Twenty-year-old Fresh Palis Pisuttisarun from Thailand is a member of the Avast Foundation Youth Leadership Board. Fresh is currently studying Computer Science and Philosophy at Harvard University and is the founder of Prism Chat, an online peer support platform for LGBTQ young people, which currently has thirty-thousand users worldwide. Fresh applauds the Foundation’s determination to support initiatives which celebrate diversity, equality and LGBTQ like the National Diversity Awards.
"I'm really excited that Avast foundation is deciding to celebrate and motivate further change and genuine change towards LGBTQ, acceptance and equality. I think that some of these organizations really have the power to mobilize whether through employee women, legislation donation, et cetera, the LGBTQ community towards greater equality. So, I really appreciate that these companies are shining a light on some of these issues and bringing them into mainstream dialogue rather than brushing them under the rug. So, I am very pleased to see some of these celebrations happening right now."
Why is it important for young people like you to be on the Avast Foundation Youth Leadership Board?
I’ve always been really passionate about the intersection of tech and society, just really thinking about ways we can leverage digital spaces to empower and unite and involve young people who are from marginalised communities. So, whether that be LGBTQ youth, disabled youth, youth of colour, women for example, they are all in communities where historically they aren’t as welcome to the online space. So, I think my philosophy is unless we do something about it, our digital spaces are just going to mimic a lot those inequities we have in the real world. So, my work and my kind of vision for how I want to use tech is as a way to rectify those inequities that exist in society so that we use online spaces as a way to reflect a more positive and more equal kind of representation for young people. That’s really at the core of the sort of work that I hope to do and the vision that I think online space, online security and digital freedom, which are all things that the Youth Leadership Board aims to tackle, I believe these are all within the capacities of our work.
What would you say was the greatest achievement of the online platform you founded, Prism?
I would definitely say it’s the community that we’ve cultivated. So, we really are a young people driven LGBTQ space in the sense that not only are the people on the platform young, but the people who’ve created it are also young, people like myself and my co-founding team. The magic of our platform is that there’s a shared sense of trust and values. I think they trust that we share a lot of the same concerns and the same kind of ambitions that they do and because of that they can trust that the way we orient and facilitate our platform is going to be in a way that aligns with their notion of inclusion and their notion of diversity. I think that’s the really beautiful thing. It’s that kind of shared nod towards hopefully the right direction.
What would you like to see happen in 2022?
Something on all of our minds is to see Covid gone for good although that might now happen so soon!
I think, relating to LGTBQ advocacy, I’d like to see our community own up more towards, orchestrating our advocacy more cohesively. I think a lot of the time there’s actually internal tension within the community. I think it can be quite hurtful to the movement as a whole and it would generally work better if there’s just momentum in one direction and people would be able to be internally supportive of one another, but right now we’re seeing a lot of discourse and I think it is helpful to iron out a lot of those nuances so people are understanding of each other, but I think a lot of the time that can also deter from the overall momentum of the movement so that’s something I’d like to see addressed in 2022.