Daniel Howell is a famous YouTuber/comedian who is known for being part of the Dan and Phil duo. Howell brings comedy to life as he recounts personal experiences and embarrassing moments on his channel. In his newest video, “Basically I’m Gay,” he states why he chose to document his experience about growing up queer and his journey to self-acceptance.
“If anything motivated me, it’s the idea that I can help someone else, ‘cause that’s basically my whole career isn’t it?” he said. “Admitting to s—t I’ve been through, so you all feel better about it. There you go. You’re welcome.”
In many of his videos, he shares his own social and internal suffering for others. Howell uses his newest 45 minute YouTube video to explore what life was like for him growing up queer and how these experiences affected him throughout his life.
“When it comes to me, boy, is there a lot to unpack here. And it is a total clusterf—k, so strap yourselves in and let me tell you a queer little story about a boy named Dan,” he begins.
“Basically I’m Gay” then covers strange encounters Howell had throughout his childhood and how each one seemed to view the LGBTQ+ community negatively.
“I was 6 years old, running around the playground pretending to be Sonic the Hedgehog or something,” Howell remembers. “When two brothers age 7 and 8 with an unexplained look of aggression in their eye — when the younger one pushes me to the ground, kicks me in the stomach, and just goes, ‘Gay!’ This was the first time I ever heard that word.”
“Basically I’m Gay” is filled with heartfelt stories of how Howell came to understand his sexuality with sprinkles of comedy. He reminisced, “Cause it turns out most children [are] evil pieces of s—t.”
Howell’s willingness to tell his story in “Basically I’m Gay,” even including the more painful aspects of his journey from bullying to self-hatred, opens conversation for others going through similar experiences. He discusses extremely sensitive issues, including the pain of how his sexuality made him feel so alone and useless that he tried to take his own life.
“I said f—k it, and I attempted suicide,” he shared. “I’m so glad I failed for so many reasons: the people in my life, the future. The most important being that I thought I was trapped in a situation forever, when, in reality, my entire life changed completely. Time changes everything.” Howell encourages those who are going through similarly painful experiences to give it time and to believe that it will get better.
“Basically I’m Gay” then follows Howell to when he first began his career as a YouTuber, which led him to meet Phil. Howell discusses how he wishes to keep his relationship with Phil private, so he can enjoy his partner without judgement. But he does explain what meeting Phil meant to him.
“This is where through the magic of the internet, I met Phil,” he said. “And, obviously, we were more than friends, but it was more than romantic — this was someone who genuinely liked me, and for the first time since I was a child, I actually felt safe.”
Howell proceeds to tell the audience about the struggles that arose when he and Phil began to gain recognition from the public. “People clearly knew I wasn’t straight, and I hadn’t told my family about it,” he said. “And what me and Phil had was ours and personal, and people were trying to get access to it for their own satisfaction.”
Howell asks those who are overly involved with his personal life to back down by saying, “Please f—k off and don’t invade my privacy.” Even influencers who share their experiences with the world deserve to keep some aspects to themselves to keep other people’s judgments out of their lives.
Howell concludes his video by reminding people who may not be out yet that it is okay and to give it time. “Living your truth with pride is the way to be happy,” he said. “You are valid; it gets so much better and the future is clear: It’s pretty queer.”
“Basically I’m Gay” allows others to hear Howell’s story and connect with what he has gone through. His video is a call to action, as he encourages others to stand up for minorities because there is still a lot of work to be done for acceptance. “This is not a fight that is anywhere near over.”
Howell’s other videos discuss serious topics while still remaining comedic. In “Daniel and Depression,” “Trying to Live my Truth” and “Psycho Thoughts,” he explores mental illnesses, intrusive thoughts and living a life of self-acceptance. “Audience Participation Fear,” “How to Survive Exams,” “I Mumble” and “I Can’t Live Without My Phone” also address life issues that others can relate to.
Howell uses his videos as a platform for comedy and open conversation, which provides a place on the internet for people to feel validated.