Since YouTube’s emergence in 2006, the dynamic between YouTube and the LGBT+ community has always been an interesting one. On the one hand, the site proclaims to support and endorse LGBT+ content, yet, just this year, YouTube enabled censorship of some LGBT+ videos through a “restricted” filter. The new design behind YouTube’s filter, aimed towards parents, schools, and libraries, restricts certain content that would be deemed inappropriate for users under 18. As it stands, YouTube has owned their mistake and promised to work on the issue.
“. . . this isn’t an article slating YouTube or its creators, but one to celebrate their content.”
YouTube has undertaken progress to maintain a healthy relationship with its LGBT+ community, and it’s no surprise given many of YouTube’s most popular content creators are, in fact, LGBT+ persons. That said, this isn’t an article slating YouTube or its creators, but one to celebrate their content. In these past few months alone, global news has uncovered different events (ones not to be taken lightly mind you) of LGBT+ individuals subject to both torture and abuse.
In Chechnya, Russia, concentration camps were discovered where 100 men, part of the Chechen Republic, were reduced to verbal cruelty and ill-treatment. Indonesia, a Sharia court sentenced two gay men to 85 public lashes due to their sexuality, and, just recently, Turkish police have disrupted an LGBT+ gay pride parade. If we keep in mind those who are unable to express their sexuality freely and with the passing of Pride Month as well as the marked date of the Stonewall riots – we must take any opportunity possible to celebrate the freedom available at hand.
YouTube is no stranger to us – offering a platform for content producers to freely share, create, and celebrate their videos. With this positive outlook in mind, here are my top 4 LGBT+ YouTubers you need to check out:
Shannon Beveridge is most commonly known for her LGBT+ content on YouTube. Shannon’s YouTube channel, “nowthisisliving”, kicked off in 2012 and has now over 500,000 subscribers, and over 56 million total views.
Contribution’s by Shannon to the LGBT+ community has most certainly not gone unnoticed. She was recently featured on the cover of DIVA magazine and was awarded the Celebrity Rising Star Award at NatWest’s British LGBT awards show.
Directed by Ryan Hutchins, Shannon’s “A Letter to You” video is a must watch.
“. . . Troye Sivan is a hugely popular LGBT+ icon.”
Mostly known for his acting and music, Troye Sivan is a hugely popular LGBT+ icon. With his YouTube channel, reaching 4 million subscribers and over 250 million total views, the content is vast. Troye’s channel features videos on his music career, collaboration videos, all featuring the likes of Tyler Oakley, Blessing, and Marcus Butler, and finally his own personal vlogs.
Troye has always embraced his sexuality and used his platform across social media to empower individuals and to educate his viewers. Troye’s music video, Wild, featuring Alessia Cara, (directed by Malia James and produced by Taylor Vandergrift and Danny Lockwood), displays heart-warming LGBT+ content in a cute storyline narrative. Oh, and the music is pretty great too!
“Tyler has dedicated much of his YouTube career to focusing on LGBT+ issues. . .”
Everyone has heard of Tyler Oakley. With an on-screen personality as bright as his various coloured hairstyles, it’s difficult to dislike the bubbly YouTuber. Tyler has dedicated much of his YouTube career to focusing on LGBT+ issues and supporting social change e.g. The Trevor Project.
Oakley has just started producing a series titled; “Chosen Family: Stories of Queer Resilience”. In what he titled as a “season” of videos, Tyler explores the various important aspects of the LGBT+ community through advice giving, storytelling, and much-needed humour.
Tyler has over 7 million subscribers and over 620 million views on his channel. If you’re still undecided about watching his content, here’s a trailer for the previously mentioned video:
Hayley Kiyoko is a talented actress, musician and LGBT+ activist. After holding several notable acting roles in Disney’s “Lemonade Mouth” and as Velma Dinkley in a few Scooby Doo live-action films, Hayley Kiyoko is no stranger to the spotlight. Kiyoko’s rise to fame occurred after her first solo EP, “A Belle to Remember”.
“Kiyoko’s YouTube channel holds. . .orientated music video’s such as Gravel to Tempo and her new single Sleepover.”
However, it wasn’t after her breakthrough electropop single “Girls Like Girls” for her to achieve mainstream success. With the music video out on YouTube, and YouTube actively promoting the video, the hit-song now holds over 70 million views. Directed by herself and Austin S. Winchell, the video provides a unique narrative involving former Disney stars, Stephanie Scott and Kelsey Chow.
Kiyoko’s YouTube channel holds over 750,000 subscribers and features several LGBT+ orientated music videos such as “Gravel to Tempo” and her new single, “Sleepover”. Both videos are equally well produced and worth the watch!
Media sourced by YouTube. Image credits to Charles Hutchins