To mark the 2015 Queerties Awards, we’ve compiled lists of outstanding LGBTQ folks and allies (and, yes, some of our foes) in a variety of categories. At the end of each list, we ask you, the reader, to cast your vote for who should come out on top.
Kicking off this year’s program is the category YouTube Standouts. Social media is saturated with personalities vying for attention, but these ten queer YouTubers are the cream of the crop. From comedy to politics, each brings to the table positive visibility for the LGBTQ community.
Be sure to vote for your favorite, below the fold…
Call it conscious awkwardness or cringe-worthy activism, but whatever Riyadh K considers his brand to be, it’s always an entertaining ride. He’s enlisted his mother to read his Grindr messages, confronted Westboro Baptist’s Shirley Phelps head-on and dialed up his childhood bully all for the sake of building his channel. But where some YouTubers only seem to be seeking views, Riyadh always has a positive message mixed in with the laughs.
Strong (not to mention hilarious) role models aren’t exactly a dime a dozen for young lesbians, and Arielle Scarcella has built an impressive fan base by staying honest and always being willing to laugh at herself. But it’s Arielle’s cast of friends that make her videos stand out, giving young queer visibility a good name.
Brian Jordan Alvarez
We’re not sure from which comedy alternate universe Brian Jordan Alvarez seems to have recently transported, but we do know we’re happy to have him. He’s produced a string of fantastic videos this year. Some have ventured into the realm of the obscure (like this exaggerated take on gay rejection), but they always strike a real chord. Those gay age gap videos? Brilliant.
Raymond isn’t just another pretty YouTube face (though let’s be honest — he is that also). He’s produced some noteworthy videos, from documenting marriage equality in Ireland, to interviewing trans activist Jazz Jennings about what kids can do if they think they might be trans, to profiling Jim Obergefell, the man behind the Supreme Court same-sex marriage case.
While Oakley has been producing YouTube videos since 2007, he’s still only 26 years old and continues to be an excellent role model. In between the irreverent pop culture and silliness, Tyler has tackled issues like suicide prevention and healthcare. With over 7 million subscribers, that’s quite the platform for positivity.
With his gaming channel and daily vlog, Joey Graceffa has over six million subscribers on YouTube. Since coming out (on YouTube, naturally), he’s started to skew his videos from implicitly gay to, well, explicitly. And while the contrast may seem superficial, to questioning youth seeking role models online, it makes all the difference.
Sometimes, it’s enough just to be comically gifted and seriously talented. What Cole lacks in “message,” he more than makes up for by continuing to crack us up. To pieces. If you’re one of those people who always says “oh, my sense of humor is dark” like a badge of honor, you’ll either adore Cole, or quickly realize your humor isn’t actually that dark after all. Never before have we laughed so hard at things like murder and addiction. But in reality Cole really does offer the world something invaluable — if we can’t laugh, what’s the point? — and we hope he never stops.
Hart is the full package. Her videos range from serious to silly, but what always comes through is the feeling that she cares. From tackling real issues like transgender workplace discrimination to demonstrating how she chills, Hart is someone you’ll wish was actually in your living room with you instead of on the screen. What we mean to say is, Hart has Heart.
He’s come a long way since 2011’s Sexy Nerd, but Jonny McGovern is still keeping us wildly entertained on his channel as only the Gay Pimp could. From his shade-fest of a show Hey Qween to standup clips and music videos, he’s one YouTuber that refuses to be put in a box. Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.
If you’ve ever had a hankering to dip your toes in the world of drag, Skarlet is your girl. She’s got tutorials for her tutorials, but it never feels like a drag watching this queen explain the dos and don’ts of wigs, makeup, padding — you name it. Anyone helping out young queens-in-the-making look their best is OK in our book, and Skarlet’s attention to detail earns her a rightful spot on our list.
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