Juno Dawson has offered her advice to young LGBTI people who feel down about how they are represented in the mainstream media.
Speaking at the Stonewall Youth Awards in London last Friday, the author, screenwriter and columnist told GSN: ‘It’s tough because the media constantly feels bigger than you do as an individual.
‘I think – if you’re working in the media or the press particularly! – you really feel powerless. It effects me, so it must also effect people in school. When you’re picking up tabloids, and reading these particularly transphobic and homophobic stories day in, day out, it must be incredibly disheartening.
‘But in those times, look to those people who are succeeding. Not just in the media. People in sport, business, all industries. Recognize that there are role models out there who are doing phenomenally well. Both regardless of and because of their gender and sexuality.’
The Clean author furthermore added: ‘Turn it into anger. Let that anger power you. Anger can be a very motivating emotion. When people have told me I’m not good enough, that I’m a freak or I’m weird, rather than get down about it I get cross about it, and it drives me to write a better book.’
‘Kim Petras just talks about her music’
Asked who her role models are as adult, Juno said: ‘The people I try to live by are trans people in the media who let their work speak for [itself]. When I’m asked to go on TV and speak to people about these defensive trans stories in the press, I do quite genuinely say to myself “what would Laverne Cox do?” If it’s not something Laverne would lower herself to speak about, then I’m not going to speak about it either.’
Juno furthermore continued: ‘People like Kim Petras. She just talks about her music. Hari Nef, she just talks about her acting or her modeling. Through seeing those women succeed in whatever field, inspires me to succeed in my field. And that’s what I try to be for other people.’
Ben Saunders, 17, won the Young Campaigner of the Year award at the ceremony for a short film exploring the trans school experience. The Stonewall Youth Awards mark the end of Stonewall’s Young Campaigners Programme, a free opportunity which spans six months and empowers young people to develop and run campaigns to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia within their local communities.