March 31, 2023

EP. 311.5 — What’s It Like To Be Young And Queer In America? with Queer Youth Assemble

Today is March 31, 2023. It’s International Transgender Day of Visibility. And Queer Youth Assemble has organized the March For Queer & Trans Youth Autonomy. It’s set to be one of the largest queer and trans youth marches in history, with events across all 50 states and Washington, DC. We had the honor of speaking with three of the group’s leaders—Alia Cusolito, Esmée Silverman, and Faith Cardillo—about what they have planned for TDOV, how they’re experiencing this moment, and what everyone can do to support LGBTQIA+ youth right now.

Queer Youth Assemble is a queer youth-led non-profit serving queer youth under 25 in the United States. You can follow them on Instagram and TikTok at @queeryouthassemble and on Twitter @qyouthassemble. Head to for more information on how to get involved, and to donate.

Alia is on Instagram @alia.cusolito. Esmée is on Instagram and Twitter @esmeesactivism. And Faith is on Instagram @goalkeeping_faith, Twitter @faithgk11, and at

Alia Cusolito (they/them) is Co-President of Queer Youth Assemble and one of the national march’s central organizers. They’re 17 and have been involved in activism on various levels since they were a young kid. They advocate for liberation and autonomy for all people, with hope of a future that is safe and compassionate.

Esmée Silverman (they/she) is a nationally renowned queer activist, community organizer, writer, and educator. Described as a spark of creativity, Esmée has used her unique personality and lived experiences as a non-binary asexual woman to improve the lives of queer & trans youth through events, protests, education, and other endeavors. They currently serve as the co-founder and co-president of Queer Youth Assemble, a non-profit bringing autonomy and joy to all queer & trans youth across the United States.

Faith Cardillo (she/they) is an athlete and political activist and advocate from Union, New Jersey whose expertise is in gun violence prevention, human rights, and voting rights. Faith is a representative on the NJ Youth Legislative Council, a member of the policy team for March For Our Lives NJ, and a member of the National Training Team for Students Demand Action. Faith also serves as the Head of Onboarding for Queer Youth Assemble.

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @CuriousWithJVN to join the conversation.


Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.


Transcripts for each episode are available at


Our executive producer is Erica Getto. Our editor is Andrew Carson. Production support from Julie Carrillo, Chris McClure, and Erin McKeon.


Our theme music is “Freak” by QUIÑ; for more, head to


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness & Queer Youth Assemble    JVN [00:00:05] Welcome to Getting Curious. This is Jonathan Van Ness. I’m so excited for today’s special episode, honey. We are giving you so much energy and so much queer joy, and I’m so excited that everyone is here. Today we have the honor of getting to speak with three young LGBTQIA+ activists from Queer Youth Assemble, a queer, youth-led nonprofit serving queer youth under 25 in the U.S. First of all, I am like, just in awe of y’all. I thought that it was weird and confusing when I was growing up—honey. So I just—hats off to you. I’m so proud of all three of you. Thank you for being who you are. And thanks for coming on Getting Curious. Faith, I’m going to throw over to you to introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about yourself, please.     FAITH CARDILLO [00:00:51] Sure! So my name is Faith Cardillo. I use she / they pronouns. I am a political activist and advocate based

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