Innovators vs. Dinosaurs
A Happy Hippie op-ed
by Miley Cyrus
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.
Happy Hippie has raised and donated money so that homeless young people at My Friend’s Place shelter in LA will receive food and clean socks and underwear for the next two years. While clean socks and underwear seem normal to us, they aren’t to the 1.6 million homeless young Americans without them. They will also receive more than 60,000 meals and snacks.
The loyalty of animals and the freedom of art are huge parts of my life. When brought into the homeless community, they are proven interventions that help build skills and provide the emotional supports that help homeless youth rebuild their lives. The best part of making art is that there is no right or wrong. It is the expression of what we feel — a freedom that has been taken away from so many of these young people. We want to help give it back to them. Happy Hippie programs include the supplies and equipment to encourage this self-expression. We are also funding animal companion programs, which build health status and can provide a loyal friend to those who need one most.
When we learned about the possibility to increase NY funding for homeless youth to $4.5 million, we wrote to Governor Cuomo, Speaker Heastie, and Leader Skelos to support the move. My fans added their support through an online petition, and the budget passed. We are making big changes! Youth fighting for youth! Happy Hippie’s current project is creating digital support groups that will simulate physical support groups for LGBT youth. This will be a safe and moderated place that utilizes technology so young people and their families can join in no matter where they live.
This is just the beginning for me and Happy Hippie. Thousands have joined our community and our fight for acceptance and justice for those who aren’t getting it!
We are working with some of the top names in politics, technology, and entertainment to build the world that we want to live in. I want to give my fans a platform to learn about issues that they might not have otherwise, a safe place to ask questions, a place to collaborate and take action! There is a new generation about to take over and I hope that we can create a happier and freer world to live in. We are all still growing, learning, and evolving…. And so should our world. There are billions of different people on this earth… and they all deserve to be happy.
Officially launched The Happy Hippie Foundation yesterday with #HappyHippiePresents: Backyard Sessions! Watch the full video of me performing “No Freedom” and “Different” with Joan Jett, and donate to help us raise funds to create digital support groups for LGBT youth and their families.
The Happy Hippie Foundation is dedicated to fight the injustices faced by homeless youth, LGBT youth and other vulnerable populations. To learn more about the foundation, click here.