California man, known only as Chris, whose antics have made him a YouTube celebrity, is a lifeline for some who try suicide and are trying to be open
Desperate LGBTQ people call this man for help day and night. He always answers
The only constant in the lives of the young men on YouTube known as LGBTQ2 (and edited to appear as LGBTQ3) are their constant struggles with depression, anxiety and suicide. It’s a dark subject that LGBTQ2 choose to openly disclose, engaging in self-harm and suicide prevention exercises.
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“There’s a lot of confusion in the community, a lot of pain, a lot of feelings that we can’t really describe in any specific word,” Kevin, the founder of LGBTQ2, told the Guardian. “It’s a lot of feelings of guilt and anxiety and you don’t really know how to deal with it. When you’re at that age, when you’re with the guys, and you’re with the people that you love but you’re not truly happy, and that kind of breakdown happens to everybody, you go to your parents and you’re like, ‘I think I’m depressed’. And they’re like, ‘What?’.”
That’s where Chris comes in. The California man has been answering real conversations with an LGBTQ2 origin story about how his life played out after coming out of the closet at 17.
“No one has ever asked me: ‘When were you diagnosed with depression? When were you diagnosed with anxiety? When were you diagnosed with anxiety?’” He said, referring to how people with LGBTQ2 might mistakenly call it all a cry for attention. “You can just feel it. I just feel like people get a little scared and like: ‘OK, maybe he’s having a mental breakdown. Maybe he’s having a mental breakdown’. But you know, we are all just, and I really feel strongly about this, we’re all just in it together, we’re all just in it together.”
Now in its sixth year, LGBTQ2 has garnered over 150 million views and is represented in various culture and media. Chris hopes to help as many people as he can. “We have people coming through every single day … They’re just friends of my family. They’re coming through every single day. This is a daily part of my life,” he said.
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Chris often shares the videos as SBS podcast. His availability has gone far beyond his love of big, bold names such as Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Jho Low, talking about his lifestyle and identity. Like so many people in their 20s, he wants to pursue a life that doesn’t include the dependency on other people.
A casting agency in Los Angeles advertises the part of the one featured in the viral YouTube series to any young person willing to make themselves open and vulnerable, gay or straight, male or female.
“It’s important for people in general to know what mental illness is, what depression is, what anxiety is and what pre-menstrual syndrome is.” He said. “I think it’s important for everybody to try and understand that this is something we’re all going through. I just want to be there for people, to be there for them as they’re going through this thing.”
“Because this is the first time I’ve come out, for me to finally be an authentic person and be able to express that … Now is a great time to do that.”