“#hellomynameis Raymond Braun (@raymondbraun) and I am 26 years old. I’m from a small town in Ohio and I knew there was something different about me for as long as I could remember. As soon as I got access to the Internet, I found a community which helped me gain the courage to come out to myself. Now my passion is to speak to anyone who was like me — that young LGBTQ kid who feels isolated or misunderstood.
When I shared my story, I started receiving powerful messages from young LGBTQ people all around the world, and I thought, ‘I wish there was a way for me to share the hope, optimism and resilience in these incredible stories.’ I created an Instagram photo and video series called #VisibleMe with the goal of reflecting a spectrum of LGBTQ experiences, because the more times that young people tell their stories, the more we show that we have a lot of the same dreams, fears and aspirations as everyone else.
When you grow up feeling different, like there’s something about you that isn’t seen as conventional or traditional, it gives you an openness to color outside the lines and chart your own life. I hope #VisibleMe encourages everyone to celebrate diversity and embrace what makes them different. We all have that spark within us.”