Listen, I don’t want to be that bitch who rains on a possibly good gay pride parade but can we just talk about Joey Graceffa exploiting his coming out story to the fullest extent?
Joey Graceffa, for those of you who don’t know, is a YouTuber who is known for wearing a ton of concealer and making mind-numbing challenge videos with other famous YouTubers. A year or two ago he made a film about him being an alien. It was pretty awful.
For anyone who is a member of the YouTube community, Joey’s sexuality has been common knowledge for years. All the YouTubers know. Any average fan would suspect it. And Joey has made it outrageously clear in the last year that he is gay because he refused to ever talk about his sexuality.
Joey has had years to come out, and do it in a genuine way: a simple video or interview would do the trick. But how can I expect someone who’s made two “Are you gay test!” videos, which deliberately exploit stereotypes of the gay community, to come out in an admirable way. The questions in these “test” videos have nothing to do with what it means to be gay, I.E. the feelings of love, companionship, desire for someone of the opposite gender; the questions are entirely built on the socially constructed stereotypes of gay people, which Joey gladly perpetuates.
A wonderful article from Gaga Stigmata articulates excellently why this is so problematic:
In the video, Joey does not answer the question per se; instead, he takes on the very logic of stereotypical thinking in which his fans have partaken, producing a video that merely expands the litany of alleged proof and counter-evidence so as to performatively respond not to the question itself, but rather to the epistemic construction of the question. That is, he does not critically comment on whether or not heis gay, but rather on the processes through which his audience constructed their opinions and biases of him and others.
We could also delve into the videos where Joey kisses guys “for laughs” or “as a challenge” but I think it’s too easy to drag a closeted bottom bitch for that.
The main problem I have with Joey’s ridiculous coming out announcement is that he continues to use it as a chance to propel his career.
“I wanted people to focus on the things I was creating, not whether I wanted to kiss boys,” he explains in his new book. “I needed something of my own that I could keep for myself.”
“I was teased about being feminine so much when I was a kid,” Joey says in chapter 15, claiming he was ridiculed constantly for his voice and behavior. FUNNY THEN, that he continued to abuse these stereotypes and make a career out of them.
Of course, Joey’s coming out antics couldn’t possibly stop with a book (which you can buy! To read the full story!), but he also released a music video with his boyfriend who I won’t even name because he’s so irrelevant. Joey plays some sort of gay prince who’s caught between internal demons and in the end meets his prince charming and they make out. The video concludes with a teary eyed Joey talking about how “important” this video is for him.
Listen, my fellow gays, you can come out whenever you damn please. We all have our comfort levels and fears of being honest about our sexuality. But please, for the love of everything sacred, do not further hurt your fellow LGBT community members with ridiculous stereotypes while under the guise as a “straight person.”
Joey could have easily owned up to the fact that he’s built a career on playing off gay cliches, while never admitting he’s gay because it might hurt his fanbase. He also could have apologized for the ridiculous videos he’s made that boil sexuality down to interests and personality traits. Or maybe he could explain that while he knew he would have a world of support around him, he didn’t come out because he was scared that more people would categorize him as a typical gay white male.
But, obviously, Joey didn’t do any of this. I don’t think he’s even smart enough to know how.