By Clare Kenny Director of Youth Engagement GLAAD.org
Today, GLAAD revealed its inaugural Rising Stars 20 Under 20 list, spotlighting twenty young LGBTQ people, ages 20 and under, who are accelerating acceptance of LGBTQ people while shaping the future of media and activism. GLAAD’s inaugural 20 Under 20 list is presented exclusively by Teen Vogue.
GLAAD’s Rising Stars Program, which was launched in 2017, celebrates young people’s commitment to enhancing LGBTQ representation within their communities and culture at large. As an extension of GLAAD’s Rising Stars program, the 20 Under 20 list seeks to celebrate and spotlight the next generation of LGBTQ leaders in media advocacy, including journalists, actors, musicians, activists, and other young change agents.
The inaugural 20 Under 20 list demonstrates the diversity of communities, identities, and causes that Generation Z activists embody. From advocating for racial justice, to climate action, to Title IX protections, the 20 Under 20 Honorees are carrying on the legacies of the advocates that came before them before them and are using media, entertainment, and digital platforms to share their vision and incite action.
Youth activists have long been leaders in advocacy movements. From civil rights protests and boycotts, to the Flint water crisis, and gun reform advocacy in the wake of countless school shootings, young people are responding to the crises and calling for change. It should not go unnoticed that many of the leaders in these movements, historically and now, are members of the LGBTQ community. The 20 Under 20 Honorees are following in the footsteps of thousands of notable LGBTQ leaders like Sylvia Rivera, James Baldwin, Marsha P. Johnson, Larry Kramer, Laverne Cox, Angela Davis, George Takai, Alicia Garza, and so many more. Today’s young activists are representing their generation proudly by forging new and innovative paths towards justice.
Full profiles of the 20 Under 20 honorees can be found at TeenVogue.com. This year’s inaugural class of honorees are:
Aaron Philip (she/her) is a model and artist who continues to break barriers after becoming the first Black, transgender, and disabled model to sign to a major modeling agency.
Alex Escaja (he/they) is an award-winning filmmaker and advocate helping to bring awareness to LGBTQ issues in Vermont and across the country.
Emma González (she/her) is one of the most notable gun control activists in the world, and helped to organize the historic #MarchForOurLives protest, which was the largest student demonstration in American history.
Ezra Greyson Wheeler (they/them) is a trans and non-binary activist whose work centers on accessibility, disability rights, intersectional feminism, and increasing LGBTQ inclusion on college campuses.
Ian Alexander (he/him) is part of the next generation of trans actors helping to pave the way for greater visibility of trans men on-screen after his breakthrough role on Netflix’s The OA.
Jamie Margolin (she/her) is the founder and Co-Executive Director of Zero Hour, an international youth climate justice movement mobilizing young people to take action against climate change.
Jazz Jennings (she/her) is known as one of the youngest people to become a national transgender figure, and has helped to change the way people around the world see and understand transgender youth through her activism and TLC series I Am Jazz.
Joshua Rush (he/him) is an actor and political advocate who made history after playing the first openly gay character on the Disney Channel in Andi Mack.
Josie Totah (she/her) is a transgender actress who is one of Hollywood’s most-sought after talents, and will soon star in the highly anticipated reboot of Saved By The Bell.
Kidd Kenn (he/him) is an openly gay rapper who signed a major record deal with Island Records in 2019 and has quickly become one of the top artists to watch out for in hip-hop.
Lachlan Watson (they/them) is one of the youngest non-binary actors in Hollywood, best known for their role on Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Leo Rocha (he/him) is a Creative Manager at VICE and Newscast Producer at KOMU 8 News, where he uses his journalism and other work to amplify LGBTQ voices and issues facing marginalized communities.
Logan Rozos (he/him) is a rising trans actor who plays one of the very few trans men on television with his debut role in OWN’s David Makes Man.
Map Pesqueira (he/they) is known as the first out transgender person to be barred from entering the armed forces because of the Trump administration’s trans military ban, and has since used his platform to raise awareness about the state of LGBTQ equality in America.
Ose Arheghan (they/them) is a student at the The Ohio State University advocating for queer and trans inclusion on campus, while also serving as the Policy Organizer for Know Your IX, a nonprofit seeking to end sexual harassment and violence in schools.
Sage Dolan-Sandrino (she/her) is a citizen-artist, creative director, consultant, and founder of the digital zine and youth studio, TEAM MAG, who also serves on the advisory board for Gucci’s Chime for Change and the National Black Justice Coalition’s Trans Advisory Board.
Sameer Jha (any pronouns: they/them preferred) is a student and activist who founded The Empathy Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to making schools safer and more inclusive for LGBTQ+ youth.
Sarah Rose Huckman (she/her) is a student athlete who appeared in the award-winning documentary Changing the Game and has been instrumental in establishing nondiscrimination policies in New Hampshire for trans people and trans student athletes.
Shannon Li (she/they) is a UX design student at the University of Michigan and GLAAD Campus Ambassador dedicated to breaking down barriers for queer woman of color in STEM.
Zoey Luna (she/her) is a trans actress making waves in Hollywood, recently appearing in FX’s Pose and being cast to star in Blumhouse and Columbia Pictures’ highly-anticipated reimagining of The Craft.
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Clare Kenny is the Director of Youth Engagement at GLAAD. She leads GLAAD’s Campus Ambassador Program, Rising Stars Program, and Amp digital platform. Clare is a graduate of Skidmore College.