Prince William is lending his voice—and face—to a community that needs advocacy more than ever before.
Just days before the deadliest mass shooting in America took place at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the royal father of two posed for the United Kingdom's Attitude. As it is a gay magazine, the moment marked the first time a royal had ever posed for the cover of a gay publication.
In between rounds of smiling for the camera, the Duke of Cambridge sat down with nine members of the LGBT community who have faced bullying for their sexual orientation and gender identity at school, online and in everyday life.
Since he and his wife, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton have recently focused on improving mental health and social acceptance by partnering with programs offering services in schools and neighborhoods, William was interested in discussing how these young people suffered mentally from years of such abuse and how to prevent it from recurring.
"He has established a taskforce on the prevention of cyberbullying and along with The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry is leading the Heads Together campaign on mental health and well-being," a Kensington Palace spokesman added. In addition to raising awareness, Heads Together is also the Charity of the Year for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.
"No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason and no one should have to put up with the kind of hate that these young people have endured in their lives," he told the magazine. "The young gay, lesbian and transgender individuals I met through Attitude are truly brave to speak out and to give hope to people who are going through terrible bullying right now. Their sense of strength and optimism should give us all encouragement to stand up to bullying wherever we see it."
The 33-year-old did not leave without offering a bit of tangible advice. "What I would say to any young person reading this who's being bullied for their sexuality: don't put up with it—speak to a trusted adult, a friend, a teacher, Childline, Diana Award or some other service and get the help you need," he continued. "You should be proud of the person you are and you have nothing to be ashamed of."
Editor Matthew Todd was pleased with the meeting and hopes for a beneficial future under the reign of William. "During my time as editor of Attitude I have met parents whose child has taken or lost their life after being bullied for being LGBT+ or even just perceived to be LGBT," he commented.
"I am very happy that the future King of The United Kingdom agrees this must stop and I would urge parents in particular to raise their voices in their communities to ensure that every school protects– really protects–all children."
The magazine is available to download now from pocketmags.com/attitude and will be available in shops on June 22.