With his gaming channel and daily vlog, Joey Graceffa has over six million subscribers on YouTube. He recently released a song and music video titled “Don’t Wait,” which depicts his character falling in love with another man. The video generated quite a response, including a parody reaction from popular YouTuber Miranda Sings. Two days after its release, Joey officially came out as gay.
Joey recently sat down with GLAAD’s Claire Pires to discuss his coming out and the response both the music video and his personal video received, as well as his memoir In Real Life: My Journey to a Pixelated World. The book chronicles Graceffa’s difficult relationship with his mother, dating experiences and the heartbreak that went along with them, and is a detailed account of his road to self-acceptance.
When asked about the goal for his music video, Graceffa explained, “I needed something to encompass my book in a video format … so I thought it would be really cool to incorporate three main things in the music video — bullying, dealing with alcoholism, and coming to terms with your sexuality and accepting yourself.”
Joey described the writing process for In Real Life as therapeutic. “Talking about my history with my mom and her alcoholism was definitely really tough reliving those moments because there was a lot of stuff that I kind of like pushed aside and didn’t process,” he explained. “I guess I just have this thing of just like pushing things aside in the back of my mind and writing this, I had to go back through it all and re-read it, and re-read it, and re-read it, and I’ve finally like processed it.”
The YouTuber-turned-author hopes that people find his story relatable. “I remember growing up and feeling like my story was so different from everyone else’s because there wasn’t really anyone openly talking about what was going on in their life. Like, celebrities or people. I mean, there wasn’t really a YouTube at the time to hear people talk about their stories, so, yeah, I guess I just want people to not feel so alone.”
Graceffa also voiced his support for GLAAD’s #GotYourBack campaign, which empowers LGBT people and their allies to speak out in support of acceptance. Watch the full video interview below.