This is what makes DeAndre very extraordinary. Most of us would consider an act of kindness or goodness as significant only when it is done in a large scale—but not DeAndre. He believes that every good deed—no matter how big or small it may be—is always significant to the person you are doing it for.
DeAndre understands the difficult and tough circumstances that gay and bisexual people are put through by the community. A lot of times, people of the third sex are treated with severe discrimination and indifference, causing them to lose self-confidence and the determination to be seen as equal. DeAndre firmly believes in the equality of people, no matter what gender they choose to be; this is why he constantly makes every effort to work on behalf of the oppressed community of LGBTs.
For DeAndre, the fight for the rights of the LGBT community is crucial because this is an issue that affects a wide range of people in the community. To DeAndre, homosexuality is not limited to one race or one belief system—it goes beyond culture and lifestyle, which is why fighting for their equality and rights is of great need. The discrimination of homosexual people is not limited to poor or black people; as long as a person is gay, no matter what skin color or economic status, he or she will experience being persecuted by the community. Making themselves heard is also a struggle, which is why DeAndre does what he can to become the voice of the homosexual community.
DeAndre often says in interviews with him:
“What makes this fight so significant is that it affects so many people, spanning different cultures, ages and lifestyles. Being homosexual isn't a black or white thing -- it's everywhere and anyone. Today we openly admit to the world our sexuality and the struggles we endure, only to fall on many deaf ears. The reality of this entire situation is that the ones who are on the front lines fighting are often not even the ones who are truly affected. They've overcome the struggle and are trying to ensure that future generations don't have to. Those at the forefront of every battle are rarely doing it for themselves; No, they're doing it for the ones who will soon be in their place. They do it for the youth.”
Another issue that DeAndre focuses on is helping the homosexuals cope with the legal differences between them and their heterosexual counterparts. Most often, homosexual people struggle to present themselves as equal in legal terms, but since there are laws where certain privileges only apply to the straight male and female genders, a lot of them only end up being disappointed and discouraged to continue their efforts. This is where DeAndre and his team at Youth Pride Services step in. They work to help homosexuals to adapt to the legal boundaries so that they can in another way enjoy the privileges that only straight genders can lawfully take advantage of. Aside from this, DeAndre encourages and empowers them to fight for their rights so that they can be lawfully included in these privileges.
DeAndre said in a blog he wrote:
“You can lead a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink, or so the saying goes. Similarly, you can tell a community that there is an issue, but that doesn't mean that they will see it or even do anything about it. Convincing the millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth that they are not legally equal to the rest of their heterosexual counterparts is not easy. You have to find an issue that they can relate to and build from there. Suddenly it causes a revolution that everyone wants to be a part of. Out of nowhere you have people who never cared before but have realized that they will be affected at one point in their lives.”
DeAndre believes in the vast potential that the youth hold, especially in matters such as fighting for the rights of the LGBT community. Among his most important advocacies is getting the youth involved. There is a great percentage of LGBTs in today’s youth, who have not yet experienced the terrible things that their elders have already gone through. As DeAndre says in his blog:
“Sometimes the people that need to truly fight for their rights are the ones who have not yet been affected: the youth. We're not so concerned with things such as taxes and debt just yet. We're focused on the stuff that matters to us -- living our lives as we want to. So rather than experiencing what our elders have gone through, we choose to fight and make sure that even if we aren't the ones who get to enjoy the fruits of accomplishment, we still have made a difference.”
DeAndre Roberts’ Early Biography
DeAndre Roberts was born in 1993 in California. Born to a lower middle class family, DeAndre’s early life was filled with a mixture of struggle and occasional convenience. His mother, who loved DeAndre very much, poured out her life for DeAndre and constantly encouraged him that he will become someone very important that would impact the community in a positive way. DeAndre’s mother was very diligent and hardworking, and always taught DeAndre that in order to achieve what he wanted in life, he had to plan for it, and put the plan in action. Because of this, DeAndre grew up with this amazing determination and principle: “Change starts with someone, so why not me?”
Growing up, DeAndre developed a sympathy for people, more particularly those of the third sex due to witnessing the injustices being brought out by the severe amount of discrimination that the public had for them. As a student, DeAndre saw how some of his homosexual classmates were being treated differently; in grade school, the discrimination was not evident, but as he moved further in the upper levels of maturity, DeAndre saw how older homosexuals were being discriminated in such a way that dampens their spirits and destroys their hope for life.
As DeAndre matured further in age, the sympathy grew into a genuine love and compassion for the homosexual community. And so, during his high school and college years, DeAndre actively participated in various human and gay rights organizations such as Youth Pride Services in order to promote their goals of equality and a non-discriminative environment for the people of the third sex.
One of the the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World
It was not easy, and DeAndre was met with opposition not just from those who were against homosexuality, but even from those from the homosexual community who wanted to be left alone. Another factor that made DeAndre’s work tough was his age; a number of homosexuals that DeAndre encountered were very skeptical about his genuine desire to help, and the kind of impact that he would make in society. DeAndre described this in a blog he wrote years later:
“It isn't easy. People think that the work we do is simple and anyone can do it. They think that it comes as quickly as the cashier handing you back change. They don't realize the dedication and love put into their everyday rights. They don't experience the true wrath of the struggle. All the while, we sit back and endure the backlash from both sides.”
In spite of the difficulty of the situation, DeAndre did not get discouraged to go further. Instead, he used the disappointing moments of his career as a human rights activist as stepping stones to propel him higher so he can reach more people. And throughout his years of working with these humans rights organizations, DeAndre has been able to reach more and more people from the homosexual community, especially those of the youth sector. And even though DeAndre’s work has not yet reached a point where he believes he could really make a great impact in terms of the nation, he continues to move further, believing that the result of his actions will grow as more and more people are opened to the reality of the homosexual community—that they are people just like us.
In 2012, DeAndre was included in Youth Service America’s list of the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World, a true testament to the kind of influence that he has generated all throughout these years. His activism is often dubbed as the “Second Civil Rights Movement” due to the kind of change that it is bringing in the country today. DeAndre’s story is all about the will to move forward in spite of all the difficulties, so that you can give your life to the ones that really matter—people, no matter what gender they may be.
“People say that the youth have no power; I'm here, along with thousands of others, to say that we do. We have the power to start it, we have the power to support it, and we have the power to embrace it. It is change and so are we.”
Organizations and Programmes Supported
- Youth Pride Services
- Youth Service America
Awards and Achievements
- 2012: Included in the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World by Youth Service America