As Queerty readers know, Phillips began vlogging under the pseudonym AreYouSuprised while Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was still in effect. After the ban was lifted, we got to see his worried face as he called up his dad to tell him he was gay—after first asking his father, “Will you still love me? Serious?”
Since that clip was posted in September, it’s been viewed more than five million times and Phillips has become one of the gay community’s best-known web celebrities—though according to Valinksy, he’s a little surprised by all the attention.
“I’m such a boring person. I couldn’t believe that that many people wanted to see something that hundreds and thousands of kids do every single year,” he said. “It was just a conversation on the phone.”But it obviously meant more to others. The seven minute video has more 57,000 likes and 84,000 comments. Many are supportive of him, but there also are some homophobic haters in the crowd, which doesn’t bother him.
“Everybody can feel bulletproof behind the safety of their own computer,” he said bluntly. “A lot of haters are going to click on it and they’re going to feel insecure,” he said. “It’s super easy to make really negative comments, and they did.”
Phillips said the video received between 5,000 to 10,000 hateful comments.
Homophobic flame wars aside, some critics thought it was unfair of Phillips to ambush his parents by posting their conversations without their knowledge.
“Maybe,” Phillips said. “I am not going to argue with that 100 percent. I don’t think either of my parents, if I were to ask them, ‘Hey, is it OK if I put this on the Internet?’, I don’t think they anybody would’ve said ‘yeah, go ahead.’”
“I explained to my parents about how much I owe that to the YouTube community and how many emails [he received]” that he forwarded to his parents including one who came out to his parents at 34-years-old thanks to Phillips’ video.
The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is still in effect and, as far as we can tell, the military hasn’t collapsed. So Phillips has felt freer to record less emotionally draining fare (We shared one of his workout tapes recently.)
“I am going to film whatever I want to from now on, I have absolutely no push to go in any direction whatsoever,” Phillips said confidently. Also, he wants to evolve past being known as the ‘gay soldier,’ and to show the world there is more to him than that.
“I want to show everyone out there in the YouTube world that I am a plain, boring, normal guy and that being gay is just a part of me,” Phillips asserted. “I am not trying to make a career out of it. I’ve said everything that I need to say as far as coming out.”
Showing off indeed. The boyish, but built, Phillips is often times shirtless. “I’m from Alabama, I’ve been shirtless more of my life than I’ve been clothed, so whatever,” he joked. But clearly the lack of attire doesn’t hurt when it comes to gaining an audience.
A down-to-earth, good-looking, media savvy soldier who likes to take his shirt off? Phillips might want to consider running for office.
Source: Daily Dot