There’s no doubt about it — we’re living in interesting times, when it’s possible to change the world from behind a keyboard and screen. It’s never been so easy to be the change you want to see in the world, and never so easy to find a cause that you care about and dedicate your life to it.
The next generation of activists is young, passionate, and defiantly queer. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite young activists — let us know about the ones we should add to this list!
1. Rowan Ellis
Rowan Ellis was instrumental in calling attention to YouTube’s stealthy campaign to hide LGBTQ content. Her video on the subject made headlines around the world, and prompted the company to reduce (but not entirely end) its policy to hide queer videos from certain users.
When she’s not fighting to make queer voices heard, Rowan also advocates for more diverse voices in children’s films, makes educational videos about queer history pioneers, and elevates the work of women online.
2. Riley J Dennis
Riley’s a genderfluid, non-binary, trans woman with a talent for feminist critiques and social justice. In recent videos, she’s tackled mental health stigma and being trans-inclusive at live events — plus voter ID laws and economic opportunities. Every now and then, she has a fun topic like sex toys or Pokemon. And don’t miss the fantasy novels that she writes when she’s not on camera!
3. Kirstin Russo
It’s hard to imagine anyone with a bigger heart than Kirstin Russo, whose “Everyone is Gay” series helps youngsters feel comfortable with who they are. Along with Dannielle Owens-Reid, Kirstin travels the country, writing books and making appearances that affirm every different way of expressing gender and sexuality.
4. Claudia Boleyn
Nothing escapes the watchful eye of Claudia Boleyn, who offers media critiques with a focus on mental health, feminism, and politics. She’s comfortable tackling issues like cis people at Pride, biphobia, and Brexit — but many of her videos are fun talks about Game of Thrones or ASMR whispers.
5. Gay Family Values
Gay dads Jay and Brian have generously opened up their home to the internet for years, sharing their triumphs and struggles and the policial challenges that they face every day. They’ve worked to get kids more involved in the political process, demonstrated first-hands why marriage is so important, and spoke out on the toxic discriminatory laws that masquerade as protecting “religious freedom.”
Jay’s currently running for Sheriff in their town, and if elected he could make change on a much bigger scale than he could as a YouTuber.
6. Marina Watanabe
Tackling everything from feminism to white privilege to mental health, Marina’s weapon of choice is sarcasm. She’s tackling biphobia head-on, and calls for accountability from anti-trans activists like Laci Green. Of course, Marina takes some time out for fun stuff too: Game of Thrones, Twilight, and Pokemon.