Metro Weekly

It Gets Better uplifts LGBTQ youth with a Digital Pride Experience

Kalen Allen hosts the second annual virtual Pride event

It Gets Better: A Virtual Pride Experience — Mj and Laverne

Kalen Allen, the young Ellen Show correspondent and social media personality, has been tapped to host the second annual virtual Pride event from It Gets Better, all while undergoing a drag transformation assisted by RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Monique Heart.

This year’s two-day Digital Pride Experience from the organization billed as “the world’s largest storytelling effort to uplift, empower, and connect LGBTQ+ youth” offers a mix of live and pre-taped content, ranging from a fireside chat with pioneering trans actor Laverne Cox and Pose star Mj Rodriguez, to “a fashion kiki” with designer Christian Cowan and photographer Vincenzo Dimino, to a Zumba segment set to a new track from Todrick Hall.

Scheduled as two midweek afternoon programs during the last full week of Pride month, the event also includes interviews with Ryan O’Connell of Netflix’s Special and Brazilian drag singer Pabllo Vittar, a recording with Tuck Woodstock from the Gender Reveal Podcast, workout exercises led by Caleb “The Fitness” Marshall, a dance party with Mark Kanemura, a Q&A with Colombian YouTube creators Calle y Poché, and musical performances by two mononym artists: Vincint, the rising 30-year-old Black pop artist born who came to fame as a finalist on the Fox reality competition series The Four, and Jordy, the infamous French singer who has been in the French media spotlight since scoring a pop hit three decades ago when he was only four. All that plus special appearances by Adam Faison, Alex Wong, Julian Burzynski, Chelsea Piers, Rob Anderson, Serena Shahidi, and Tony Talks.

The event will also introduce two Spanish-speaking segments, a product of its growing presence in Latin America. Also expect to hear from members of the project’s Global Affiliate Network, specifically those taking part in the organization’s 2021 Global Summit, being held earlier the same week.

It’s all a rather amazing accomplishment when you stop and reflect on the fact that journalist Dan Savage launched @ItGetsBetterProject on YouTube along with his partner Terry Miller as a resource for struggling youth to find stories and messages of hope and an effort to try to prevent teen suicides. “Because of technology, we don’t need to wait for an invitation anymore to speak to these kids. We can speak to them directly,” Savage explained in the fall of 2010. “Honest to God, we put up our video and thought ‘Are we going to be the only ones?'”

Within the span of three short weeks, the site accounted for over 700 videos, stories of perseverance from both LGBTQ celebrities and everyday people, helping establish firm roots for the cause.

Wednesday, June 23, and Thursday, June 24, from 2 to 6 p.m. Streaming from the @ItGetsBetterProject on YouTube. Visit www.itgetsbetter.org.

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