“If you’re being bullied, put down or even physically abused because of your sexuality, that is not acceptable anymore.”

17 May marks the day that hundreds of LGBTIQ citizens and allies celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

15-year-old Sam Bouzanquet sees IDAHOT as a chance to show his appreciation for the LGBTIQ activism that has helped make his life a little easier and has given him a chance to try and help other gay teens less fortunate than him.  

“I know I have been extremely lucky, compared to previous generations of gays,” says Sam. He says that 26 years ago, he would have been considered mentally ill “before the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder."

While honouring the activism of generations passed, Sam believes that IDAHOT and other similar initiatives are an important tool for providing education and changing hearts and minds.

“IDAHOT helps us take action and engage in dialogue with the media, policy makers and the wider community,” he says.

Sam believes that IDAHOT is a day to focus attention on the harder subjects, namely, "the violence, discrimination and repression LGBTIQ people experience,” while also helping the wider community understand these struggles.

Citing a recent large-scale study of male sexuality that has strongly suggested homosexuality is caused by a variation in the genome, Sam said, “It’s a similar kind of variation that decides if someone is left-handed, green-eyed or just has red hair. Talk about insane! Can you imagine those three groups of people being classified mentally ill because of a slightly varied genome? Of course not!”

Sam acknowledges that his experience as a gay teen has been easier than many.

“I have never been beaten-up or even really hassled for being gay. I have a loving family who has always been supportive of me and my sexuality. I was encouraged to come out at 14 years old as I had known who I was from 9."

"I know that some teenagers are not nearly as lucky as I am," he says. "Some may suffer from their parents rejecting them, or trying to change them, or not loving them for who they are… Others may be bullied, put down or even physically abused.”

While Sam is the co-founder of Queensland’s first recognised LGBTIQ high school group, he believes many students are still fearful of coming out.

“IDAHOT is a day where the LGBTIQ community and its supporters are recognised, and we’re reminded it’s OK to be gay.”

“If you’re being bullied, put down or even physically abused because of your sexuality, let me say right here and now, that is not acceptable anymore.”

“If you’re out there, not sure of who you are, or worried what people will think, or scared of what people might do, rest assured, you are not alone.”

“As a young gay man, I believe this day is needed for all of our LGBTIQ youth.”