Japan[ese],  Queer[ness],  YouTube[r]

YouTube Pride Academy 2017

ever so aptly timed with YouTube’s second attempt at spotlighting LGBTQIA YouTube with the hashtag #ProudToBe, the first ever Pride Academy was held at YouTube Space Tokyo today. the name of the event itself being a play on one of YouTube’s programs for creators, Creator Academy.

the event was aimed at encouraging and offering support to LGBTQIA people in Japan who might be interested in creating a channel on YouTube– regardless of the content that they chose to put on their channel. another aim of the event was to host a 交流会 (networking event) after the presentations in the hopes of fostering community among LGBTQIA youtubers in Japan by giving them a chance to meet each other. to that end, Google promoted the event at its booth during Tokyo Rainbow Pride this past May and i was pleasantly surprised to see the turn out, given the current state of LGBTQIA YouTube in Japan.

regardless of whatever criticisms can be thrown Google’s / YouTube’s way regarding pink capitalism (a topic i’d love to talk about sometime), as a queer youtuber in Japan who exists in that awkward disjunction between Japanese YouTube and English YouTube and who has attended non-LGBT themed events at YTST in the past, i honestly feel like an event like this has the potential to be life-changing and was just generally well overdue. if YTST doesn’t continue it i’ll quite honestly scream– but i digress.

if you’re unfamiliar with the tumbleweed blowing across the Mojave Desert that is the current landscape of LGBTQIA content made by and for Japanese people in Japan at the moment– let alone the state of LGBTQIA awareness and representation in Japan in general– the true gravity of this event is likely lost on you, but trust me when i say that what happened today meant a lot.

with 3 hours of presentations geared at helping anyone startup a YouTube channel from scratch without any experience or equipment necessary beyond a smartphone, while still being broad enough in its scope to include tips and tricks for those who may already have a channel but who want to do more with it, it was a great YouTube crash course. more importantly, though, is the fact that care was taken to try and make it accessible. additionally, there was also care taken to focus on things that are especially relevant for LGBTQIA youtubers, such as how to best use YouTube’s new blacklist feature to help manage trolling on your videos, words of advice on how to deal with pressure to “come out” on YouTube, etc. and yes, questions were raised about YouTube’s recent fuck up with “restricted mode”… there was also a 30 minute live interview with Kazue-chan, who is arguably Japan’s biggest, most openly “out” youtuber, giving people a chance to hear from and talk to someone with first-hand experience.

and as per usual, YTST’s signature (ha!) cupcakes were on offer, complete with a rainbow assortment of frosting to suit the theme.

long story short, i had a nice time at YTST today and met some really cool people. as not okay as i may still be at the moment, i’d like to try and run with what little inspiration today has afforded me and start posting to this blog and YouTube again.

to the 28 or so people who have sent me asks over the past few months, answers will be trickling out slowly in between reblogs. starting tomorrow. because i am a metaphorical zombie right now. お待たせしちゃったぁ~

YouTuber and Blogger, Vesper is an American expat currently living in Japan.

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