With nearly 8 million followers on YouTube, and close to 7 million in Twitter and Instagram, Tyler Oakley has become a pioneer of the new wave of social media celebrities, with a global reach that in many cases outshines even the biggest names in film and TV. From humble beginnings in Tyler’s bedroom, speaking to a webcam and a handful of followers, he has created an entire brand for himself as he rides the wave of YouTube’s popularity. Far from complacent, Tyler has been openly gay from day one, and now uses his platform to raise awareness on LGBTQ issues. He’s appeared on Ellen, met Barack and Michelle Obama, raised thousands of dollars for the Trevor Project - all while speaking directly to his millions of followers in a personal, accessible way. Here, Tyler speaks on his latest project: Chosen Family, and why queer people need to become aware of their privilege.
“While we are so wrapped up in what we're trying to fight for in our local communities, we have to remember that our chosen family is truly global, and while we might be fighting for same-sex marriage in one part of the world, a lot of queer people are fighting just to exist in another part of the world. I just try to be mindful that the queer experience is not something that is uniform, and my privileges should not absolve me of working towards equality for people who don't have the same privileges.”