When Blaire White hit “publish” on her first YouTube video two years ago, she did so because she needed an outlet. A college student with strong conservative views among a sea of peers who disagreed with her beliefs, she filmed herself talking in her dorm room in what became a video titled “Female Privilege | Antifeminism.”
White was hoping to be heard. What she did not expect, however, were the hundreds of thousands of people who listened. “I woke up the next day and it had blown up. And ever since, my life has been completely different.”
Since then, White’s followed it up with videos like “Male Struggles,” “Fat Acceptance Is Stupid” and “Trump IS Your President, Get Over It.” Now 24 years old and living in Hollywood, White has over 450,000 subscribers on YouTube and more than 50 million video views in total.
The comments on White’s videos often praise her for sticking to her conservative views, but occasionally a new subscriber asks, “Wait, Blaire is trans?”
What sets White apart isn’t only her right-wing beliefs or her attacks on liberal ideology, but her identity as a transgender individual. “The only death threats I get, the only hate I get, the only people I get coming after me like in a really serious way, is from people who have a problem with my views,” she says. “If you mix being trans with having a few right-wing opinions … it’s a s*** show.”
In fact, White is no stranger to controversy – she’s known for it. Most of White’s YouTube channel consists of jabs at what she calls SJWs, or social justice warriors – a pejorative term used to describe individuals who advocate – typically online – for feminism, civil rights, identity politics and other progressive views. She records herself insulting multiple liberal YouTube personalities, critiquing the LGBTQ community and upbraiding movements like Black Lives Matter.
Despite attracting a strong conservative audience, however, White finds herself floating in an in-between, undefined space. “I’ll be scrolling through my tweets and my notifications, and I’ll see a comment saying, ‘F*** Blaire White. She is a gatekeeper for the trans community. She hates trans people. She’s a bigot’ … Then I’ll keep scrolling, and I’ll see one from someone more so on the right saying, “F*** Blaire White. She’s a delusional man and she deserves to die.’”
“It’s frustrating to feel like I’ll never be able to sit in a room full of leftists because of my beliefs, and I’ll never be able to sit in a room with conservatives because I’m trans.”
It’s experiences like this that make White feel that the politicization of transgender identity is harming the trans community – and she is determined to put an end to it. “The basis of what I believe in is freedom, it’s bodily autonomy. And to me, trans people are just expressing freedom of bodily autonomy. They’re doing what they want with their lives, and I feel like any time if you’re doing something for yourself, it affects no one else, you know, altering your body to be trans, to live as the gender you want, that’s something that affects you, that has to do with you and your soul – and I don’t like that it’s so politicized.”
White looks to her videos as a means of chipping away at the mainstream perception of a trans individual. “One of the biggest reactions I’ve gotten on my channel is from conservative people who come to me and they say, ‘Wow, I thought transgenderism was a political thing,’” she says. “And what they come to realize is, it’s actually just who you are. And it’s not political at all.” As a result, White has taken to accepting and sharing her political views while making sure not to conflate it with her trans identity, something she knows is more commonly associated with the liberal views of the left. She’s debated with the likes of Tomi Lahren and Candace Owens in the hopes of bringing more understanding to being transgender. “I’m one of the very few trans people who’s willing to be a bridge between the two sides,” she points out. “I mean, personally I can’t think of a single other trans person in media right now that could go on all the conservative shows I’ve gone on, to have a conversation and open minds.”
It was a major moment for White when Ben Shapiro, one of the most outspoken conservatives against the trans community, agreed to talk with White on the subject. “The reason he was willing to go on my [YouTube] channel,” she explains, “is because I’m not one of the people in the trans community that freaks out and screams and is so offended by him. I’d rather speak to him, engage with him, learn where he’s coming from, still disagree with him on certain things but have a conversation, and that’s the link that’s missing.”
In February of this year, White tweeted that people shouldn’t end friendships over politics. The reactions – and backlash – it received blew her away and proved to her how polarized the country had become. “I had hundreds and thousands of people sending me hate and calling me racist, and sending me death threats over me saying we should probably just all be friends, which is so crazy.”
White believes that some people on the left lack an ability to participate in dialogue. “A lot of conservative speakers would go to liberal college campuses, and there would be outrage. There would sometimes be violence, protests. … A lot of times it gets out of hand, and people act really, really extreme in order to silence these conservative speakers from speaking at their school. It’s been very easy for the right to say, ‘This is the face of liberalism. It’s people freaking out, not wanting to hear dissenting views.’” In White’s opinion, if the Democratic Party wants to win the election in 2020, Democrats need to be more open-minded: “I think the biggest thing they can do is to stop being so radically politically correct. Stop being so radically offended. Be willing to have a conversation, you know?”
White says the key that’s missing in America is perspective. Oftentimes, White receives supporting messages from LGBTQ people in the Middle East, thanking her for her videos. “People forget how easy it is in the First World and the Western world. I get emails … saying, ‘Your videos give me comfort, because if anyone found out I was trans, I would be murdered.’ Or, ‘If anyone found out I was gay, I’d be arrested.’” White is always taken aback when receiving such comments, grateful that her videos are having a real impact. “It’s easy when you’re sort of on my end to see things as numbers or screen names … and you forget that it really is real people. And it’s a lot of real people. And their lives, and their opinions, and things that happened to them can be informed by one video that I do.”
Currently, White is working on a documentary about her life that delves into her past – “which is something I haven’t talked much about on my channel,” she says. “I’m just in a new space where I’m trying to show people more of who I am, rather than living off of the controversy I’ve caused in the past.”
“Now it’s about, ‘OK, I built the platform, what do I do with it now?’”
For White, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a “hater” or a supporter – but she says if you’re willing to give her a chance, she’d appreciate it. “At the end of the day, I really am just a normal person trying to make content that makes people laugh or inspires them, or makes them happy or makes them think. And you shouldn’t take me so seriously, because I really do not take myself seriously.”
She continues: “I’m a tranny on YouTube. It’s not that deep.”
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