Snap Inc., parent company of Snapchat, Spectacles, and Bitmoji, has launched a series of new lenses in partnership with Minus18 — “Australia’s leading LGBTQIA+ not-for-profit” organisation supporting queer youth.
The collaboration asked Minus18 volunteers to create custom Snapchat lenses in celebration of this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) which lands on Sunday, May 17th.
Volunteers attended a creative workshop where they learned to build Augmented Reality Lenses they felt represented their community and experiences. A select sample of these lenses are now available for Snapchat users in Australia.
Though the coronavirus lockdown has impacted IDAHOBIT celebrations, Minus18 is still committed to spreading the message. “It is important for young people to continue to celebrate their individual identity and the wider queer community,” says Minus18 CEO Micah Scott.
Founded in 1999, Minus18 has been advocating for Australia’s queer youth for over two decades.
“LGBTQIA+ youth are still twice as likely to be diagnosed and treated for mental health illnesses in Australia,” notes Scott. “Which is why it is important that we look for new ways to tell our stories, build friendships and engage with the community.”
Since its inception, Minus18 has provided mental health support, education and workshops to over 2.5 million Australian youths. Their main mission is to tackle social isolation by creating inclusive, fun and safe environments for queer youths to enjoy.
On their partnership with Snap Inc., Scott says it just made sense. “Snapchat is already the preferred platform for many youth, which is why it made sense to partner with Snap and create these amazing AR Lenses for IDAHOBIT.”
Snap Inc. ANZ General Manager Kathryn Carter echos this sentiment, saying their collaboration with Minus18 helps create an inclusive environment on Snapchat. “As the leading communication platform for youth in Australia, we remain committed to offering a safe and engaging platform that allows you to be your authentic self, while communicating with your close friends,” she says. “We work hard to create a positive environment for our community and ensure Snapchatters have access to credible, fact-based information.”
Four IDAHOBIT Lenses are currently available, IDAHOBIT ALLY by Miller Soding, Pride by Peter-Sing, minus18 pride by Finn🦕and Pride by Richelle Lim.
While each individual’s design was inspired by their own unique experience being part of the queer community, when asked about their hopes for the future of the LGBTQIA+ community the volunteers all expressed the same desire: that they are respected, celebrated, and treated as equals.
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Get involved with IDAHOBIT from home, at school, or as a workplace here.