by Craig Dillon
There is a dark shadow hanging over the British YouTube community.
On the site that has always been a place for openness and community a number of it’s biggest stars might not feel as comfortable about their sexuality and gender identity as their American cousins.
A simple comparison between the ten most popular British YouTubers and the ten most popular American YouTubers reveals a big difference. There are zero *openly* gay YouTubers on the British list, whereas the American list is almost completely compiled of LGBT YouTubers like Tyler Oakley, Connor Franta and Ingrid Nilsen.
It’s a well known fact among those in the inner circle of the YouTube community that there are a few on the list who identify as LGBT, and most are open about it, with their friends and family. So why do they not feel able to come out to their audiences in the same way the American YouTubers do?
What is the real reason behind these popular British YouTubers staying in the closet?
On paper, the UK is a much more open and accepting country than the U.S, we’ve had marriage equality since 2014 and legal same-sex activity since 1967. So what is the real reason behind these popular British YouTubers staying in the closet?
Many are happy to ‘clickbait’ the topic of coming out for views, such as Joe Sugg’s My Big Announcement video where he used pictures of him kissing his roommate and fellow YouTuber Caspar Lee in the thumbnail. Or the video featuring the Harries Twins called Twin Twinks learn Gay Slang, so if the topic of coming out is a guaranteed way to boost your profile, why are so few actually coming out?
One possibility is the Tom Daley theory. More interest is generated from playing the “is he isn’t he game.” Before Tom Daley came out, thousands of men and women would check his instagram daily, looking for any clues to reveal his true sexuality. Once Tom opened up and came out as bisexual, there was no more sport in it, we all knew the answer. No one other than major fans had a reason to stalk his instagram anymore. He joined the ranks of the insanely attractive famous gay men that none of us have any chance of dating.
So is this the real reason British YouTubers won’t come out? Or is it more about their “fangirls”? Most of the top YouTubers have around a 90% female audience, and the assumption is that being gay will upset a large amount of young female viewers who dream about these boys every night.
Are these valid reasons to stay in the closet? By implying they’re straight and keeping up the illusion, are the YouTubers so many people look up to refusing to be role models for young British LGBT teens looking for guidance?