more aware of the issues surrounding the LGBT+ community. I must remind people that we have taken some big steps lately, such as legalizing same sex marriage throughout the country, and the bathroom laws for transgender people, but we still have a long way to go for equality. There are currently ten countries where being gay is punishable by death. There are tons of countries where same sex marriage isn’t legal and you can be punished for being LGBT+. My goal is to bring us closer to equality and to continually spread LGBT+ positive messages for change around the world.
Q: Tell us about LGBT.etc_, the account you use to spread your content.
C: The LGBT.etc_ Instagram account was started on July 21st, 2015. In October/November, I joined and became friends with the admins. Once we became friends, I was invited as an admin on the account. I accepted and have been working on the account since November 2015. I joined when we had around 6,000 followers and now we have 76,000 + followers.
With the account, I am able to interact more with teens and reach out to the community. In the beginning, I would personally stick up for the LGBT+ community in my school and stand up to any bullying I saw. Now, I have an outreach with instagram that allows me to personally interact with members of the community everywhere.
Hey everyone! I’m Cass. I’m pansexual and genderqueer. I go by any pronouns you want to call me. I’m 15 and just starting my sophomore year of high school. I live in America. I joined this account in November back when we had 6K followers! I play the piano and the viola and love math, and I love music such as Panic! At The Disco, Paramore, Avenged Sevenfold, Queen, Neutral Milk Hotel, twenty øne piløts… Etc etc etc. I have ADHD and am just now starting a medication, and I’m an agnostic-atheist Jew (I also am technically Christian but my mom is Jewish which makes me full Jewish by Jewish law, and I just like the Jewish religion a lot. I’ve never been to a church or synagogue service besides funerals and bar/bat mitzvahs and I’m not baptised and don’t have a Hebrew name). I am learning to speak German, and also I’m a hufflepuff and team mystic (but probably should’ve joined instinct lmao). -Cass🎵 #lgbtetcadmins
Q: What are the goals of the LGBT.etc_ account?
C: When it was first started, the goal of the account was a place for the LGBT+ community to feel accepted. It would be a place where the admins of the account would feel accepted and free to be themselves. Now that the account has grown bigger, our main goal is to spread that acceptance to other people. There are lots of other LGBT+ teens all over the world, and we want to give advice and comfort people in unfortunate situations. I am personally in a fortunate situation: my parents accept my sexuality, I live in a good neighborhood, and have a supportive group of friends. However, there are a lot of kids out there that are in unfortunate situations, and the goal of LGBT.etc is to provide support and advice to those teens.
Q: What is your process for choosing posting material for the account?
C: If an admin finds a funny, positive, uplifting, or interesting LGBT+ related post or photo, then we will post it on the account. We try to keep our account mostly on LGBT+ photos, and we do not use LGBT.etc. as a personal spam account. Our followers want to see LGBT+ posts, so we actively find media we think would resonate with them to send out on our platform.
Q: What is the best part about reaching out to so many other people?
When I give someone advice and they say, Thank you, wow, that really helped. There has been lots of times when someone comes to our account and I try to give them a clear and concise answer to their questions, and they say that I gave them the best answer they’ve ever heard. One time a girl came to me and said that God didn’t love her because she was LGBT+. I helped her and told her that God loved everyone. It made me think, wow, even if I’m only making a difference for a couple of people, it just feels so great to help people by talking to them one on one. I’m making a difference, and it matters.
Q: What is your overall message to teens?
To teens in general, don’t push yourself too ahead in life. Enjoy where you are now. For LGBT+ teens, especially ones who have homophobic parents or transphobic parents, make sure that you put your safety first before you come out. Make sure that when you come out, you are safe and are able to support yourself with or without parental approval. Just remember that it is okay to be LGBT+, and it’s okay to be yourself. If someone thinks otherwise, then they are not the type of person that deserves to be in your life. And if you ever need any advice, come to our LGBT+ account.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years, I’ll see myself looking in the mirror. I’m kidding, sorry, I just had to make that joke. Hopefully, I will have graduated college by then and will possibly be in graduate school. I hope still be active in the LGBT+ community and maybe I’ll have a partner by then. I want to be successful and raise my own kids. Not all of this has to happen in 10 years exactly, though!
Q: Where do you hope to see the LGBT+ movement in 10 years?
I think a lot of it depends on politics. LGBT+ is a very political movement, based on laws that are and aren’t being passed. I hope to see more unisex restrooms popping up, and I hope the stigma around same sex marriage will finally cease to exist. Essentially, I want a society where same sex marriage isn’t ridiculed, where it isn’t an anomaly. I hope that at some point there will be no country where it is illegal to marry someone of the same gender and that in all countries, in all areas of the world, it will be completely legal to be LGBT+. I want it to be legal for someone to change their name and gender on their birth certificate without having to go through any surgery. Hopefully it will be a much friendlier world, and Antarctica won’t the only LGBT+ friendly continent.
My ultimate goal is to be able to sit down with my grandchildren, and then they’ll say to me, “Wow, you were alive during the time when same sex marriage wasn’t legal? You weren’t allowed to marry whomever you wanted?” Then I’ll tell them about my involvement in the fight for LGBT+ rights.
And that concludes the interview! A huge thank you goes out to Cassie for taking time to work with SincerelyMC. If you’re interested in keeping up with her, follow @LGBT.etc_ for daily updates and posts, and watch out for more interviews
and human interest posts coming from SincerelyMC soon!