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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > July 2018 > TYLER OAKLEY


The pioneering YouTuber on how he plans to use his platform and privilege to educate on LGBTQ issues across the world.

Photography and Fashion David Vassalli

For many queer millennials, Tyler Oakley will have been the first openly gay person they ever knew, regardless of the computer screen that stood between them. His videos, which see him tackle issues facing the LGBTQ community with the help of A-listers like Janet Mock and Gus Kenworthy, have provided representation for the community that would’ve been unimaginable for previous generations.

But when he uploaded his very first video to YouTube over a decade ago, Tyler had no idea just how much of an impact his voice would have on the world. In fact, to begin with, he didn’t even want the world to tune in.

“When I first started making videos, it was just a way to keep in touch with friends from high school. It was just me talking to my three friends and telling them stories”, he explains. “But as time went on I realised there were a lot more people than just my three friends watching. It kind of blew my mind that I had this opportunity to speak to people who I didn’t even know.”

Aside from being one of the original pioneers of the lifestyle, Tyler also made waves for being the first openly gay YouTube star to really hit the big time. Unlike many of today’s stars, Tyler didn’t even need to make a coming out video – his sexuality was just another part of his persona, which provided the ‘everyday gay’ representation that a lot of young queer people needed at the time.

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About Gay Times

Nyle DiMarco is an outspoken activist, actor and model who lives at the intersection of his sexual fluidity and deafness. In our cover shoot with Nyle, artist Cacho Falcon has painted ‘I love you’ in American Sign Language across his body in what we hope to be a strong message of support to the queer deaf community. 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. Here, Tyler speaks on his latest project: Chosen Family, and why queer people need to become aware of their privilege. We’re also partnering with UKBP to raise awareness about the incredible work they do, and the importance of events and organisations such as theirs. We’re constantly learning how to be better allies to everyone across the far reaches of the colourful spectrum that is the queer community, and UKBP as a collective continue to educate and inform us how best to step up to the plate as a truly representative and inclusive company. Lady Phyll and the entire team at UK Black Pride are demonstrating the power of loud, unapologetic unity in the face of hatred and bigotry - often unfortunately from sectors of the LGBTQ initialism. Elsewhere in the issue: Sadiq Khan pens a letter to the LGBTQ people of London; Manevendra Singh Gohil, the first gay Prince of India, on using his platform to raise awareness on LGBTQ issues; Yves on standing shoulder to shoulder with our trans siblings; an exclusive look at the new exhibition Queer Friends; Aaron Altaras on his new role as a footballer coming to grips with his sexuality; Simon Gage reflects upon meeting Alexander McQueen ahead of the release of the upcoming documentary on the fashion icon; plus products, style, fashion, tech, travel, opinion and much more.