Whether you’re an athlete, entertainer or vlogger, YouTube has become the go-to place when you want to reveal your true sexual identity to the world.
First things first, we live in the age of social media. So in many ways, the fact that people are choosing to come out, on what is essentially an extension of a social media network, makes sense. The video format of YouTube lends itself to coming out. Coming out is deeply personal and words or images might not give it the gravity or justice that the moment deserves. Video does. It’s immediate. It’s personal. And that’s why it’s so powerful.
The jury is still out. There’s no clear answer. And the signs are mixed.
In some ways, I feel that any way that someone chooses to come out should be celebrated and supported. It wasn’t too long ago that people wanted us to be out of sight, and out of mind. There’s so much more acceptance of us these days, in large part due to our increased visibility. In that sense, YouTube plays its role in helping people share their message with the wider world. That aspect of it has value.
My main concern though is whether coming out on YouTube has been reduced to just being the trendy thing to do. It’s the in thing to do right now, but does that mean it’s value and impact is lessened because it’s just a way for someone to generate attention, publicity and even possibly a financial return? It could be argued that in some ways, this has already happened.
The cute twins who came out on YouTube, ended up getting a cheque when they appeared on Ellen. Certain entertainers who sure, were successful before they came out, now enjoy a higher degree of visibility (and by consequence fame) since coming out on YouTube. And the bloggers whose public coming out resulted in more traffic to their blogs. There is an element of opportunism here. The question is – was this their intention, or is this just a consequence of the times and age we live in?
The answer to that question remains an unknown in all of this. Since I don’t have a YouTube channel and don’t know too much about this, I decided to reach out to someone who might be able to shed some insider light on the matter. Brad, aka the Brad Guy is a guy called Brad (funnily enough) who runs his own YouTube channel. We chatted recently about the coming out on YouTube thing, and some other interesting stuff. Check out our chat below:
Firstly Brad, how did you get started with YouTube? What made you decide to start your own channel?
I was involved is a pretty bad incident that left me with a broken spine and a torn neck, so I had many months of recovery and rehab ahead of me which left stacks of spare time to sit at home to try and cure my boredom. That’s where I started seeing YouTube in a whole new light.
Suddenly there were these people, just everyday people, who were huge stars making hilarious content. My favourite vloggers were people like Gigi Gorgeous, KindaGayBlog and Shane Dawson. The amount of honesty and integrity they showed was really inspiring.
I had studied media and videography before. So starting my own channel seemed easy enough. I’ve always been a creative person, so as soon as I was well enough I got to work and started BradGuyTV!
You cover a lot of interesting, yet seemingly unrelated topics on your YouTube channel. You go from tips for having a better one night stand, to a ‘how to’ on getting Cara Delevingne eyebrows. Where do you get all of these cool and crazy ideas from?
My mind is always running a million miles a minute. I have notes of ideas on my phone and each week I just pluck one out and film it. I look to social media a lot. People on the internet are always fascinated by the most bizarre things, so I try to incorporate those big trending topics into my videos and put a real irreverent, cheeky spin on them.
My mantra is to ‘broadcast what people are thinking but not saying’, which often leads to me revealing secret kinks or secrets about past boyfriends. Being open is a good thing though, yeah?
Absolutely! So, let me ask you, what’s your take on the whole coming out on YouTube thing? Do you think it’s a good or a bad thing?
YouTube is accessible and an incredibly diverse space with it’s own culture and customs. With YouTube giving birth to online celebrities combined with a pretty switched on digital generation, you get tech-savvy people with the ability to influence the masses.
Big YouTubers like Ingrid Nilsen, Connor Franta and Joey Graceffa are extremely candid and transparent with fans and most likely saw their sexuality as an integral extension of who they are. So why not share that with your audience? A majority of these YouTubers who choose to come out mention that their motivation behind it is to use their platform to stir social change and to hopefully inspire others to be brave and jump out of the closet.
It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For the YouTuber, it does open them up to criticism from conservatives and they risk tarnishing their brand by potentially being labeled the ‘gay YouTuber’. For the wider public however, visibility is key. Seeing these huge online influencers spark conversation can only lead to a more informed discussion when it comes to gender and sexually diverse people.
You’re openly gay, which would make coming out on YouTube a little redundant in your case. What could you reveal about yourself though, that maybe no one else knows?
Legit. I’m actually afraid that I sometimes dish out too many personal secrets in my videos and it’ll come back to bite me in the bum. But I’m an open book and nothing is sacred for me.
I guess nobody knows that I’ve attempted a five-way pash? Well, except for those four other guys. Sorry Mum!
Lastly Brad, for anyone thinking of joining the ranks of YouTube celebrity, what are 3 pointers or pieces of advice you’d give to people just starting out?
Hope you’re not insinuating that I’m a YouTube celebrity, because I literally talk to a camera in my bedroom without pants on!
Firstly, commit and be consistent. Make regular content, know your audience and stick to your personal brand.
Secondly, engage with the YouTube community. It’s a space full of ridiculous creativity and you’ll never be short of inspiration. Comment on videos and chat to YouTubers you admire, there’s no limit to the amount of friendships you can form and things you can learn.
Lastly, have fun! If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. Enjoyment should be your only motivation.