(Photo Credit: Alena Ozerova via Adobe Stock)

LGBTQ young people sometimes face risks because of their identities, but there are also rewards that come from being different. In honor of those young people at the forefront of the LGBTQ community, qnotes and Time Out Youth are hosting the 2020 Youth Essay Contest and seeking essay submissions from youth aged 13-20 years old.

Have you always wanted to be a voice for the community? Aspiring writers are asked to respond to the following prompt. What does being an LGBTQ individual mean to you? In 500-1,000 words, essays should discuss the way you identify, and what you do to remain true to yourself despite social pressure. Consider the support you have and the resources you wish you had. What inspires you to own your identity? What results from being honest with yourself and others? Don’t be afraid to be narrative and tell your story. Be honest, be proud and be creative.

To submit an essay, email entries to chrisrudisill@goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com with the subject line “Youth Essay Submission.” Please include biographical information in the body of the email including your name, age, hometown and how you identify in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity. Stories can focus on the entire LGBTQ community, or can focus on the experience of singular sub-communities within LGBTQ identities.

Deadline for submissions is March 26 at 5 p.m.

The winning essay will receive a $50 cash prize and will be published in qnotes’ April 3 issue focused on LGBTQ youth.