YouTube may not be the first place that comes to mind when you ask yourself, “Where can I go to get smarter, much smarter?” But that’s just because you’re letting the algorithm pick your content for you. A smorgasbord of intellectual excellence disguised in quality production value, fabulous wit and elegant simplicity awaits if you know where to look. And because marginalized people always have to be ten times better to get a fraction of the credit, it’s not surprising that a lot of this goodness is coming from the LGBTQ+ community. From philosophy to transportation (yes, it really is quite interesting!), here are five YouTubers that your brain deserves to watch. You can support any or all of them as a patron to help make sure they can keep creating their work. Click on their photos or links in their descriptions to learn how.
Philosophy Tube is British actress Abigail Thorn, who decided to provide free lessons in Philosophy (in which they have a Masters) on YouTube when England tripled college tuition rates in 2012. Fast forward to today and the channel has over 900,000 subscribers thanks to Thorn’s acting chops, comedic talent and extremely sharp mind capable of making philosophy interesting and downright fun. Thorn is trans and even incorporated their transition into the channel’s content. If you don’t feel significantly smarter after watching Philosophy Tube, you either slept through the video or you’re even more of a Philosophy geek than Abigail Thorn.
Alexandra, a frontend web developer, is the creator behind bigmoodenergy, producing videos about transit and cities and “other stuff” (with great info and a sense of humor, we might add). The first series she’s working on is titled, “Failure and Success of Great American Transit” a collaborative project with her friend, Javier, who studied and works in planning. And it just so happens that Alexandra is a gay trans woman.
Are They Gay
Are They Gay makes videos on LGBT+ topics, and most recognizably, a series called “Are They Gay?” which analyzes characters in fiction to see if maybe they’re in love. They also make videos on LGBT+ history called Queer History that not only explore topics related to history, but shipping in general. The “Are They Gay?” series is truly entertaining and nearly always insightful.
Mia Mulder is a Swedish historian and popular YouTuber who publishes video essays about history, politics, current events, activism, theater, and art. She’s also a trans woman. Her videos usually cover political and social issues, leveraging her chops as an historian to provide historical context. Her explorations of LGBTQ+ people during specific historical eras can be especially enlightening and unique.
Curio, created by Eric Sophia, publishes media and cultural analysis videos and live streams from an intersectional leftist and trans perspective. As Eric Sophia says, “Some pretentious philosophy bits, lots of being mad at people who don’t want to treat others equally.” Curio is also half of the team behind the Rolling With Rainbows podcast, an actual play TTRPG podcast released in limited miniseries in which Sophie (aka Curio) and Jess (@thatJessVideos) are joined by various guests to try out different tabletop systems old, new, classic, indie and more.