Q&A Interview Saskia and Lily, LGBT YouTubers At National Student Pride
Saskia, 18, and Lily, 17, are two YouTubers from Yorkshire who are in a relationship and identify as demisexual, which means that they do not experience sexual attraction until they have formed a strong emotional connection with someone. On their YouTube channel, the girls discuss discovering their sexuality, and share anecdotes with their fans about the struggles they have faced, as well as the wonderful times that they have experienced together. As members of the LGBT+ community, Saskia and Lily offer some wise words of advice for anyone struggling to come out to their friends and loved ones, and assure people that there's no right or wrong when it comes to labelling your sexuality.
We caught up with Saskia and Lily at the National Student Pride event in London and asked them about life, love and what being #Normal means to them...
So, you've both said how you identify as demisexual. Could you tell us a little bit about what that means? Are we right in thinking that it's quite a new term?
Lily: Yep, definitely. I think it can be quite a hard concept to grasp if you're used to fancying lots of people. When I was growing up, I never really fancied anyone. I thought I was A-sexual... maybe I just wasn't meant to have a romantic relationship.
Saskia: But we were best friends and got closer and closer, and then we just crossed the line! So, demisexual is when you can only start finding someone physically attractive if you're really close to them already. That bond has to already be there.
How do you feel that expressing yourselves on YouTube has affected you both as individuals and as a couple?
L: I think there's a pressure to find a label. We identify as demisexual...
S: but it's very loose.
L: In an ideal world I think I'd like to not have a label, but being in a gay relationship on YouTube, you kind of feel like you have to define your sexuality. That's a bit pressurising.
S: But, we do promote the whole 'no label' thing and I think there are people that can relate to that, which is quite nice.
L: As we're making videos, we're definitely learning more about ourselves. Taking people on that journey with us, we get to show them that it's fine to not understand your sexuality.
What do you feel your audience gets from your videos? Do you receive much feedback from them?
L: We have a lot of people messaging us, saying that maybe they were confused about their sexuality, but now they understand that they don't have to be just gay or straight. Also, people say our positive relationship gave them the courage to come out to their family and friends. That's always amazing.
S: Some people come to us and say that they're suffering from depression, but thank us for making them feel more positive about life. It can be quite intense, because we then wonder what would happen if we were to stop creating our videos.
L: When we started making videos, we'd put out any old rubbish but now we feel like we have to think twice about what we post.
You say in one of your videos that you've never really encountered any difficulties or struggles by coming out as gay. What would your advice be to people out there who may have?
L: We say we have no struggles, but you're (Saskia) still at our boarding school, which is very conservative. Saskia is the only openly non-straight person. Coming out is hard, but I'd say keep in perspective that there's a whole world out there, and there's so much positivity for the LGBT community.
S: I would advise that you find other people like yourself on the internet. Find ways of normalising it, because if you're in an environment where everyone is straight, you may just feel alone and weird. If you find people on the internet that share your views, or events like Student Pride, you'll feel so much better about yourself.
How much progress do you feel society is making in accepting the LGBT community?
L: Quite a lot. Obviously, the political/Trump situation doesn't help and can make you feel as if we're going backwards, but at the same time, it's bringing people together.
S: Yeah. The hate is causing so much love. We were at a Trump rally and there was just so much positivity in there.
L: It's almost like there's an uprising of positivity. When you're surrounded be people who are positive about all of this, you feel good about yourself.
Do you feel that attending boarding school and being in that intense environment, as well as spending so much time with other girls affected your feelings for each other?
L: We were together all the time, so that made us closer faster. We had quite an intense relationship because we were sleeping in the same room - we were together all the time, so that made us bond quicker. I've never been embarrassed about anything in front of Saskia...
S: Yeah, that's why we're so 'out there'!
What would you respond to people who might say "This is probably a phase. You're still young and haven't properly 'discovered' yourself yet"?
S: People don't tell straight people that it's just a phase. We know who we are so why should people tell us what we feel?
L: It is annoying when people say that - stop trying to dictate our lives!
How important do you feel it is to provide safe places such as National Student Pride for the LGBT community?
Both: It's so important!
L: Especially, as we said before, when you're in a stage of vulnerability. When you're just coming to terms with yourself, and maybe you've come from a place where it's been seen as negative... to come here where it's celebrated and you can be proud, it's liberating to know that people identify in a similar way to you.
S: It's nice not to feel like a minority. Everywhere we go, we're a minority. Even if it might not matter to you, the reality of it is always there. Coming to a place like this, suddenly you're not the minority and it's a huge relief. Finally, people won't assume we're just friends or sisters!
Saskia, in one of your videos you talk about having been 'Catfished' in the past. Do you have any suggestions on how people can ensure their security online?
S: FaceTime or Skype with whoever you're talking to online ASAP! Don't just text, because if you keep texting...
L: You can't fake it over Skype
S: Lily recently used Snapchat and she assumed it was safe, but someone was sending her photos that he had saved to his phone and they were NOT current!
L: After a while, it clicked and we realised he wasn't real.
What would you say to someone who is questioning their sexuality but is frightened of approaching the subject with a friend or family member?
S: I'd say watch YouTubers. I know that sounds so clichéd, but that's what I did. I looked at a load of videos and thought "who do I identify with?" I found it difficult at first because I felt that I didn't identify as gay or straight. I felt like I didn't identify with anything. We both looked for labels.
L: Yeah, if you can't relate to the people around you, it's fine. It's fine to just be yourself. It doesn't matter if you fancy everyone or no one! Just go with it.
S: Don't panic! Just chill.
L: You'll figure it out sometime...
S: And if you don't, it doesn't matter. Be you. Do you.
One final question... Do you consider yourselves 'normal'?
S: No, I wouldn't say we're normal.
L: I guess statistically, we're a minority because we're in a gay relationship.
S: I think we're not particularly normal because we don't fancy people and I think that's a very normal thing to do. I don't think 'normal' is necessarily good.
L: Yeah. Either is fine.
S: I don't know if there is a 'normal' though. Everyone is so different.
L: We're as normal as the next person.
It can be confusing and overwhelming, trying to navigate the rainbow of sexual orientations out there. If you'd like support and guidance, check out the channel 4 support page.