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Free to be you: support Exist Loudly

Black Timberland boots with pink trim

In 2020, youth worker and community organizer Tanya Compas decided to take the work she’d been doing with vulnerable youth to the next level by officially launching Exist Loudly. The London-based organization is creating joy and community for queer Black young people through programming, mentoring, and initiatives both online and in-person. Compas, who is also the founder of Queer Black Christmas, an annual celebration for homeless or estranged Black queer youth, is dedicated to giving queer youth the space to explore their identity, find chosen family, and, perhaps most importantly, tell their stories with authenticity and pride.

Black Timberland boots with pink trim

“LGBTQ+ people get pigeonholed into speaking on very repetitive conversations/narratives that are based on teaching CIS-Het people about LGBTQ+ community, as opposed to centring said content on the conversations/narratives that are important to us as a community, and inviting those who aren’t from the community, into the conversations that matter most to us,” Compas says. “This is particularly important for us as a youth organisation, as we want to empower Black LGBTQ+ youth to understand that their stories matter as they are, which is why our creative outputs in any media form are always led by youth and our community.”

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At Timberland, inclusivity, allyship, and advocacy are crucial elements of who we are. We are also committed to spotlighting and lifting up LGBTQ+ voices, which is why we’re not only donating clothing to the Exist Loudly community, but also providing a donation that will help their young people create their own medi projects. It’s all part of our commitment to creating an inclusive space, inside and out.

Black Timberland boots with pink trim