Jeffrey Marsh identifies as genderqueer and is an LGBTI+ advocate, host and author. Jeffrey is big on social media, creating Vine Videos with a positive, inclusive message. In 2015 Jeffrey was named “Red Carpet Correspondent” for MTV/LOGO and GLSEN. In August of this year, Penguin/Random House will publish Jeffrey’s first book, How To Be You. Stuart Russell spoke to Jeffrey Marsh about the new book, online achievements and Jeffrey’s top tip on being the best possible you.
1. You are a Vine star, what is a Vine and what do you aim to do through making them? It is an app where you make six second videos, think the video version of Twitter. I aim to help everyone in accepting themselves.
2. What subjects do you cover when creating Vines? Its mainly self esteem. Through social media you want to be creating varied content that is fun and makes people feel better. I will sing a song, dance a dance, tell a joke or give advice direct to the camera. I aim to reach the heart of whoever is watching.
3. What inspired you to start making videos to inspire others? Aspects of growing up were not pleasant for me. I started making Vines as a way to talk to my eleven year old self and let that child know, its okay to be yourself.
4. You describe yourself as genderqueer, what does this mean? There use to be LGBTI videos in the USA called “It Gets Better” and I never liked that message, saying “when you grow up it will be better”. What we need to do is work to make things better for people today, not tell them to wait ten years before they can be themselves. By identifying myself as genderqueer, I try to open up the space for people who feel being defined as a man or a woman is very restricting.
5. You tackle hatred in the LGBTI+ community, tell me about your work within this community? I actually did not realise I was an activist. A friend told me, your Vines are reaching these people, this is activism! Its a collaboration of on the ground volunteering and celebrity activism through making videos that changes things and has changed things here in the USA.
6. How did the various red carpet opportunities present themselves? Really through making videos online. In a philosophical way, once you get the ball rolling and devote yourself to your passions, mine being making others feel good about themselves, the opportunities present themselves to further those passions.
7. You are now an author so, tell us about the book? Its called How To Be You, a back to school book. It was a labour of love from start to finish. It is the manual none of us get in school, teaching us to learn to love ourselves. Its in three parts the first being memoir, what it was like being genderqueer growing up on a farm. The second part is fan based questions answered and the third part is interactive engagement, its a workbook. People are able to write, draw and add to the book. The reader participates in creating the book.
8. What is the greatest thing you have achieved so far through your creativity? Writing the book ,that is something I never thought would happen. Its a dream come true. Also being able to work with people on TV and through Vine, I dont know what to ask for next.
9. How can we be ourselves, what is your top tip? Your too tall, your too thin, your too fat, your to queer, your too smart… Your too something. Whatever that thing is that you are too much of, that is your greatest gift to the world. Please pursue what you love to do. Pursue what you love and be too much for everybody!
Listen to the full interview HERE