He Was Born This Way
Juan Acosta fought for progress when all odds were against him.
It feels weird to interview someone historical.
Weird because they did something profound — such as pass a pro-Pride law in a city with a strong religious community. But even weirder because they’re human: just like you and me.
Juan Acosta is an entrepreneurial activist who serves on national committees, speaks at conferences and festivals, and co-authored a book with Lady Gaga. He’s dedicated his life to fighting for mental health and LGBTQ+ rights.
He’s only twenty-two and, although he’s already accomplished a lot, he’s most certainly not finished. It’s clear that communities in the U.S. — and around the world — still have a lot more work to do for the LGBTQ+ community. We’re also not the best at improving mental health.
It’s important to note the intersectionality of his work, as both mental health and LGBTQ+ issues are intertwined.
Juan is already a leader on these issues at the national level. And with people like him leading at the forefront, the future definitely looks bright.
Noah: Tell us about yourself and the work you’ve done with the Born This Way Foundation, your writing, among other endeavors.
Juan: I am a mental health and LGBTQ+ advocate, activist & a national speaker. I’m originally from Woodland, California but currently reside in San Francisco.
I began doing community service and advocacy work at the age of thirteen and raked up more than 200 community service hours by the age of fifteen, receiving recognition from non-profits and government agencies.
Since then I have collaborated with numerous organizations including as mentioned, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. I had the honor to serve as one of the inaugural reporters for their Channel Kindness platform. It’s a digital platform created by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation to act as a safe space for young people to tell their stories of kindness, resilience, and community. It highlights positive news and kind acts done by people and organizations throughout numerous communities.