Let’s Talk About Miles McKenna

Sometime between yesterday and today, Miles McKenna uploaded a video which helped me to leave the house.  To give some brief context, Miles McKenna is a wonderful queer and trans YouTuber and I am a very anxious person.  I’ve been watching Miles’ videos for a few years, on and off, and have been watching him consistently since he came out as trans.  Miles and I are the same age and for me, that’s been a really significant factor in seeing his progress, not only in his transition, but in growing up into his twenties.  Around a year ago I had just started working on my mental health and I was initially regressing (a common stage when dealing with trauma/going through therapy); I spent much of my time feeling depressed and confused about myself.  A period of hyper-femininity and misery correlated with this regression as I slipped into a familiar pattern of isolating myself and living in denial about my identity.  Around the same time, Miles McKenna came out as trans.

I remember feeling paradoxically miserable and yet full of happiness when I watched Miles’ video titled, in all caps, SO I’M TRANS*.  I desperately wanted to be brave enough to be myself- something which I doubted that I would ever achieve as I didn’t even feel brave enough to leave my house.  At the same time, I remember feeling so excited that Miles was able to live his life being true to himself; it gave me the hope that, even though I felt far behind where he was at, maybe someday it would be me making a video, or writing a blog post, or calling someone to let them know that my pronouns are different now. 

This morning I felt anxious, I tried to leave the house twice and failed.  I slumped down onto my bed, opened up YouTube and watched Miles’ new video titled, I AM MILES.  This video was a beautifully affecting look into the last year of his life and transition.  As I watched it I saw glimpses into his past year which I could have never imagined from his coming out as trans video and those which followed.  The whole video served as a reminder to myself to imagine people complexly and never to compare my reality to the edited lives I see online.  The video also reminded me of how important Miles McKenna is for the queer and trans communities; he remains transparent and honest in his transition and progression in life.  The ending of this video really struck me as he stated, ‘if I would have known in January that my problems in October would have been that I have acne, I would have been so relieved’. 

Watching Miles reflect on his past year prompted me to reflect on my own.  For me, somewhat selfishly, Miles has become a barometer of my own progression and, more recently, my social transition.  If I would have known one year ago that my problems by now would simply be, occasionally struggling to fight my anxiety, I would have been relieved.  I would have looked at myself and wondered how I had finally found self-acceptance.  What seemed like an impossibility a year ago is now my reality and I’m thankful for that.  One year ago I had hoped that someday I would find the courage simply to be myself, even if that was all I managed to do with my life.  Today I looked at myself in the mirror before leaving the house and I recognised myself; I unlocked the door for a third time and succeeded in locking it behind me.

Miles McKenna is a hugely significant figure in the trans and queer communities (as well as being a predominantly good influence for young people in general) and I hope to make a more detailed post about his work and activism in the future.  His latest video is a poignant one, so please feel free to watch it below this post and let me know what you think in comments; or let me know how you relate to this post, where are you in your (cough, cliche) journey, and where do you hope to be?- AB

this is part of my ‘let’s talk about…’ series, where I discuss the impact of influencers & pop culture figures on my own life and identity, read more here

featured image not owned by me, no copyright infringement intended


2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Miles McKenna

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  1. Wow that video! That line around the 10-minute mark about how it hurts more for people to politely see you as someone you’re not… So true. That’s where I am now at work. I was telling a friend that I would almost prefer my coworkers deliberately misgender me, fully aware that they’re using the wrong pronouns, because having them doing it so casually and unthinkingly, without even noticing they’ve done it, just makes me feel invisible. They aren’t seeing me at all and that’s so much worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really felt that part too- it sucks so much to feel that people just don’t see who you are and just casually misgender you. I’m not out at work yet in terms of my gender identity, partly because I’m afraid of the awkwardness- I hope that your coworkers improve! I’m glad that the video resonated with you too.- AB


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