In December of last year, Leelah Alcorn, a young transgender girl, committed suicide. It hit me as hard as if I had known her. I felt connected to her. For a year, my focus has been on helping homeless youth, and it was heartbreaking to hear that 40 percent of homeless teens identify as LGBT. The more I learned about what life can be like as a transgender person, the more I realized how especially woven into homelessness that is. Acceptance is a huge step towards eradicating youth homelessness. Being who you are and who you want to be has nothing to do with gender, sexuality, body type, race, or age.
I haven’t been quiet or shy about discrimination issues towards the LGBT community because by alienating people, it makes it harder to work, live in society, have a home, have a family, and can result in homelessness. I wanted to learn more about other challenges in the LGBT community, like violence against transgender women, HIV/AIDS and family condemnation. Anything beautiful on this planet takes time, and with time comes change. That’s why I’m launching the Happy Hippie Foundation — because every life is valuable and we should make sure those who question their value feel protected.
Art starts as a blank canvas and has to be painted on by someone with a vision to become a piece of art. We are our own canvases — we should be free to create anything we want our lives to be!
The Happy Hippie Foundation is encouraging people to be the artists of a picture of true freedom, freedom of self-expression… freedom to be true to themselves. The fight to be free isn’t over. We have to rally together and fight injustice. Being a happy hippie means making others happy, even those unlike yourself! Happy Hippie Foundation isn’t just focusing on one problem; I am young and there is so much to fight for, learn, and be passionate about. Homeless youth and young people experiencing the negative effects of being LGBT in our world today is an issue that is very common and extremely current. I am honored to be a part of this movement and living in a time to witness the revolution! Bruce Jenner spoke beautifully about using his platform and fame to DO GOOD and to make real change, and I want to do exactly that!
Change is what we need and what young people are counting on! Living a life untrue to who you really are makes life unbearable for human beings with feelings and emotions — like love, maybe the greatest one of them. Pointless judgment and its consequences are unfortunately way too common. All humans have valid feelings and rights!
No one should have to hide who they really are, no matter what his or her name, gender, status or orientation. That’s why happy hippies are here to say that every life is valuable and it is our mission to make sure those who question the value of themselves and their lives feel protected and loved by us… which they very much are.
When Miley Cyrus wears pasties or posts photos of her pink armpits, it’s not to be a provocateur. The 22-year-old says she’s just being herself, and she wants all young people to have that same opportunity.
That’s why she’s launching the Happy Hippie Foundation to help homeless and LGBT youth, adding that not all her past relationships were “straight, heterosexual” ones. Cyrus didn’t elaborate.
“The position I’m in, I feel like I’ve got a lot of power,” she said in a Monday phone interview with The Associated Press. “But so many kids don’t feel that way. They’re under their parents’ rule.”
Cyrus, who famously asked a homeless man to accept her Video of the Year trophy at the 2014 Video Music Awards, said she was inspired by the attention generated by that gesture. And she was further moved by the suicide of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn in December. More than 1.6 million young people are homeless in the United States, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. Cyrus said 40 percent identify themselves as LGBT.
An entertainer since age 14, she wants to use her fame for good, calling Bruce Jenner “my hero” for shining light on transgender issues.
“When you have all eyes on you, what are you saying? And that’s what I had to ask myself a lot,” she said. “It’s like, I know you’re going to look at me more if my (breasts) are out, so look at me. And then I’m going to tell you about my foundation for an hour and totally hustle you.”
Cyrus is passionate about a lot of issues, from climate change to animal welfare, but said she chose to focus on youth homelessness because it’s specific and tangible.
“It’s something that everyone sees,” she said. “It’s like the birds chirping. We’re consciously ignoring it at all times, but it’s always happening right in front of us.”
She plans to remain focused on increasing acceptance for LBGT youth and improving homeless kids’ lives for at least five years before broadening her scope.
“It’s not going to be an overnight process,” she said. “You’ve got to get into a lot of people’s brains and you’ve got to really make this a topic.”
Funds raised by Happy Hippie will create digital support groups for LGBT youth and their families. The foundation is also aiding My Friend’s Place, a center for homeless youth in Hollywood.
To launch the Happy Hippie Foundation and raise money and awareness for its programs, she’s unveiling a collection of music video collaborations with artists such as Joan Jett and Ariana Grande. The Backyard Sessions will be available on the foundation’s Facebook page beginning Tuesday.
Cyrus is also writing songs about loving one another and being true to one’s self. Which comes back to why she dyed her armpit hair pink.
“The pink pits are saying, ‘Don’t tell me what to do,'” she said. “It’s back to what I’m preaching in a way, you know, telling these kids. I’m not just saying you be yourself and I’m going to go be Miley Cyrus. I’m saying I’m going to be my (expletive) self, too.”