Queer YouTubers Are Changing the Scene of Mainstream Media
The Internet has always been a site for queer safe spaces—its infinite abilities in creating community are typically more appealing than physical spaces that don’t always include all identities. Physical, queer-charged spaces can be empowering, yet time and time again, they hold some sort of exclusionary politics that sadly don’t welcome certain marginalized groups within the queer community, such as trans people of color. So, online queer spaces continue to be popularized, and even replacing the physical safe spaces, such as lesbian bars, which is evident in the fact that it’s nearly impossible to find ones that are still in business today.
But is it an actual problem that these online spaces are flourishing? They not only continue to be more inclusive to all genders and sexualities within the queer community, such as the Instagram account of @_personals_, but they also allow for connections that can occur wherever the Internet can reach, which is far more expansive than urban areas that used to be the only sites for rich, queer life; now it’s open to all, including queer youth that are not always out to the public.
Queer online communities can be for all ages, but there seems to be an inherent connection to youth that identify as LGBTQIA+ or are least questioning their identities. Fan communities, which are often safe spaces for queer teens, couldn’t exist without the Internet and facilitation by sites such as Tumblr and fanfiction.net. Young queers who long for other human connections going through similar experiences who can’t be found in their small suburban town wouldn’t be able to meet their long distance partners or queer friends without the trans-geographic power of an online community. Platforms like YouTube continue to be sites that foster both queer visibility and queer community between creators and viewers, producing a network of virtual connections that typically include baby gays who are first coming to terms with their sexual and/or gender identity, where YouTuber’s videos and experiences can facilitate their understanding of the scary world of heteronormativity around them.
Gay YouTube is usually associated with the infamous “coming out” video, where often famous creators would reveal to their fans their queer identities after already having formed a successful fanbase. This revelation is a marker that maybe the Internet is a space for LGBTQAI+ visibility, and that coming out through a screen rather than to your closest friends can ultimately inspire those watching to maybe do the same, or at least validate the experiences of any queer viewers, especially those who have never been exposed to this content IRL.
Yet, what about those YouTubers who are explicitly queer in their content, especially in the age where LGBTQ+ videos are still being demonetized for their “controversial” videos? Oftentimes, these queer creators’ primary incomes are through their content creation, and this new policy makes them unable to make a living off of their careers simply due to their identities and choice to influence the youth that need it the most. Even worse, this content is at times age-restricted, which defeats the purpose that many of the videos have—to educate queer youth on various topics and, even more importantly, to act as queer role models for this same population.
This doesn’t stop these creators from creating, however—the amount of queer YouTubers, and particularly lesbian and queer womxn, that continue to produce content for their queer audiences continues to increase, adding public visibility for a population that has been historically privatized. While these accounts can be more than helpful for teens who are first coming to terms with their queerness, I discovered my favorites far after I figured myself out—only a year ago. I was home for a few weeks last summer and found myself in a YouTube hole, one I was unfamiliar with as I had never even regularly used the site since middle school back when I was obsessed with Grace Helbig. I instantly found a community of lesbian and queer creators that not only produced a variety of videos relating to gay topics, but also happened to all be best friends based in West Hollywood. After two days of discovering far too many accounts and diving into their extensive archives, I not only accepted my guilty pleasure, but also that I would’ve been grateful to have them at a time when I wasn’t so sure of myself. Many may have existed during my adolescence, yet I didn’t have the knowledge or desire to even watch them at that point in my life. Instead, I discovered them years later, allowing myself to reflect on what could’ve been but also how they can continue to impact me today.
Below is a (brief) list of my favorites, yet the list can go on for days, which you can discover for yourself after getting acquainted with the five below and also have the pleasure of getting lost in a long, long road of gay YouTube that I found myself in last summer.
If You’re Looking to Get Educated on Queer Sexual Health (without that cringey classroom atmosphere)
WATCH: Stevie Boebi
Stevie is one of the last lesbian YouTubers I discovered during my two-day-long Internet excursion, yet she now continues to be the most impactful—both to me, but also to all the queer womxn who were never taught any form of sex education that pertained to their sexual preferences. She has been making videos on lesbian and queer sex for over five years now, ranging from simpler topics like how to eat pussy to more serious ones like sex after sexual assault (which has also been covered on Camp Thirlby). She makes them extremely accessible and entertaining, making the often stigmatized topic of queer sexuality desirable to watch.
She is also extremely vocal about her lesbian and polyamorous identity; she recently began creating videos on breaking myths of polyamory, which continues to normalize the ability and desire of having multiple partners—something she strongly promotes if everyone’s on board. On another level, she also adds visibility to those who are queer and disabled, which she has recently been public about herself through her recent diagnosis with EDS and POTS. I’m not sure if her appeal comes from my weird obsession with her beautiful, purple hair or her ability to talk of “taboo” topics with such ease, making even those the most terrified of sex a little less frightened, especially for the young queer womxn that are consistently told myths about lesbian sex. She not only educates on these topics, but she makes sure to normalize them as well, because everyone deserves a right to a proper sex education that validates their experiences and identities, even if it must be done through YouTube.
If You Want to Meet the OG, Lesbian Queen of YouTube and Get Inspired
WATCH: Shannon Beveridge
Back before being gay on YouTube was trendy, Shannon Beveridge existed and practically made it cool with her three and a half year-long public relationship with her ex-girlfriend. Yet, I didn’t discover her until long after this breakup, where I could see her solo content that continues to be unapologetically gay without a significant other. Her story that she makes highly visible through her content is only inspiring to queer youth—she was raised in a small, Christian town of Texas and didn’t come into her true sexuality until years into college. Her ultimate gratitude towards her gayness gives hope to the baby gays that haven’t found themselves quite yet, and this shows in her videos, whether on her experiences of being gay in a sorority, her detailed feelings on coming out, and even a stroll down memory lane revealing her closeted high school experiences when she visits her hometown in one of her most recent videos.
The public persona she exudes through her channel is the realest I’ve seen out of the queer YouTubers I’ve familiarized myself with, and not just because I also grew up in a Southern suburban town that made coming to terms with my sexuality a bit more difficult. At the end of the day, she simply continues to be highly transparent about her experiences and her identity, where it’s apparent that she wishes to be a role model to those who are still in the process of figuring out where they stand on their sexual and/or gender identities. Many gay fans also notoriously crush on her, making me also realize that I most definitely have a crush on 99% of the lesbian and queer YouTubers I watch, including the three featured here, which also makes YouTube a site for queer fans to lust after their role models that are unapologetic in their queer sexualities.
If You’re Searching for the Hilarious, Gay YouTuber Who Embraces her Singledom
WATCH: Amy Ordman
It’s a common trend for lesbian couples to be public about their relationships online by creating content together on YouTube, or even by making joint accounts with their partner. Stevie had this with Ally Hills, Shannon had this with Cammie Scott, and several continue to thrive in their relationships through joint accounts, where married couple Rose and Rosie is probably the most widely known of them all. While this trend is important in normalizing healthy relationships between two womxn, it’s not always the case for queer womxn to be coupled off. Moreso, having a romantic partner as a lesbian or queer womxn can validate our identities, yet what if this isn’t the case, and we can’t find a partner, or we simply choose to be single?
Amy Ordman, the funniest of the gay Youtube bunch who was one of the first to sprout my obsession, is perpetually single, at least according to the running joke amongst all of her friends and the videos she creates—she even made a video discussing her inability to find a girlfriend due to her social anxiety and her overwhelming amount of Scorpio placements. Yet, romantically involved or not, her channel is shamelessly queer, whether through the absurd videos she creates with her queer YouTube clique; her public acceptance of the label of lesbian after years of discarding it; and her inability to stop getting cats, although she’s allergic, because she’d rather hang out with them than make real human interactions (such a lesbian mood!). She hardly has her life figured out, but she still makes it the most fun and gayest it can be—content I not only find extremely enjoyable to watch, but also feel better about my gay angst that I’m obviously not the only one feeling. Her 411k YouTube subscribers and 187k Instagram followers prove that other queers also feel understood by her quirky, self-deprecating sense of humor that always places her lesbianism front and center, giving a glimpse into a world where not all public queer figures need to be on top of their shit 24/7, simply because they’re human, just like us.
If You’re Looking for a Black Queer Icon Who Makes You Question Everything You Once Knew About Gender and Sexuality
WATCH: Ari Fitz
Ari Fitz continues to be at the top of every “Lesbian YouTuber Crushes” list, and for good reason. Not only are they extremely confident in their Blackness and queerness, but they have also recently been visible about their feelings on their fluctuating gender, where they are starting to feel a disconnect in womxnhood but still have no idea how they identify—“I am everything and nothing.” And that’s okay! Their videos, while not always focusing on this gender queerness, have always been unabashedly queer—they’re extremely visible in their non-monogamy, often talk about lesbian sex, and make videos on queer pop culture with their girlfriend Jade.
At the end of the day, Ari reveals to their hundreds of thousands of subscribers and followers how it’s possible to queerly be yourself, even if this consistently changes, because our genders and sexualities don’t always have to be static. The beauty of being queer!
If You Want to Find Content that Intersects Queerness and Disability
WATCH: Jessica Kellgren-Fozard
Some accounts focus on their queer identities, some accounts focus on their disability, but Jessica makes sure to account for both, providing an intersectional approach on what it means to be queer and deaf with HNPP and MCTD. Her videos often follow an educational approach, where she wishes to teach her subscribers on the realities of being disabled and queer, how to live a happy life with these marginalized identities, and how to be a better ally for those who are not queer and/or disabled. Her transparency on her disabilities can provide inspiration to those who are also disabled or can educate those who are not, yet she always makes sure to prioritize her lesbian identity as well, where oftentimes she’s made invisible due to her femme presentation. She makes sure to advocate on LGBTQ+ issues while also adding visibility to her own queer life, particularly when she creates the most adorable videos with her wife.
About the Author
Natalie Geisel is in her third year at The George Washington University studying women’s, gender, and sexuality studies with a minor in communication. Her love of writing sprouted from starting her fashion blog in high school, and her current written work spans from topics such as style, LGBTQ+ content, and music. She is interested in intersecting gender and sexuality into the world of wellness, hoping to add a queer voice to its editorial side. When she’s not writing, she spends her spare time at dance rehearsal, attending local indie shows in the DC area, or finding the best cafes that serve oat milk. She’s passionate about inclusive sex education and sustainable fashion and thinks everyone should be, too.