Eugene Lee Yang came out to the world through an emotional, visually stunning music video.
The 33-year-old internet star of “The Try Guys” fame, wrote, choreographed, and directed the video, set to music by electronic duo Odesza. While he’s been out as queer for some time, Yang wanted to make it clear that he identifies as gay.
What’s more, the project served as a fundraiser for The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization that aims to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth.
“I created this music video as my personal way of coming out as a proud gay man who has many unheard, specific stories to tell,” Yang wrote on Twitter. “I withheld because of fear and shame shaped by my background but I promise to give my full truth in the rest of my life’s work.”
Through contemporary dance, Yang takes viewers through the different stages of self-discovery with his sexuality. There are nods to his Korean American family, critical relationships in his life, and the both pain and celebration that came with his journey. The video also includes cameos from several celebrities and big names in the LGBTQ community, like drag queen Kim Chi and fellow internet personality Curly Velasquez.
Yang told The Advocate that growing up in Texas, he already felt like an outsider because of his Asian identity, contributing to his gradual coming out process.
“I was already dealing with the fact that I didn’t even know I was Asian until a certain age. I just was informed about it in a somewhat negative way by [my peers]. And that immediately put me into that mind-set where I felt very othered, you know. My safety always felt like it wasn’t something that I could consider a given,” he said.
He said that that experience “sort of shaded a lot of my first sort of ways that I covered in regards to my openness about my sexuality because I already had seen the way some other openly gay kids were treated in my school — and it was really, really terrible.”
“There were a lot of elements in society that were kind of pointing me in the direction of being very careful,” Yang explained.
As he tweeted along with the video, “Coming out is a lifelong process - your safety always comes first - but know that there’s a vibrant community waiting to welcome you with open arms,” he said.
Through the video, Yang has already raised more than $65,000 for the Trevor Project as of Monday afternoon. He’s also received an outpouring of support from fans across the internet, lauding his raw honesty.
Or course, his mother had the most Asian mom response to his project.