Wattpad, the global multiplatform entertainment company for original stories, and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) have announced a partnership to celebrate, empower, and give back to LGBTIQ+ youth around the world.
Throughout Pride Month, Wattpad will host the Pen Your Pride write-a-thon, a global writing event, encouraging Wattpad users to write, read, and share their experiences as LGBTIQ+ youth and allies.
Wattpadders can contribute their stories of coming out, finding love, exploring gender identities, or how they’ve been an ally and worked to form alliances, create awareness, and fight for LGBTIQ+ rights and equality. For every story submitted with the hashtag #WattPride, Wattpad will donate $1 up to a total of $10,000 to ILGA.
Funds donated as part of the Wattpad Pen Your Pride write-a-thon will support ILGA’s work to represent civil society within the United Nations and other international fora, on issues relating to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics; provide support to its members – LGBTIQ+ organizations from around the world – in promoting and protecting human rights; and raising awareness that informs institutions, government, media, and civil society, through advocacy and research.
The Wattpad Pen Your Pride write-a-thon will be open to the global Wattpad community of more than 65 million people. Wattpad users in the US, Canada, and around the world can put their pride on the page, submitting or reading submit or read stories in more than 50 languages.
“Wattpad is a place where people feel safe to share their authentic voices, experiences, and creativity,”
Chris Stefanyk, Head of Brand Partnerships, Wattpad, commented.
“Around the world LGBTIQ+ youth have been able to express themselves on Wattpad in a way they can’t anywhere else, creating a community of users celebrating diversity, positivity, and ultimately, love in all forms. Creating a space for more people to share their stories can change the world, so we’re thrilled to work with ILGA to support Pride Month and help LGBTIQ+ youth and allies continue telling their stories.”
“LGBTIQ+ persons have probably never enjoyed as much visibility as in recent times, and yet many in our global communities still struggle to have their voices heard: this is why it is incredibly important that we get to tell our own stories to the world,”
added André du Plessis, Executive Director of ILGA.
“Being allowed to share our own perspectives and lived realities gives us room to express ourselves, while countering all the stereotypes and the negativity directed towards us. Every opportunity to dismantle prejudice and the root causes that still make LGBTIQ+ people a target of human rights violations is a precious one, and we are grateful for each space that opens up for our communities to be heard.”
Wattpad is one of the safest spaces online for LGBTIQ+ youth to feel empowered and share their voices. Since January 2018, the global Wattpad community has spent billions of minutes reading LGBTIQ+ stories on the platform. In the past 30 days, Wattpad users have spent more than 700 million minutes reading LGBTIQ+ stories, including 151 million minutes in the US.
In the same period, Wattpadders have shared more than three million new LGBTIQ+ story uploads. In 2017, #FreetheLGBT was a popular movement on Wattpad, as users around the world looked to increase the number of prominent LGBTIQ+ characters in fiction, spending an average of 13 million minutes reading stories with this tag each month.
In addition to being a positive, safe destination for users, Wattpad regularly works with brands to support inclusivity and positivity online. In 2017, Wattpad joined AT&T’s Later Haters campaign, spreading anti-cyberbullying awareness to US users. Wattpad also worked with Lionsgate to support the film Wonder with a contest encouraging people to share stories about acts of kindness.