By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]
Advocates for Youth, a national non-profit focusing on young people’s sexual reproductive health and rights, is providing fun-filled entertainment packed with a lesson particularly targeting LGBTQ youth, through the new YouTube show “Kikis with Louie.”
“Kiki,” a common term used in the Queer community, is normally a conversational session among friends where tea might be spilled, shade might be thrown and topics from politics, gossip, advice to old times are discussed. On the show, Advocates for Youth Director of LGBTQ Health and Rights Louie Ortiz-Fonseca, has kikis with young activists from the LGBTQ community around the nation.
Guests include “POSE” trans actress MJ Rodriguez, NBA player Reggie Bullock, whose trans sister was murdered, non-binary musician Shamir and youth from the LGBTQ community who discuss, dating, sexual health, stigma, consent and more.
“I’m really excited for the world to see the collective youth power,” Director of “Kikis with Louie” and Senior Manager of Strategic Projects at Advocates for Youth Lincoln Mondy told the AFRO. “In these episodes we travel to six cities and interviewed over 15 youth activists, and they’re just doing incredible work,”
According to Mondy, the show was created to address the uptick in bullying and young people who identify as LGBTQ not feeling safe.
“We know that a lot of young people who identify as LGBTQ don’t have supportive environments, and they’re not included in sexuality curriculums,” Mondy said, noting that school sexual education classes primarily focus on hetero-normative intercourse, thus silencing LGBTQ students. “They only talk about LGBTQ identity in regards to death and disease. And so we wanted to create a space that was safe and affirming online, but also something that was fun and engaging.”
Through “Kikis with Louie,” LGBTQ youth will be able to watch, learn, ask questions and “unpack conversations that [LGBTQ youth] are often told to bury, including relationships, sex ed and rejection from family members,” Mondy said.
Ortiz-Fonseca, also known as Louie, did not immediately see himself as a show host, with Advocates for Youth, yet his work has often involved getting young people to use their voices in order to create change.
“We work with two cohorts. Our cohort Youth Resource, which is a cohort of nine LGBTQ youth of color throughout the country and they work to do both local and state organizing around LGBTQ health and rights. And then I manage ECHO, Engaging Communities around HIV Organizing, and that is 10 young people, Black and Brown, living with HIV around the country, doing local and state work around decriminalizing HIV,” Ortiz-Fonseca explained.
“Kikis with Louie” is yet another means of LGBTQ young people using their voices. “And that is how ‘Kikis’ was born and that’s the central part of the magic of the show- is that it centers young voices in a way that is needed in 2018 and that is most relevant in 2018,” Ortiz-Fonseca told the AFRO.
As a parent of a 16-year-old, Ortiz-Fonseca was able to understand even deeper how hard conversations around identity, sex and body autonomy can be for both the adult and young person. While the show targets young people, he hopes it will have am intergenerational appeal. “I hope that adults that connect with me or see how these conversations can be modeled,” he said.
“These conversations with our young people can be awkward, can be tough, can be challenging, they’re certainly not impossible and also very necessary,” Ortiz-Fonseca added.
The kinds of conversations in “Kikis with Louie” are even more imperative for young people, as Mondy noted that they are the future.
“I think now more than ever we need to focus and be supportive of young people and take their lead, because they have their explanations and it’s their future at stake, and we just need to get out of their way so they can do the work,”Mondy told the AFRO.
“Kikis with Louie” officially launches Nov. 29. For more information, go to the Advocates for Youth YouTube channel, where the show will stream.