Lifting spirits on Spirit Day
Oct 20, 2022 – minute read
To honor this year's Spirit Day, which champions support for LGBTQ+ youth, we celebrate five creators who are changing lives.
YouTube: You recently shared the story of coming across a video of a young boy who joyfully received a sewing machine as a gift, and then you sent him your own gift of custom fabrics and nail polish. When you were growing up, did you have any pivotal role models who supported your journey? And what one thing can YouTube creators do now to empower younger generations to feel comfortable about discovering and sharing who they are?
Gunnar Deatherage: Growing up, I was thankful enough to be surrounded with a family than not only saw me for who I am, but supported my decisions to find out who I wanted to be. In the South, that is not always the case for kids who choose to go against the grain. I was the generation just before the Internet really boomed and I cannot imagine how big of a difference it would have made if I had the role models that are out there today. I certainly don’t take having a platform for granted, and try to be aware that I have a younger audience that look up to me.
I think in a lot of ways I try to be the role model on YouTube that I would have wanted as a creative flamboyant kid growing up in the south. What I love about YouTube is the community. As a creator on the platform, I think incorporating your audience into your work is a really fun way to bring that community together.
YouTube: You reach so many diverse viewers, from members of the LGBTQ+ community to parents of all types. Tell us about the moment when you realized that your seemingly "niche content" was actually touching the lives of people from many backgrounds?
Team2Moms: The moment we started to realize that sharing our journey of parenthood was actually touching the lives of many people, was when we started to get tons of comments, emails and DMs thanking us. People started to share very intimate, trusting details about their lives and how seeing our family gave them hope. We particularly remember one viewer sharing that they showed their parents our channel and because of that, their parents realized the possibilities of still becoming grandparents. It is in these moments, where we take a step back, and truly absorb how important representation is.
YouTube: You work in many different media, from making short-form and long-form content on YouTube to producing original live shows to creating photographic and other physical art. These different approaches uniquely capture your multi-faceted life experience, but how important do you think it is for LGBTQ+ creators to work across various formats to foster greater understanding and tolerance?
DD Fuego: As a drag queen, my main job is performing in NYC for in-person audiences. That positive, fun, loving energy we create during the shows, as I encourage my audiences, should be taken with them everywhere they go. But what about my family, friends, and now supporters who live all over the world who don't usually have access to this? Because I want to spread this love far and wide, I also produce digital content and create physical items that people can experience wherever they may be: videos, books, candles, songs — it's all interconnected!
I love that I can use my creativity and varied set of skills in any medium, each telling a different part of my story, and each able to connect with people in different ways. I know I needed the message of acceptance growing up, so I hope to share the DD Fuego experience widely, and it brings that special joy to as many people as I can.
YouTube: As a creator that is inspiring millions of people around the world with their work, what would be the three most important factors you'd recommend to younger creators who are finding in YouTube a way to express who they are and their passions?
Eureka O'Hara: Hey kids! It’s Eureka O’Hara here. I’m coming to you live from Vietnam where my non-profit organization and I have been giving back to orphans this past week. We’ve been taking supplies, things like that. And there’s some things that I’ve learned about being a creator on YouTube: there are three most important things I would focus on: One is always be your authentic self. People can tell when your authenticity is not real. There’s only one you … listen to me when I say that. You can’t be anyone else, because there’s only one them.
Number two, have fun with it. Make sure you’re always having a good time with everything you do, especially when you’re creating content on YouTube or anywhere else when you’re putting yourself out there in the world.
And number three, when you’re putting yourself out there, always be willing to give back to the communities around you. Understand that we’re all human, that we all belong, that we’re all equal, and we all just want to be loved and we all want to find a place in this world. Just like you’re finding a place by creating the content that you are in this world. I love you so much and I wish you the best of luck and just stay strong out there my pachyderms. Honey, 'cause this elephant queen is ready to create a herd of loving people that are ready to give back, ready to be their authentic selves and ready to have fun while we’re doing it!
YouTube: You've managed to assemble a huge audience on YouTube, sharing who you are and being “unapologetic and unafraid of being your most authentic self." That success led you to create and develop your own beauty brand. What has been the most valuable thing you have learned during this process, not only as a creator but also a successful entrepreneur, that could help others out there?
Nikita Dragun: The most valuable lesson I’ve learned during this process of sharing myself on YouTube is the power of authenticity and just being myself. While I love everything about glam life, I’ve learned that the most beautiful thing about a person is when they own themselves exactly as they are and make no apologies for it. That is pure magic, and it really is a big key to success as a creator and an entrepreneur.