In accepting an award earlier this
month, YouTuber Tyler Oakley said that lack of positive queer
representation in the media made him fear coming out gay.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, honored Oakley with its
Visibility Award at the 29th Annual HRC Twin Cities Dinner
held at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday, October 13.
The HRC Visibility Award “recognizes
the outstanding efforts of those who use their talent and visibility
to help better the lives of LGBTQ people.”
“Growing up I did not have Love
Simon or Pose to watch with my friends and fantasize about
cute guys,” Oakley
said in his acceptance speech. “I did not have Troye Sivan or
MNEK to listen to and have the ability to sing along to love songs
about boys by boys. I couldn't follow Neil Patrick Harris and David
Burtka on Instagram to see adorable dads dressing up their adorable
kids on every Halloween.”
“My lack of queer role models and
lack of queer positive representation in the media made me fear the
worst while I was being outed.”
“Positive representation and
visibility can help clear away the mysterious cloud that feels like a
looming thunderstorm,” he said.
Oakley added that the LGBT community is
“incredibly diverse” and that role models such as himself have to
use their visibility to “show young closeted queer kids that life
is worth sticking around for.”
Oakley, 29, posted his first video in
2007, while attending Michigan State University. His channel has
more than 7.6 million subscribers. He routinely posts material on
topics such as LGBT rights, queer politics and LGBT youth.