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  • Writer's pictureKatie M

Young LGBT Influencers in the Media

Updated: Aug 19, 2019

Above, YouTube star Tyler Oakley making a guest appearance on The Ellen Show in 2015.

It’s extremely important in this day and age to have LGBT influencers in the media to give help and inform LGBT youth on different topics that are still not getting taught enough or at all on. LGBT content in the mainstream media may be rare, but there are plenty of LGBT content creators online emerging that you should check out. This article is a guide on LGBT+ content creators in different areas of the media and why it’s important they exist and should be getting all the support they deserve.

Above, YouTuber Connor Franta wearing the LGBT Pride flag.

LGBT+ YouTubers have been becoming more popular in the past couple of years, one of the most well-known being Tyler Oakley, a 28-year-old gay YouTuber from the US. He is a LGBT Youth and Rights activist who has been making videos on queer politics, help and advice since 2007 and has since hosted TV shows, written a book, visited the White House and even made a video with Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States. He made an appearance on The Ellen Show, which is hosted by the popular TV personality Ellen DeGeneres who is also one of the most well-known LGBT celebrities around.

Above, YouTube personality Cammie Scott in her video titled 'Femme Lesbian Struggles'.

Cammie Scott is a popular Lesbian YouTuber who has made videos on ‘Femme Lesbian Struggles’, her coming out story, dating advice for queer women and Q&As about being gay. She was well known for being in a relationship with queer YouTuber Shannon Beverage and at one point shared a joint channel where they uploaded couple challenges and Q&As when they were together.

Above, YouTube couple Rosie (left) and Rose (right) on the cover of popular UK Lesbian & Bisexual Women's magazine DIVA in December 2016.

Rosie and Rose (known by the channel names TheRoxetera and Rose Ellen Dix respectively) are a married couple who make comedy videos together on coming out, personal anecdotes and challenges. Rosie also has a series on her channel called the ‘Bisexy Series’ where she discusses the challenges she has faced as a Bisexual woman and gives advice on how to deal with similar situations. Ingrid Nilsen is a Lesbian YouTuber who makes videos on coming out, coming out: one year later and how she knew she was gay. She is also a women’s rights activist, makes videos about women’s hygiene and campaigned to remove tax from feminine products.

Above, YouTuber Ingrid Nilsen in her video updating her viewers on life one year after coming out.

Recently there has been more LGBT content arising in traditional media like books, video games and TV shows. Though there’s still plenty of room for improvement, here is some notable LGBT content including books, music and TV to be created in the past year or so. Former YouTube personality Troye Sivan has become well known in recent years for his music, based around being a queer youth in a society where it isn’t widely accepted, making music videos following the story of two boys whose love isn’t accepted and the challenges they face because of it. Hayley Kiyoko is another musician who explores being gay through her music and music videos after gaining attention from her song Girls Like Girls. Bisexual artist Halsey has also begun making music about being in love with girls in her most recent album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom that was released last year, collaborating with Bisexual singer and Fifth Harmony member Lauren Jauregui.

In terms of books, there is much more choice available, though much harder to find. Two books that I feel portray being gay in a very relatable and slightly more normalised fashion are Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. Boy Meets Boy is a book about two boys who fall in love in a school where LGBT youths are out in the open with a Transgender star quarterback turned homecoming queen and a gay-straight alliance that was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance. This book is very humorous, relatable and really captures first loves in a realistic light. Carry On is a fantasy novel about two boys, one who is destined to save the world and end up with the prettiest girl in school, and the other who is a closeted vampire who’s in love with his roommate. This book is romantic, funny and heart breaking –and captures British culture very well considering Rowell is an American author. It tackles coming to terms with your sexuality and falling in love for the first time, and the book contains other LGBT characters as well as the two main characters.

Above, Harry Shum Jr (left) and Matthew Daddario (right) as Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood in episode 12 of Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments.

A TV show known notably for its wide-range of diverse and well-written characters is the American fantasy drama series Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments. Shadowhunters showcases a lesbian couple, an asexual character, bisexual characters and gay characters alike, as well as a main cast that contains actors from a mixture of ethnicities and backgrounds. The most popular couple in the show, known commonly as ‘Malec’ consists of closeted Alec Lightwood, the eldest son of the esteemed Lightwood family and openly Bisexual Magnus Bane, the high warlock of Brooklynn. Magnus is a deep and interesting character, which is worth keeping in mind as well-written Bisexual characters are extremely unusual to come by in the media. What makes the couple so interesting is that they are not looked down upon by the Lightwood family for their sexual orientation, which is typically the only storyline queer couples are given in the media, they are looked down upon due to the social standards segregating ‘lesser’ beings (warlocks and other fictional beings) from the Shadowhunters. It’s also praise-worthy that one half of the pairing is Chinese-American, as Asian roles are few and far between in Hollywood, let alone LGBT Asian roles.

Despite these great LGBT+ influencers and media content, there are still no way near enough being created and becoming mainstream. Content for LGBT+ youth is important to help normalise different sexualities and make the younger generation less afraid to explore and question their sexualities in a day and age where not being straight is much more acceptable. As well as this, it is so important for LGBT+ people to grow up with well-written, flawed and realistic queer characters and role models like these to look up to and identify with. Younger queer audiences should be able to watch TV and have characters and celebrities to look to and feel like they aren’t alone as they go on to discover themselves.

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