In a world full of hate and division, it can feel like an impossible feat to push against. But one brave individual is. Despite the daily hardships and negativity being thrown her way, Courtnei Lee is making a stand. It’s easy to hide in fear, but to see change occur, courage must prevail. And the more courage you show, the louder your voice becomes.

There’s no question that progress has been made for situations such as racism, women’s rights, and mental health awareness, but in recent years, the views and treatment towards LGBTQ+ have taken major backsteps.

Society is heavily influenced and swayed by social media, and our culture is predicated on faces and names. For an idea or a belief to gain power, it has to come from a well-known individual with a recognizable image. And unfortunately, a lot of people in a position of leverage are spreading misconstrued and negative information. Especially for the LGBTQ+ community, words of hate are only getting worse.

Despite all the efforts and wins up to this point, there is still a lack of full protection under the law from non-discrimination in the workplace and the assurance that trans folks feel safe in their homes and elsewhere. Even though there are nearly 30 countries that recognize same-sex marriage, more than 70 countries criminalize same-sex conduct with 6 countries imposing the death penalty. The massive polarization is not solely felt in North America, it’s a worldwide situation. And one that needs more recognition to shift towards a brighter, more connected future.

One strong individual recognized the need for advocacy, and her name is Courtnei Lee.

“People are being murdered daily in the United States. Rights are being taken away, countlessly in different states. There’s just so much hate for a group of people that are doing their best to be themselves and thrive and they’re being shunned for it. There are so many problems,” Lee declares. So she is being active in the conversation with the hope of creating a positive shift.

Courtnei Lee

“I had to mentally prepare myself because you’re opening up a door for extremely cruel behavior: Constant online harassment, derogatory words, pushback from far-right extremists, and people that legitimately would want to harm me and possibly end my life,”

Courtnei Lee is a trans entrepreneur, Founder, and CEO of OYT Cosmetics, advocate, and social media influencer using her platform for good. Since her transition six years ago, Lee has been on a mission to inspire others and provide more representation to the LGBTQ+ community. Through activism, film, content creation, and disrupting the beauty industry with her cosmetic line, her voice is leading the movement for the acceptance and fair treatment of LGBTQ+ folks everywhere.

“I’m excited to create more safe space work environments for other people and contribute to a conversation that is often being narrated by straight, typically white, CIS males,” Lee says. But it wasn’t an easy decision for her to do so, and the reason so many refrains from speaking out are in part due to the harsh critical responses that follow.

When asked ​​how important is it for her to be stepping out now and using her personal brand to spread a positive message, Lee responds passionately:

“I had to mentally prepare myself because you’re opening up a door for extremely cruel behavior: Constant online harassment, derogatory words, pushback from far-right extremists, and people that legitimately would want to harm me and possibly end my life,” she shares. And this is the stark reality for so many other folks trying to open up the discussion.

“It’s scary, but it’s so important because if we don’t utilize the momentum that our LGBTQ+ elders have fought so hard for, we’re going to lose everything up to this point. So it’s a difficult and scary decision, but I am trying to focus on the positive outcome and what it can do for LGBTQ+ youth, and what it can do for other people going through a similar experience to mine. And hopefully, create more conversation and safe spaces in the process,” Lee says.

Opening up to family and friends is hard, but putting yourself out there to the world is on a whole other level that requires mental fortitude and an unwavering will. But for Lee, the online harassment is worth the impact her platform can make, despite the danger.

“People are running campaigns on hateful messaging, exclusive thinking, and derogatory terms and it’s gotten so out of control that we need to find a way to have an open discussion to reel things back in because it’s just so drastic,” she continues. The situation is rapidly becoming more severe with daily news reports of trans women being murdered, attacked, raped, abused, and harassed.

“These are dark conversations, but they’re conversations that have to be had otherwise there’s no progress. And when we don’t have conversations and education on a topic, we don’t move forward from it,” Lee emphasizes.

“I will try to attack it in my everyday life with as much compassion, kindness, humor, and with as much grace as I can to be inclusive to everybody. And not just LGBTQ+ people, but to everyone, so that we can all sit down at a table and have conversations that will have a better impact for the greater good of humanity,” she encourages.

The time for change is now, and the discussion of the abuse and hatred LGBTQ+ folk face on a daily basis is the starting point. Recognition is necessary for action, and Lee is leading the way to mend this fractured bridge.

Keep up with Courtnei Lee’s inspiring journey by following her on Instagram and showing your support for the LGBTQ+ community.

One person can make a ripple effect to reach countless others. Don’t underestimate your ability to do so.

 Article presented by Mindful Agency



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