The Human Rights Campaign names its 2019 Youth Ambassadors, one of whom is from Utah.
As Youth Ambassadors, these LGBTQ advocates will represent the HRC Foundation, adding their voices and experiences to raise awareness about the most pressing concerns facing LGBTQ youth and HRC programs that promote well-being for LGBTQ youth, including All Children-All Families, Welcoming Schools and Youth and Campus Engagement, as well as our annual Time to THRIVE Conference in February 2019.
Eight members of the 15-member “cohort” are starting their first year as a Youth Ambassador, including Savannah Skyler, a 14-year-old Mormon from Eagle Mountain, Utah. Skyler is known for her courageous story of coming out. In 2017, a video of her speaking at church about being a lesbian went viral when her microphone was silenced. It became an instant inspiration worldwide.
In her church testimony, Skyler began, “I believe I am a child of heavenly parents. I don’t know if they talk to us, but I feel in my heart that they made me and that they love me. I believe I was made the way I am, all parts of me, by my heavenly parents.
“They did not mess up when they gave me brown eyes, or when I was born bald. They did not mess up when they gave me freckles or they made me to be gay. God loves me just this way because I believe that he loves all his creations. No part of me is a mistake. I do not choose to be this way, and it is not a fad. I cannot make someone else gay and being around me won’t make anyone else this way.
“I believe that God wants us to treat each other with kindness, even if people are different — especially if they are different. Christ showed us this.
“I believe that we should just love. I believe I am good. I try my best to be nice to each other and stick up for those that are hurting.
“I know I’m not a horrible sinner for being who I am. I believe God would tell me if I was wrong.”
She then went on to say she hoped to one day go on dates, to school dances and eventually to find a partner, get married, have a family and find a “great job.”
“I know I can have all of these things as a lesbian and be happy. I believe that if God is there, he knows I’m perfect just the way I am, and would never ask me to live my life alone or with someone I am not attracted to,” she said. “He would want me to be happy. I want to be happy. I want to love myself and not to feel shame for being me.
Skyler works with Encircle, PFLAG, and local Pride fests. She has spoken at and involved in LoveLoud. She has written articles for both Out magazine and Project Contrast. And she had roles in several documentaries shedding light on the Mormon and LGBTQ intersections, including Believer, Room to Grow and Savannah. Skyler’s future goals include advocating for LGBTQ people, finding an amazing partner, becoming an animator, being involved in politics, and adopting puppies.
To read more on the 2019 Youth Ambassadors visit hrc.org.