Just because it isn’t LGBTQ+ History Month doesn’t mean we have to stop talking about gender and sexuality!
Following on from our showcase of UK trans YouTubers, and our previous Five of the Best: Dealing with Sexuality/Gender, we decided to widen the net a little and bring you more of our favourite videos talking all things gender and sexuality.
Talking about these issues can be difficult, especially when heteronormativity still dominates so many social expectations and experiences. The more conversations we can have about gender and sexuality, the more expectations about them can start to be broken down. So here they are, Five of the Best: Videos About Gender and Sexuality!
I Was Fired For Being Gay – Calum McSwiggan
Calum McSwiggan is consistently doing amazing work to raise awareness for LGBTQ+ issues, and while we may have made great strides in terms of equality we still have a long way to go. Detailing his experience working with several homophobic coworkers, Calum describes one of the first and most poignant times he was discriminated against because of his sexuality.
He explains what it felt like to work in an environment where his safety or comfort would only be supported if he fitted certain social expectations of masculinity. By sharing the discrimination he experienced as a teenager, Calum not only highlights the pressure to conform to social pressures still facing gay individuals in the workplace, but also how traumatic persecution for one’s sexuality can be.
Importantly, this video is honest about the difficulties young people may face as they learn to embrace their sexuality in a culture that is still learning how to accept them.
Blue Sushi – Bertie Gilbert & Sammy Paul
You’ve probably heard of what Time magazine called the “Transgender Tipping Point” happening in mainstream culture right now, but sadly, the fact remains that many of those now clamouring to tell trans stories aren’t exactly doing a great job of it (*cough* The D*nish G*rl *cough*). Trans narratives are too often written, acted, and directed entirely by cisgender people projecting their own misguided, and often harmful, narratives onto trans people, paying only cursory lip service to the communities they’ve decided to represent. Enter Blue Sushi: the shining example of how to go about things when you yourself are cis.
From the inception of the idea, Bertie Gilbert and Sammy Paul sought to educate themselves and involve the trans community, spending four months interviewing a range of trans people before setting to work on the script. But they didn’t just stop there, and tried to include trans people throughout the creative process, recruiting trans writers, trans editors, and yes, casting a trans actor in the shape of Poppy Harrold for the lead role (whose excellent video genderology you should definitely check out too!). And boy oh boy is this approach vindicated by the finished product: its authenticity and quality just shine through. So Bertie and Sammy, props to you. And to fellow creative types out there, take note!
Bad Asexual Representation – AmeliaAce
Of course it isn’t just trans representation that is important; having authentic and diverse representation is a battle for a whole host of communities. People’s attitudes towards certain groups can be heavily influenced by the media they consume, especially if they receive little information from other sources. Furthermore, it is also often disheartening to those belonging to minority communities to see so few people like themselves in mainstream media, and when they do, these characters to rely heavily on stereotypes and tropes with very little variation in narrative. In this video, Amelia from AmeliaAce goes through some of the common pitfalls asexual representation can fall into.
Not content to merely read off a list, Amelia showcases a range of characters to express her points, something we’re always a fan of here at TenEighty. Hopefully each new generation furthering their knowledge through videos like this will demand better representation in their media, or go out and produce it themselves!
What is Heteronormativity? – Hannah Witton
Here we have Hannah Witton, jumping in with a super important video about heteronormativity. We’ve mentioned social expectations placed on gender and identity, but it’s difficult to understand why they can be so harmful unless we really understand heteronormativity.
Being aware of the way subjects, toys, language, and identity are gendered gives non-LGBTQ+ individuals a better foundation to be allies, and starting to analyse and break down the power dynamics at play in what may appear to be trivial everyday things helps us be more inclusive. Hannah emphasises that identity is an incredibly personal thing; it’s how we define ourselves in relation to other people and it can be harmful when other people attempt to control our choice of identification.
The prevalence of making assumptions about a person’s gender and sexuality based on their appearance means that LGBTQ+ individuals are still considered “out of the ordinary” by society’s standards. The more aware we become of our language’s effect on gender, sexuality, and identity, the further away we move from the harmful aspects of heteronormativity.
TRANSGENDER BROTHER Q&A – TheRealAlexBertie
What better way to round off this list than with a video from the fantastic Alex Bertie? Alex asks his younger sister Holly how she felt about his transition, showing that younger people can be incredibly open to these kind of concepts and the reality of trans people. Holly also gives her advice for families of other trans people, emphasising that the best response to an individual coming out is always respect and compassion.
Just like having a different sexuality, gender is a huge part of our identity. Holly does a wonderful job of explaining that a little bit of patience can go a long way in helping someone through their transition. Alex also gives a wonderfully simple explanation what it means to him to be trans.
And we have to agree with Holly on this one, Stitch is the best name ever.
- Meet the Trans Vloggers of the UK
- Five of the Best: Love-Inspired Videos
- Five of the Best: YouTube Siblings