Program Alum Announced as a Unity for Humanity Rare Impact Challenge Winner

Two images side-by-side: character in hot air ballon across blue backdrop; & an illustrated person's face on empty city street
Image by Unity Blog
May 12, 2021

Kate Luxion ('17) was recently announced as a co-winner, along with their colleague Marc Svensson, of the Unity for Humanity Rare Impact Challenge. 

"We partnered with Rare Beauty’s Rare Impact in October of 2020 to open a call for immersive experiences that address mental health and well-being. This challenge was designed to underscore the powerful role that real-time 3D can play in supporting the world’s mental health landscape. Today, we are proud to introduce the winning projects: Apart of Me and What It’s Like to Be Me. 

What It’s Like to Be Me is a VR experience that invites users to understand what it can be like for members of the LGBTQ+ community confronting stress in their everyday life brought on by negative attitudes about their sexual and/or gender identities. What It’s Like to Be Me is about witnessing and engaging with the stories of LGBTQ+ individuals as they navigate the world to recognize the mental, emotional, and physical strain, and also the resilience and strength developed through their experiences. This project validates common stories in the LGBTQ+ community to provide a source of comfort in knowing community members are not alone, and that happiness and joy are still possible.

This project was created by two social scientists, Marc Svensson and Kate Luxion, who are completing their PhDs focused on LGBTQ+ mental health and minority stress at University College London (UCL). The LGBTQ+ identifying team behind the project  believe that, “the most efficient way to improve mental health in our community and help LGBTQ+ people live happier lives is to educate the general population about the issues we are facing, as a community and as individuals. With education and improved understanding comes acceptance, inclusion, and empathy.” Kate Luxion, explains that the experience is “built around five true-life stories. Users are immersed in their experiences in the hope that more people understand what it’s like to experience and work through prejudice, discrimination, and stigma as an LGBTQ+ person.” 

Read the full press release here: