Why this hashtag? #loveALL is an initiative I started to create awareness, not just in the LGBTIQ community but to a wider audience. Firstly it states ‘love all’..meaning love everyone. This is a human concept that lies very close to my heart.

When I was a boy I was bullied a lot. Bullying is a thing that so many attempt to address but alas it all seems to fall on deaf ears. My approach will be an educational one. Primary Schools – this is wear most bullies occur and mostly unknowingly. Even the bully doesn’t realise the impact of his or her words.

A few words from my past still lurks in the chambers of my overthinking mind; moffie, sissie, meisie, piering-oë and bleeksiel. Yes, all of this made me a stronger person in the end, but it also took away so much self-confidence in my adolescent years.

With the #loveALL campaign I want to address this issue through a medium suitable for 4-9 year olds… Puppeteering. Seeing that my field is the ‘stage’, I’d like to use this medium in a very subtle manner to address this very poignant issue. The characters are already established in my hometown Bloemfontein where I’ve done sold out shows as ‘Hans Haas’. Now I will ride this wave of kids already knowing the blue rabbit to my advantage.

This project will be launched in the next school term at all local primary schools in Bloemfontein and hopefully surrounding towns as well. And the message is simple – love everyone, even the weird kid that sits next to you in your homeroom class.

So many kids take their own lives these days. This breaks my heart! It’s such a tragedy if a young adolescent takes his or her life just because the words of the past got stuck in their minds. Words that can be prevented. Words that can change to words of love and not hate.

This is my heart with the #loveALL initiative. And this is the first project of many to come.

aleXander Steyn
Mr. Gay World Southern Africa 2016