In 2017, social media superstars are increasingly influencing public discourse on key issues. Tyler Oakley is a YouTube phenomenon and a prominent social justice advocate. He uses the video-sharing site to effectively push themes of equality and acceptance.To honor and celebrate Pride Month, Oakley has created an eight-part series celebrating the LGBTQ+ experience called Chosen Family: Stories of Queer Resilience.
In this VICE Impact exclusive to celebrate the month of awareness and action on LGBTQ issues, Oakley chats with British-born American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy about what's happened since he came out and the discoveries he's made about himself and the LGBTQ community.
Watch the video above -- the first in the series -- but also check out below what Oakley has to say about his own experience since coming out.
VICE Impact: What Pride means to you in 2017
Tyler Oakley: To me, Pride has always been about honoring our history while fighting for our future, but Pride in 2017 doesn't exist in a vacuum. We live in a time when queer refugees are told they're unwanted by our president, when trans youth are told by legislators that a need as basic as using the restroom should not come with comfort or safety, and when LGBTQ+ people are removed from the census as to suggest we don't exist. Pride in 2017 means resistance in solidarity, to fight all injustices based on our gender and sexual identities.
Why create this series?
I hope to have tough discussions, highlight disenfranchised stories within our community, and celebrate queer life in all forms. Representation in media can be life affirming and often lifesaving, and I hope to do my part to show LGBTQ+ people thriving, surviving, and being unapologetically themselves.
What was significant about Gus Kenworthy's story to include in the series?
Often, the first step to exploring the LGBTQ+ world is coming to terms with our own identities. While there's never just one path to coming out, Gus Kenworthy's story is one that I wanted to highlight and share with my audience -- a professional athlete in a hyper masculine world, exposing his deepest secret in the most public way.
It's full of honest advice and playful banter - I hope that young closeted LGBTQ+ people can find relief and witness how our gender and sexuality expression can often lead to finding the families that we get to choose.