As a gay man who grew up in the religious South – the teeny tiny town of Catawba, North Carolina to be exact – I didn’t exactly have an abundance of LGBTQ+ role models around to inspire me. To be honest, the first time that I met someone who fully identified as a member of the LGBTQ+ community was when I started working at American Eagle as a sales associate when I was about 16 or 17 years old. And even then, I didn’t fully grasp what it meant to be gay and a member of this incredible rainbow of a community until I went to university.
Even though I didn’t have that many physical role models around me to look up to, I did have one thing – YouTube. Back in the day, I would religiously watch channels like Will & RJ – two ordinary gay & bi guys who were daily vlogging their life for the eyes of someone like me. Someone who couldn’t even FATHOM the idea of having a “normal” life as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Channels like Will & RJ’s gave me the hope I needed to come out to my close group of friends and my parents at 18 (full coming out story will be out on YouTube soon!).
Technology played an incredibly huge role in my coming out process, which is why I’m SO excited to be working with Microsoft Canadain their partnership with three crazy talented Toronto LGBTQ+ creators!!
@HayleyElsaesser, @Hatecopy, & @stef.sanjatihave come up with vvvv cute & fun designs on Surface in partnership with Microsoft Canada (pictured below) with all proceeds going to support Rainbow Railroad, a local LGBTQ+ charity. Rainbow Railroad works night and day to help protect LGBTQ+ refugees of violence & persecution in their home countries. Every single dollar from this partnership will be going to support their incredible work!
Technology still plays a major part in my experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and even more so for all those boys, girls, and anyone else who still feels stuck in their small hometowns around the world. This partnership is one of the most important that I’ve worked on for a while and I really hope y’all can support Microsoft Canadain this initiative!