Pride Month Spotlight: Miles McKenna
Welcome to the eighth installment of our 2019 Pride Month Series! Each day in the month of June, we will be highlighting a different member of the LGBTQ+ community who we think is a great example of representation and dynamic characterization. We will focus on fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — the positive voices within the LGBTQ+ community and in mainstream media.
Miles Aaron McKenna is a transgender non-binary YouTube artist. His* channel, called MilesChronicles, hosts multiple types of videos, many of which are LGBTQ+ related. His videos are both entertaining (“What To Do When NOT GOING TO COACHELLA“) and educational (“20 Famous Bisexuals We Need To Talk About“).
What’s striking about his channel, though, is that it’s an archive of sorts. Videos that Miles filmed before he began his transition are still viewable on his channel. And what is significant is that he initially made all videos published before he came out as transgender private. But after some consideration, Miles decided to make them all public, in the hopes that others can view his transition and be inspired, the same way he himself was inspired by so many other trans creators’ channels that came before him.
Miles came out as transgender in early 2017 in his “So I’m Trans*” video. In it, he celebrates that he has figured out the “puzzle” of his feelings and that he feels so good with who he is as a person: “I feel the most ‘me’ I have since I was a child!” He admits that he was initially terrified to upload this particular video, but he knew it was necessary because he was changing his name and beginning his transition.
You can choose to be. You have all the power in your life. You can choose to be happy, you can choose to be sad. You can choose to be ‘you.’
One of the things he said that really made an impression on me personally is his statement that “I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.” At the end of the day, your life is your own and you can take charge of it. There may be things that are holding you back, of course, but it is important to be your authentic self.
What I personally appreciate from his videos is that he openly talks about his struggles. For example, Miles grew up in a strict religious home. His parents struggled to accept his transition. He doesn’t share much about his father but has spoken about how his mother now calls him “son.”
Later in the same year, Miles published his “The Gender Tag!” video. In this one, he revisits a 2015 video he published talking about the concept of gender and then answers the same questions two years later, to showcase how much he has changed and how far his journey to self-acceptance has taken him. It’s a heartwarming video and, as a viewer, it is empowering to see how Miles has become more comfortable with himself over time.
Stay tuned for the next installment in our 2019 Pride Month Series, to be issued tomorrow! And check out the rest of the articles in the series here.