February is LGBT month and who better to write an article on than YouTube star and LGBT activist Tyler Oakley.
Anyone who has ever been on YouTube probably knows about Tyler Oakley. Tyler Oakley is a worldwide famous YouTube video blogger, who has been on YouTube since 2007, and has progressed throughout the years. The content on his channel can vary from challenges with his friends, looking back on old videos or talking about current events in society. Tyler has even won lots of awards for his videos, one including a Teen Choice Award for Choice Web Star, and continues to be nominated for multiple others. If you want to check out his channel and videos, click here!
If you didn’t know, Tyler is gay. He came out to his mum when he was 13 and the conversation went a little like this; his mum randomly asks “Are you gay?”, and Tyler replies “Yes.” And then she says, “Oh, I thought so, cool.” Fortunately, Tyler’s mum was, and still is, very supportive of Tyler, however ,for his father it was a longer, rough process because he was conservative and religious. Nonetheless, after many years they are in a good place and he is more accepting of his son’s sexuality. Due to Tyler’s sexuality, he is able to share his experiences in the hope that it will help other people in the same situation that are maybe not as lucky to have such accepting parents.
Tyler has chosen to use his experiences of being homosexual to help others who are, or have been, through the same thing. Oakley supports The Trevor Project, an organization for the prevention of suicide among LGBT youth. Since 2011, he has co-hosted TrevorLIVE, the charity's annual red carpet event. Starting in 2013, Tyler has done birthday fundraisers in which his supporters donate money to The Trevor Project; in March 2014, the goal was $150,000. However, this goal proved to be a large underestimate of the power of his community of followers, that Tyler affectionately refers to as "my people" or "Team Internet". The $150,000 goal was surpassed on the 6th March and by the campaign close, at the end of the month, he had raised $525,704.
For his fundraising campaigns, Oakley won the Trevor Youth Innovator Award for 2014 for being the largest single donor to the charity and increasing awareness and social-media visibility. Currently, his total amount raised exceeds $1 million. Tyler frequently is coming up with ways to involve his supporters so he can give something back to them after they have graciously donated. During his campaigns, Tyler often hosts internet live streams that frequently involve special guests. The live streams also involve random calling of viewers on Skype or telephone as well as "one minute donations" where viewers all donate at the same time.
So, what can you do to support Tyler and The Trevor Project? Well, March is right around the corner which means that Tyler will be doing another annual birthday fundraiser, which you can participate, in by donating however much money you want to for this great cause. All you have to do is create an account on www.Prizeo.com and when you donate, you will be entered into that year's competition. Last year's prize was a trip to California to attend VidCon with Tyler himself, so hopefully this year will be similar. The larger amount you donate the more entries you get. Other ways to support include spreading the message with your friends and even tweeting about this article!