It is with much pride that we announce the final IYG Spotlight Award winner of 2021 is one of our fabulous interns, Phoenix Schlebecker (he/him/his or they/them/theirs)! As a teenager, he always wanted to participate in IYG, having heard great things from his friends who were involved; however, he was never had the opportunity. Phoenix struggled with his mental health throughout high school while attempting to navigate a world where his identity did not align with how others perceived him and his gender. Since coming out as trans the month before his high school graduation, Phoenix has been passionate about supporting and advocating for the trans community, particularly trans youth. This is what lead him to pursue an internship with IYG. When asked what he enjoys most about working at IYG, Phoenix said, “I love having the opportunity to be a role model and make a positive impact on the lives of queer and trans youth. It’s so fulfilling to be able to utilize my own lived experience to help support and empower them in overcoming the same struggles I faced at their age. IYG is the only place I’ve ever felt like I can really embrace my identity, and it’s a magical experience to work at an organization staffed by so many proud, queer professionals!” On the personal side of life, Phoenix enjoys going on road trip with his partner, Lemon (he/it), who is both an IYG alum and current volunteer. He also enjoys bouldering and creating art when free time allows. Phoenix is proud to share that as of last month, he has been on testosterone for six consecutive years.
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