Recently I’ve noticed a frustrating trend. I’ve worked diligently to ensure that I am posting daily blogs, and 3x weekly vlogs as well as bi-weekly podcasts and essays. I’m making it a point to utilize Twitter more and working to use Facebook more, and ultimately continuing work to grow my brand to its greatest potential. But this has come at a cost, in terms of my literary output. I spend so much of my time working on avenues to get my name out there and get my brand out there that I’m not actually doing the one thing that I desperately need to do to make all of this even worth the effort.
Mostly I am writing every day in the form of blog posts, or essays or ideas for things, but the novel writing, the part that is why I’m doing any of this has slowed considerably, and it makes me wonder, is platform building worth it, if it comes at the cost of me actually writing?
I feel like I’ve had this existential crisis before, but I still haven’t figured out the answer. I want to believe that I can have both in tandem with one another, building a platform while also continuing to write novels, but the evidence thus far is showing that less and less. The more I do one, the less I seem to do the other. Finding that balance has become increasingly tricky and I can’t help but wonder if something will fall by the wayside in the process.
I always thought I wasn’t the greatest at using hashtags to get anything accomplished, mostly because in spite of my near constant use of tags in just but everything I could manage, it never quite seemed to work out for me as it did for everyone else I could see using them. Perhaps it was that I was just slightly unnerved by ‘shameless self promotion’ that I viewed it as this thing I really didn’t want to be a part of. Except that I had to, and it works. The first time I learned how well it worked, was when I decided to self publish my first novel and came upon a website that was something like authors helping authors. You like as many as you can, you follow for follow, post a little note that that’s why you’re liking and following and you’d get someone following you back. Only it’s a frustrating way to grow your page to my mind and I ended up following pages that in the long run I didn’t actually want to see their content.
It was unlike Twitter where I felt my feed had grown so naturally (though I’ve been stuck between 199-201 followers for years now). I also learned that power when I first starting blogging daily and grew my blog a few years ago, up to 400+ followers from liking and commenting on other bloggers posts, in addition to creating my own daily.
Now that I’m vlogging, and doing a podcast, I’m starting to learn to use social media and tags to my advantage across platforms. I’ve been using Instagram to share a note about my latest vlogs with #vlog #YouTube #trans. These are all accurate to me one supposes, and it’s a way to spread myself further. One of the biggest things I’ve had to learn is to get off my high horse when it comes to self-promotion. It’s something everyone has to do and honestly it produces results. I’m not spamming people with FOLLOW ME, FOLLOW ME, FOLLOW ME, but it’s my social media which is there to help my brand, so I have to share myself in order to get more people interested in me.
I was pretty sure that at some point I had already done a post similar to this in which I discuss some of my favorite trans YouTubers, I may not have ended up posting it for one reason or another or it could be on the archive’s site, regardless I wanted to take some time to share some of my favorite trans/LGBTQIA YouTubers. Part of the reason I don’t want to limit it just to the trans community is because I’m actually not following that many trans specific YouTube channels. In order to be fair about this list I’m going to go in alphabetical order: Disclaimer: Some of these YouTube personalities may be what you would call problematic. But really, who of us isn’t?
- Alaska Thunderf**k 5000— For those who don’t already know Alaska she was the (arguably runner up) for season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and going to be competing on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars this month starting 8/25. Alaska has put out a number of amazing songs since her time on Drag Race (honestly my music collection almost has more drag queens than anyone else at this point and that’s kind of awesome). One of my all time favorite songs from her is probably This is My Hair.
- Evah Destruction— Another fabulous drag queen who I am really rooting for to be on season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, because I have absolutely no doubt that she will slay everyone on that season. Her page is mainly her performances and they are truly, truly spectacular, she’s probably one of the more talented queens I’ve ever seen, who comes from Atlanta and has worked with Violet Chachki winner of season 7, so… here’s hoping that Evah will get on.
- Gigi Gorgeous— Gigi has been on YouTube for quite along time (and I think I honestly first discovered her through one of my other favorite YouTubers who will be on this list later), she is trans but her YouTube is largely centered around makeup and being someone who is a huge makeup lover, I really enjoy her channel.
- Hartbeat— I actually first discovered Hart through, either a Facebook or Tumblr post of one of her videos that went seriously viral in which she wears a watermelon bikini. Seriously, if you have not seen that, you should check it out, because that’s fabulous on a level that I could not even hope to achieve. Hart mostly does vlogs and sketches.
- HeyQween— It’s Johnny McGovern the gay pimp and Lady Red Couture one of frankly the best duos on the interwebs as they interview some of your favorite drag and LGBTQ idols including Ms. RuPaul herself, and several previous winners of RuPaul’s Drag Race, as well as LGBTQIA legends like Bruce Vilanch, James St. James and Glamorous Monique.
- Johnnyboyxo— One of the first trans YouTubers I ever watched, actually probably the first YouTuber I ever watched, Johnnyboyxo is a musician who also creates fabulous vlogs, unfortunately she’s kind of not been updating a whole lot, I think her last update was close to two years ago, she is still somewhat active on other social media sites, but I don’t really see much of her anymore which is kind of unfortunate to be honest.
- Kat Blaque— Kat is probably one of my favorite YouTubers that I’ve found so far who is pretty much exclusively vlogs, she’s worked with sites like BuzzFeed and Pride.com (although spoiler alert, the BuzzFeed thing was apparently not as great as we might think). I always feel like I learn something from her videos, because Kat isn’t just a trans woman, she’s a trans woman of color and that intersectionality is often missing from our mainstream view of what being transgender is. Because of these things and because Kat is not afraid to speak her mind, I feel like she more than a lot of others on this list and certainly a lot of other LGBTQIA YouTubers is one that people sort of either love or hate. It’s very hard to just be on the fence about her. And I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing either. I absolutely adore her, and I think I follow her on about every social media platform I’m currently on.
- MilesJai— Like Gigi, MilesJai is one of those YouTuber’s that you kind of just know. There’s a few of them out there (also Todrick Hall who’s also on this list, they’re just YouTube stars that literally everyone just knows without knowing how or why and that’s again not really a bad thing either). Miles does both sketches and vlogs like Hartbeat and he also does makeup tutorials and things like that making him an all around fav for me.
- Miss Coco Peru— If you haven’t heard of Coco Peru yet, where have you been all your life? Coco Peru is arguably right along with RuPaul, Lady Bunny, Hedda Lettuce, Sherry Vine, one of the biggest drag names and really they’ve been in the business for quite a long time. (If we’re counting queens who’ve been in the industry for almost twenty years or more, you can also add Bianca Del Rio into that mix). Coco Peru starred in a small film you might have heard of called Trick co-starring a little actress you also may have heard of named Tori Spelling. If you haven’t seen this gay classic then frankly go out and rent it now. She was also in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. As well as one of my favorites Girls Will be Girls and soon Girls Will be Girls 2. She’s also got a hilarious YouTube channel in which she has one of her most famous videos, Coco plays Grand Theft Auto IV. The title speaks for itself.
- MistyEyez— Misty Eyez is probably most notable as far as YouTube is concerned for her Q&A videos. A lot of people send her questions, sometimes very deep and emotional questions, and she answers them, very beautifully and I really enjoy her. She is another queen who I would like to see on Drag Race and has applied though she’s yet to get on, and she’s sort of stopped submitting after about season 6/7.
- PrincessJoules— Trans beauty vlogger who mostly talks about her favorite makeups and things like that, and generally I really love everything she has to say, I will say one of her recent videos regarding the whole Jeffree Star controversy (which it seems like literally every YouTuber has been jumping onto) kind of confused me. I get not supporting him for a lot of the reasons people have offered up as of late, but her reasoning seemed to be centered around a perceived snub because he didn’t say thank you for her using his makeup to create an admittedly sickening (that’s a good thing btw) look. It felt to me sort of, an odd reason to decide to stop supporting someone you previously loved, it feels a little self important, and I’m a big fan of Julie’s to be sure, frankly she doesn’t owe any one an explanation for why she no longer supports him or his brand, that isn’t a requirement, but I feel like if you’re going to go on YouTube and discuss the fact that you do not support him or his brand, making it all about you and ignoring the major issues that people seem to be talking about is an odd choice. But hey who am I to judge.
- Todrick Hall— A huge YouTube star that does mostly music and occasional sketches, if you haven’t already seen Straight Outta Oz I highly highly recommend it, it is a visual album in the vein of Beyonce’s Lemonade, but with a Wizard of Oz theme which I can always get behind. As someone who grew up absolutely in love with the Wizard of Oz, any tribute to it, is always something I want to see.
- TS Madison— A trans YouTuber who mostly does vlog videos, TS Madison is probably one of the more well known trans YouTubers and singer, she’s got a book out now about her life and she is definitely not someone to mess with. Brutally honest and will read a bitch down if you piss her off.
- Willam Belli— Willam is arguably one of the most famous stars to come out of RuPaul’s Drag Race, after being the first and only queen to be kicked off the show for ‘breaking the rules’; from stunts on Sex and the City and NipTuck, to music and her popular Willam’s Beatdown series, in which she reads YouTube videos, Willam is one of the more hilarious drag race girls and YouTube stars, and so humble.
- WOW Presents— World of Wonder the company who produces RuPaul’s Drag Race and has produced a number of LGBTQIA themed shows has a fabulous YouTube channel that has too many shows to really even be able to mention all of my favorites: Trixie Mattel and Katya’s UnHhhh, Raja and Raven’s Fashion Photo Review, Transformations with James St. James, just to name a few shows that I particularly loved.
I left out a few YouTubers that I happen to really like but that I really haven’t watched in a while, and there’s even a new one Kimberly Clark who I just started following this week for her anti-haul videos. Who are your favorite LGBTQIA YouTubers?