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An Entire Industry is Being Built Around YouTube’s LGBT Super Stars


Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple turned heads at Sundance last month when her documentary, “This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous,” became the first YouTube Red film to ever premiere as an official selection at the hallowed festival.

Her film arguably resonated with audiences because it captured a trend: as more and more queer people turn to YouTube to tell their stories, confront their bullies and expose their “true” selves, the platform has become both a release valve and a medium for self-actualization. And as these queer stars have emerged, so has a burgeoning industry hoping to take advantage of their social reach and influence.

Case in point: while “This is Everything” was only slated to play in theaters for a week, you can catch it this Friday at the Out Web Fest (OWF) kickoff event at YouTube’s sleek new studios in Playa Vista. The event promises to capture a particular moment in Hollywood, as YouTube stars vie with establishment players for top jobs in Hollywood.

Queer YouTube stars, in particular, have been getting a big push not just from YouTube and OWF but also from emerging platforms like REVRY, colloquially known as the “LGBT Netflix.” The company offers a subscription model that allows users to access thousands of hours of LGBT content on Roku, Android, iOS, Apple TV and the web, including the original series like “Gayborhood” — which centers around the experiences of a group of friends in the Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and the “Queen of Kings,” a documentary following drag queen performers from Williamsburg.

At Out Web Fest, gay Youtube and their rabid fans can meet face-to-face (the organizers are planning on also honoring Tyler Oakley and Ari Fitz at the festival, appearances that will likely attract droves.) Tickets for the event can be bought via Eventbrite here; day passes run $40. The festival oddly culminates in a very adult space: the gay bar, Precinct, in Downtown L.A.

About The Author

Steven Blum is the digital editor of FourTwoNine. He’s written for Vice’s Broadly, The Stranger, Blackbook Magazine, Tablet and the Daily Dot.

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