Hey, look! It’s going to be one of those posts where things are good for once!
Okay, so to start: Tyler Oakley. We all know who this is, right? Gay icon, Youtuber, book author, LGBTQIA+ activist, cutie pie extraordinaire?
Here’s a sample, for those not in the know:
He is the literal cutest, please check him out.
So Tyler. He’s been on tour, the Slumber Party tour, where he just hangs out with fans like a giant slumber party (onesies are a must). He’s been on a book tour for his New York Time’s best seller, Binge. He’s hosted red carpet events, walked red carpet events, and, I guess, he sometimes speaks at colleges.
Yes, today, March 17th, the year of our Lord 2016, Tyler Oakley spoke at Penn State.
I found out about his literally five days ago. Five days! That is very little prep time for me to mentally ready myself for meeting my queen.
And I wasn’t even meeting him, I was just gonna sit in a room and listen to him talk!
It was still a lot.
Now, I’ve been following Tyler for years. I wish I could remember the first video I ever watched him in but I can’t, y’all, there’s too much. I do remember his move to San Francisco happening in real time. And his reaction to the Darren photos in 2012 is something that I literally clung to (because I myself wasn’t allowed on tumblr at the time so I was living vicariously through Tyler. Not important), so I’ll put myself at late 2011? Late 2011. That’s four and a half years, y’all, that’s longer than I’ve known my own cat.
Our relationship is special.
Anyway, Tyler. The event.
Penn State has these speeches things all the time and I’ve been to a couple. The one was about trans athletes which was cool but I couldn’t relate to because I am neither trans nor athletic. There was another that was Laverne Cox which was amazing but also intimidating because we have literal goddess Laverne Cox speaking to us in this very refined way and I was in the overflow room because I got out of class late and she’s telling us this perfectly crafted story with amazing and poignant poignant point and it was like a capital ‘T’ Thing.
So I was expecting something similar with Tyler. Very articulate, very mature.
I am not sure why I expected that, to be honest, but either way.
I liked Tyler’s way better.
Now there are people out there, when I say “Tyler Oakley”, that get real huffy. Yeah, there are the ones that roll their eyes or the ones that kind of smile indulgently, call him ‘silly’ or ‘too much’ or whatever, but I’m talking about the huffy bunch. There are people that don’t think Tyler should be as popular as he is, that there shouldn’t be a cute white boy being the major face of the LGBTQA+ community. They try and tear him down, try and make him seem like a bad person because he’s popular and not the intersectional pinnacle of every objectified people on earth. Because he’s white and male and gay and visible, people wanna pull receipts.
I haven’t seen Tyler hate in a while but there was a time where it was really bad, y’all. Like I am amazed at how well Tyler came out the other side of that mess, it was horrendous.
And, I mean, the hate was coming from a place of dejection, and I get that. We’ve got a major face for the gay community that doesn’t reflect a lot of the intersectional struggles a lot of everyone is dealing with. But, y’all, this little nugget is not the enemy. He speaks up all the time about the different communities, different struggles. He wrote a haiku on Valentine’s day about aromantic and asexual people! He’s just a precious honey bear.
Tyler’s ‘lecture’ was barely that. He sat on stage with his best friend Korey Kuhl and literally just gossiped with us for an hour and a half. It was like a slumber party! He talked to the audience and encouraged the audience to talk back, and not in an audience participation way, but just casually. The first thing he did was ask if there was anyone in the audience who didn’t know who he was and someone raised her hand and he asked her her name, her major, how she was doing. He was like “This is our first date! How cute!” Not putting her on the spot or anything but really like “Oh, a new friend! I love new friends!” He’s like a puppy, it’s adorable.
It was so comfortable, so funny, so casual, so fun! There were questions he was supposed to save for the end as a kind of Q&A but if you know Tyler, you know if there’s one thing he can’t resist, it’s a Q&SLAY. He took questions, got distracted, got back on track, told a totally unrelated story, Korey got him back on track. I truly don’t remember the lat time I laughed so much.
Laverne Cox was great, I will always treasure being able to hear her speak, but she still feels really untouchable to me. Tyler wasn’t. Tyler felt like catching up with a friend.
One of the questions he got was “What’s one of the best things you’ve been able to do as a Youtuber?” and he answered that it was be the example, the gay friend, people needed to come out. And he is that. He’s a friend to all of us.
It’s good to have someone so prominent, who’s literally won teen choice awards and met literally all your faves, that tries so hard and gives so much to this community. So thank you, Tyler, and thanks for coming to hand out with us.
Now, it wouldn’t be a Tyler post without that #PROMOOOO so here y’all are:
You’re welcome in advance.