The Internet has undoubtedly changed our world profoundly, and in countless ways—but one important umbrella is that it has become a powerful tool and outlet for trans visibility and community, both on and offline. Some trans folks who haven’t yet come out to friends and family--or even themselves--may find solace on the Internet by looking to trans bloggers and YouTubers for advice or emotional solidarity; others who have come out may be seeking practical tools or advice related to medical procedures and hormone replacement therapy, or simply looking for makeup and fashion tips.
YouTube in particular is one of the best outlets for trans folks to find free resources—ranging from videos containing practical tips to confessional documentaries and beyond. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite resources here, and plan to share compliations of videos like these on a regular basis. We hope you’ll also share your favorites with us!
1. “How To Know If You’re Trans” by Grishno
Erin Armstrong AKA “Grishno” is known as one of the unofficial “founders” of the now seemingly limitless community of transgender vloggers on YouTube. Most notably perhaps, she put herself on the YouTube map by making an autobiographical and confessional documentary entitled “My Transgender Life,” in which she shares her difficult process of coming to terms with her transgender identity, along with those of her friends and family.
Now, Grishno’s channel includes everything from newsworthy opinions to how-to videos. We particularly love this one (embedded above) in which Grishno answers one of her viewer’s questions—how to know if you’re transgender—and sheds more light on the nuances of trans identity and the process of coming out.
2. “Reacting to Old Photos” by Benton Sorensen
Benton Sorensen has an inspiring sense of humor when it comes to talking about his identity as a trans guy. While we know that gender and identity in general are topics to be taken very seriously about oneself and about others, we also respect Benton’s choice to lighten the mood on his YouTube channel from time to time.
In this video, Benton shares his thoughts, feelings and reflections about photos from his past, showing viewers that transitioning is not about erasure of one’s “old” identity, but a complicated process in which humor, self-reflection and openness can become powerful healing forces.
3. “Don’t Read the Comments” by Kat Blaque
Sure, Kat Blaque’s channel has the typical YouTube DIY-feel, but her illustration skills add both accessibility and authority to her videos, which cover everything from race to gender, grappling with transphobia to intersectional feminism...and beyond. In this video, Kat explores the complex nature of communicating about tough, often personal issues on the Internet—as the openness of most communication outlets offer opportunities for solidarity and potential harassment all at the same time. In this video on the dangers of reading the comments, Kat cleverly offers a very meta take on what it feels like to be a YouTube personality—and offers tips for how we can learn to filter through all the BS that we often encounter online when “putting ourselves out there.”
4. “Explaining Genderqueer—Part I” by Kegan Jones
Kegan Jones’ video on what being genderqueer means to them is informational— also personal. Shot in Kegan’s bedroom, they explain the meaning of genderqueer using “I statements”—tethering beliefs about gender identity to personal experience and acknowledging the confusions that may arise around the topic of non-binary identity for many folks. While there are many valid and helpful ways to interpret the meaning(s) of genderqueer—an idea that Kegan makes sure to acknowledge—the highly intimate look and feel of Kegan’s channel help underscore just how intimate these topics are.
5. “Seasonal Affective Disorder | Symptoms & How To Deal with Them” by Autumn Asphodel
Autumn Asphodel’s YouTube channel is dedicated to informing and educating her viewers, in addition to offering them a source of comfort, solidarity and community. Autumn’s videos cover everything from mental health to LGBT-specific issues, fashion to philosophy, spirituality and beyond.
We were especially impressed by this thoughtful video that highlights signs of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and also offers concrete, actionable tips on how to deal with it. Autumn puts a unique spin on mental health coverage and education, as she very much foregrounds her identity as a trans woman while also touching on universal facets of the human condition.
6. “The Waiting Game” by Reverend Lawrence T. Richardson
Reverend Lawrence Richardson is a fascinating, inspiring and empowering personality within the trans community, and the world at large. He is an ordained minister and a member of the United Church of Christ. After spending many years of his life trying to grapple with his devotion to God, and the fact that he long felt rejected by church communities, he came out as transgender in 2010, and underwent a medical transition from female to male.
He is now both a trans advocate and a spiritual leader, and brings together both of these interests on his YouTube channel. In this video, Reverend Lawrence shares an insightful mini-sermon on the virtue of patience—which is applicable to so many aspects of life, whether related to transitioning, career development, creativity, relationships...the list goes on.
7. “Insurance Issues” by Gabriel Coppersan
Gabriel Coppersan’s weekly vlog updates on his YouTube issues cover both the personal and political issues related to identifying as trans—including nitty gritty updates about his journey taking T, to reflecting on the North Carolina Bathroom bill.
Above all, we appreciate that Gabriel keeps it real on his channel, and recognizes that there are times to share inspiring messages with followers, as well as times to honor uncomfortable emotions—and show the world that those are OK, too. This video in particular touches on the insurance challenges many trans folks face when pursuing a medical transition. These are issues we need to talk about, and Gabriel recognizes that merely airing out personal concerns can be acts of powerful activism.
Let us know your favorite bloggers or vloggers, or submit roundups like these to firstname.lastname@example.org.