Every August 12, the world celebrates the International Youth Day (IYD), recognising the need for greater engagement and socio-economic participation of young people. The theme for IYD 2023 is “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a sustainable world”.

Sustainable development is progress that meets the current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In this beeline, IYD 2023 tends to anchor young people and leaders in understanding the importance of sustainable development with the engagement and participation of young people. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have for underlying principle for United Nations member states to leaving no one behind by prioritising the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society in an effort to eradicating poverty, reducing inequalities and ending discrimination.

Unfortunately, too often, the rhetoric “young people are the future” could not be more erroneous as it is dismissive of the current potential of young people, including when referring to sustainable development.

Immersing into the potential of technology, globalisation, mobility, education and access to information, young people are the bridges between the plethora of values, identities and cultures which constitute our global village. In so, young people have the responsibility to engage and participate actively in ensuring that no one is left behind, including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer (LGBTQ) youth.

The daunting inequalities and unequal access to human rights between northern and western countries versus southern and eastern countries need to be challenged through younger, more energetic, innovative and fresher voices.

Young people aspire a world where they are respected for who they are and what they can achieve, a world where people are rewarded for their merits and a world where equality, feminism, eco-friendliness and human rights are lived realities and not utopias.

As a queer youth, we have a duty to engage, with broad stakeholders, on different fronts and tackling diverse themes, by acting on our aspirations rather than being bystanders.

It is the unknown and misconceptions that are feared. As queer youth, let us pledge to occupy these spaces, so that we would appear less alien or hostile, and the world would be able to integrate with us.

Young Queer Alliance

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