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Hayley Kiyoko Champions Health and Wellness in the LGBTQ Community

‘It's very important to use your life, not only your platform, to share positive values and help people.'

Hayley Kiyoko has long been using art to put her thoughts, opinions, and emotions into bodies of work. As her career developed, Kiyoko grew the confidence to let the world know who she is through songwriting. In 2015 she made waves with single “Girls Like Girls,” a song that encouraged the announcement of her sexual orientation to fans. “A turning point for me as a songwriter to be open with who I am was definitely 'Girls Like Girls.’ I'm pretty hands-on with all of my art. I love to write my music and I love to direct the videos. It feels like a part of me that I'm able to share, and people are hopefully able to relate to. I remember writing it very distinctively, it was raining, and my co-writer, looked at me, and she was like, "What is something you're really scared to sing about, that nobody knows?" And so, I talked to her about wanting to be confident and wanting to steal a guy’s girl.”

It’s not news that the LGBTQ community has had a long history of systematic oppression. Kiyoko’s bold and outspoken lyrics have given her the title “Lesbian Jesus” by fan armies. “Societal pressures definitely have been a huge part of being scared to be judged, feeling insecure, feeling kind of helpless in the situation, because I didn't choose to like girls, I just do.” The ‘Curious’ artist continued, “There’s such a stereotype and stigma behind any kind of label, and I didn't really fit in those labels. It was hard seeing how other people treated people like myself, or the box that they put myself in, really frightened me to be who I was, and share that with people. It definitely held me back.”

Participating in truth’s #WorthMore campaign to educate her fans about the ways Big Tobacco targets the LGBTQ community, she tells Billboard, “I recently learned back in the day that Big Tobacco companies would target the LGBTQ community and they called it Project Scum, which is messed up.” Kiyoko admits, “It's very stressful to be different. You deal with depression, you deal with judgment, you deal with fear. We are vulnerable, and we are seeking support. So, they probably take advantage of that.”

Kiyoko believes it’s important to be a voice for the community. Being a part of the stance against Big Tobacco is an important step to positive values within the LGBTQ community. “As an artist, we always hope to inspire. I'm gay. I'm Asian. I'm a woman. But I feel empowered. It's very important to use your life, not only your platform, to share positive values and help people. By helping others you're helping yourself learn and grow, and find compassion for one another, and understanding.”

Learn more about truth and how far Big Tobacco went to keep people hooked on their deadly, addictive products at thetruth.com