The Future Perfect Project, a national arts initiative, has announced the multi-media project How Life Is: Queer Youth Animated, a special 10-episode short film series to celebrate Pride Month 2021. The films cover the challenges that LGBTQIA+ youth, ages 13-22, navigate such as coming out, blended families, relationships, peer acceptance, homophobia, parity and more.
The first two episodes of How Life Is: Queer Youth Animated Season 1 will kick off on Tuesday, June 1 on The Future Perfect’s YouTube and IGTV. New episodes will be released in pairs on Tuesdays throughout the month on June 8, 15, 22 and 29.
The announcement was made by Celeste Lecesne, The Future Perfect Project co-founder, Academy Award-winning writer, and co-founder of The Trevor Project. “The current generation of queer young people has a lot to teach us about what it means to be fully human — if only we will listen,” Lecesne said. “Just as my generation fought so hard for the right to be ourselves as out gays and lesbians, this generation is fighting to be recognized and respected as the people they know themselves to be.”
How Life Is: Queer Youth Animated showcases how Generation Z is changing what it means to be LGBTQIA+. They are the first generation to live a life with the answers at their fingertips, and these two-minute films reveal that they are incredibly well informed about the world and important issues such as social justice, politics and climate crisis.
“We hand them the mic and bring their stories to life with the help of an LGBTQIA+ creative team. The result is a two-minute look into their unique lives that everyone can learn from,” said Ryan Amador, The Future Perfect Project co-founder, ASCAP Award-winning songwriter, and recording artist. “How Life Is: Queer Youth Animated spreads the word about queer youth and creates a world where they are safe, seen, and celebrated in their homes and communities.”
Matching the identity of each young person with their animator was a top priority. The Future Perfect initiated an extensive search process to find animators who aligned closely with the subjects of the interview in terms of their race, gender and sexual identity. The animators worked to find the perfect expression of each young person’s experience. After the animation was complete, it was sent off to a composer who created an original score. The result is a hyper-collaborative expression of each young person’s unique voice and an overview of this generation of queer youth. Every animator on How Life Is: Queer Youth Animated identifies as LGBTQIA+.
The Future Perfect Project produces an array of multimedia projects created to amplify the voices of LGBTQIA+ youth. In addition to their media projects, FPP offers free, grant-funded online writing, arts and performance workshops to LGBTQIA+ youth and allies providing them with opportunities to express themselves.
In a recent study, The Trevor Project revealed that more than one in five LGBTQIA+ youth in the United States identify as a sexual orientation other than gay, lesbian or bisexual. It is a whole new world in which LGBTQIA+ youth are using terms like “queer, tri-sexual, omnisexual or pansexual” to describe their identity.
The Future Perfect Project is providing this new next generation of LGBTQIA+ and questioning young people with the tools to tell us what they know, what they feel, what they see, and what they see for a future in which every person gets to be perfectly and fully themselves.
How Life Is: Queer Youth Animated films:
- Cal – Animated by Sam Asher. Cal comes out to his family as a transgender man by throwing his own party and name-choosing ceremony. “I made my cake, and it was blue on the inside. And I wrote, ‘It’s a boy’ on it.”
- Brianna – Animated by Tessa Dabney. Brianna is on a mission to make sure every Black bisexual woman feels like they are good enough. “If I can do my part just by speaking up and being strong about who I am, that in itself gives other queer black women the chance to do that.”
- Vivi – Animated by Isabelle Sigrid. When Vivi donated six inches of her hair, everyone assumed she was gay, but she wasn’t out yet. She finds support at her school to help her live her best, out, queer life. “I wish other kids would understand that if somebody is LGBT, there’s nothing wrong with them … people often confuse something being different with something being wrong.”
- Zion – Animated by Bennie Candie. Gender and sexual identity have never been heavy topics for Zion, who grew up with a white, lesbian mom and a Black activist father. “I’m radical with a sweet side who gives good hugs.”
- Sarah – Animated by Mady G. When Sarah develops a crush on Kiera Knightly, her friends want her to “figure out” if she is gay or straight. “I don’t think I actually knew what bisexual was until like 6th grade, and I remember thinking, ‘Is that what I am?'”
- Ken – Animated by Lily Ash Sakula. For Ken, who is non-binary, holding hands with their girlfriend in public is the most intimate and vulnerable demonstration of love. “For me, at least, I want to wear my heart on my arm and not my sleeve because it’s something that I don’t want to remove.”
- Cheyenne – Animated by Lindsay Villagomes. Cheyenne expresses gender fluidity through cosplaying and creates her own LGBTQIA+ representation through “ships.” “In your head, you’d can be like, ‘Oh, this character is queer’ and no one can tell you otherwise. It’s a good way to make your own representation and to normalize it for you.”
- Logan – Animated by Iain Gardner. After struggling with her identity around gender and sexuality, Logan finally creates her own definition of what it means to be a bisexual woman. “The cool people are the ones who do whatever the hell they want and don’t let other people define who they are.”
- Will – Animated by Jules Webb. The homophobic culture at Will’s high school shows no sign of stopping, so his mom steps in with a great idea. “For a long time, for me, identity meant something that was not right within myself. Now I exist as openly as I can because I don’t want to go back.”
- Juliana – Animated by Simone Maher With a quirky personality and a queer mom, Juliana wants her LGBTQIA+ community to know that she is an ally who understands what it is like to feel ‘different.’ “People are going to come for you no matter what you do, so might as well do something you love.”