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Juan Ricardo Naïm Isaïe, 20 yo Liège - 2021


Since time immemorial, when young people attempt to share their thoughts and opinions, they often face robust resistance.

Recently, the world has witnessed an experience, that of Greta Thunberg. When she embarked on a battle against climate change, she was criticized, particularly by older individuals who, for personal reasons, sought to discredit her. This highlights a profound issue: older generations sometimes incline to dismiss the existence of the young if they don't conform to their ideas and/or beliefs.

This phenomenon manifests in the way ideas are imposed upon the youth. When they seek to find their own path and understand themselves, they are often pushed to think similarly to previous generations.

This dynamic, particularly pronounced for young LGBT individuals, who feel doubly excluded when their situation differs from those who simply live their identities, or even triply excluded when they come from rural backgrounds. Not only do they face resistance and general lack of listening towards young people, but they also confront cultural and social realities specific to their environment. This combination of factors can amplify their feelings of isolation and non-recognition, adding an extra burden to their journey towards acceptance and self-confidence.

This primarily occurs within the family. If an adolescent brings up the subject of their homosexuality with their parents, even in a relatively progressive setting, they might hear responses like "you're too young to know," which, though polite, can still be confusing and hurtful.

The influence of ideas from previous generations has always played a major role in how young people grow up. In this context, it is crucial to note how a toxic family environment, but not exclusively, can hinder a child's ability to express themselves from an early age. This can lead to difficulties for the individual to assert themselves as adults. Amidst these persistent challenges, young individuals like Pierre, Jordy, Xavier, Debbie, Clara, and others stand out. They are aware of their own identities and aspirations from a young age. They strive to help other young people who question their own identities. Through their involvement, they encourage other youth, especially those from less privileged backgrounds, to accept themselves, alleviate the sense of isolation, and strengthen their self-confidence.

The title "I Can Hear Your Breathing But Not Your Whispers" evokes society's incapability to truly listen when someone tries to express themselves. The "whispers" symbolize what we attempt to communicate, calls for help, attempts at assertion. In contrast, "listening to the breathing," even though it's less noisy than a whisper, is often more discernible. Similarly, the insignificant and superficial stories that often fill our interactions are more audible than the important messages that those concerned are trying to convey. It's a poignant reminder of the challenges in gaining acceptance in a society that can often lack listening or be close-minded.