My name is Maple Pangaro and I make video content on Youtube1 and planning to open a Transgender sci fi themed exhibition at an art gallery.
What kind of content do I make on Youtube? It started with vlogs, or video diaries. That was the point of my YT channel, to provide a video blog from my then-boss at the time. I've kept it since. Vlogs that talk about my life, whether I take hormones, my hopes, my dreams and any thing funny that happened to me. I'm proud of most of them.
The other content revolves on my amateur citizen journalism, mini documentaries that revolve around issues such as the decline of services for LGBT youth, youth homelessness and others. Sometimes I make a fake news show called “Gender Agenda” where I report on various Trans related topics around the world in the same style a news anchor.
The other content are various reviews on Transgender in the Media (books, films, TV shows, games) and miscellaneous videos on Star trek or other pop culture fascinations.
That is what I do, but let's talk about the Risks involved. Is it risky to make video content on Youtube? The answer is an emphatic yes.
Youtube has the ability to set up your Settings so every Comment on your video you get you have to manually tick yes to allow it to be seen by the public. Of course, you can have it automated so all of them get published regardless, but this presents the issue of finding the horrible ones in a panic.
I get plenty of hateful, transphobic, stalkers and fetishists commenting on my videos. It's normal. In fact, I still publish the hateful comments, because I am democratic in nature. However, the really horrible comments I delete.
Comments saying I should die, that cisgender people should forcefully Out their trans friends for 'lying' about their status, and many things I can't repeat here.
The most disturbing ones are the confusing comments, as in what answer could I possibly give them? Comments asking if this is satire, or am I speaking in English (which I am), saying that this video is hilarious (on a video about Trans pregnancy).
Then they are the stalkers, of 2 different distinct flavours. The first is the usual - “you have pretty eyes”, “i love you!” “between glassess you are sexy too”.
The other is more subtle, always commentating on your videos after every release. At first it looks normal, there are some Youtubers who I follow and I post a comment semi-regularly, but when the commentator writes an extremely long comment in the tiny box about an unrelated subject, it goes a little too far.
Let's talk about Mass Dislikes. It is when a large group of people purposefully thumbs down or dislikes a video simply because it has something that disagrees with them. It's not a reflection on the quality or the content of the video, just a way to bully Youtubers.
Consider my video 61 - Post Pride March 20162, where I talked about my fear of walking in the streets as a woman, scared I might be bashed. Cue all the 20+ dislikes. Why? I was expressing my fear, the video was only 11 seconds long. Also my videos on Transgender & Pregnancy, in which I discussed the science behind how it could and could not work had massive dislikes, because naturally the conservatives don't want to see this type of thing. Needless to say, I deleted most of the comments on those videos.
If you disagree with the points in one of my videos, then please discuss this in the comments section in a respectful matter. Mass dislikes, ironically gets more views anyway. Mass dislikes on a video because you hate trans people shows the trolls that they are not willing to accept transgender people. These are the same trolls who love to spread discord, who do it because they are hateful, ignorant or want a rise out of other commentators.
But I am small time compared to other transgender Youtubers out there such as Riley Dennis. (largely due to me unwilling to advertise my YT channel, another risk I will talk about shortly). They get it a lot worse then me. People who make make their living off YT ad revenue target these Youtubers to make Response Videos and show their hatred on those videos, getting thousands of views and making plenty of money. Why does the right wing Youtubers not get any hate?
Why am I unwilling to advertise my YT channel? All the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts would go crazy that I'm not going on Twitter and hounding people’s emails every day to advertise. I only post videos on my Facebook – to those friends who I trust, and that is the point.
I have not come out to my parents, or my high school friends. Why? - because it is a personal decision and kind of dangerous to do it willy nilly. Where I live, is still quite transphobic, to do so will put me at considerate risk.
It is the fear of my anti-LGBT parents finding one of my videos or photos of me as a woman, that stops me from truly going all-out with my advertising. What could I say, that would convince them I am not trans?
It's not even my parents or my former high school friends that I fear the most – but the friends of my parents and my high school buddies. They are unlike my family, actually quite adept at using the internet and digital technology. All it would take is one video and my life could be turned upside down in an instant.
I hope I have been insightful, if not I hope I was easy to understand at least. These are some of the risks associated with making trans related video content. Technology can be a wonderful thing to spread your story, but it can also be dangerous, depressing and downright confusing too.