If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an LGBT musician and digital creator, it is the power and importance of community. All of us deserve to be supported by a group of people who understand and see us. Fostering community is even more vital when support for members of that community is not a given.
This kind of inclusive ethos is what I strive to create with my music and content: to carve out a little space of the internet where anyone who listens can share that positivity with others. Creating and supporting a community is perhaps one of the most crucial things we can do not only for ourselves but for the generations of young people who follow.
Growing up, I was incredibly lucky to have a family that supported me in my artistic pursuits—which have led me to a career doing what I love—and when I came out to them during my senior year of high school. I attribute everything I’ve achieved both personally and professionally to my system of support—something which far too many young LGBTQ people do not have.
Both online and on tour, I interact with LGBTQ+ fans all over the world and hear their stories. Many of them are living in countries where they do not have the rights or even the sense of personal safety that they deserve. It is incredibly moving to hear how something LGBTQ+ representative in my music and videos—as simple as sharing bits of stories and images of myself and my husband Casey openly and authentically—can provide hope and a sense of belonging. The global vision of our community and awareness of our interconnectedness is something that really resonate with me.
I support the Los Angeles LGBT Center because it works tirelessly on behalf of our community in so many profound and tangible ways, and I also feel a responsibility to give back. I am so proud to support an organization that fully understands this need for community and the power it has.
So when I had the opportunity to start collaborating with the Center and witnessed firsthand how much they do for so many members of our community, I understood immediately the life-changing impact of their services. I was blown away by the housing, health, and career services for youth and seniors provided by the Center. And I’m in awe of the Center making a difference not only in Southern California but also throughout the country and internationally. From championing the freedom to marry to destigmatizing HIV and AIDS and erasing discrimination in housing and employment, the Center is committed to fostering leadership and advocacy for the civil rights of LGBT people everywhere.
The Center means so much to me, which is why I’ve tried to give back in several ways. I had the privilege of performing at the grand opening of the Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus and helping to celebrate 50 years of the organization’s incredible work. Additionally, as one of the first creators given access to YouTube’s Giving feature in celebration of Pride month, I chose the Center as my beneficiary. I attached a call-to-action donate button to my latest single Free, which raised thousands of dollars for the Center from fans and donors around the world.
It is an absolute honor to get to partner with and give back to the Center because the Center is truly making a difference for so many.
Hailed as an internet sensation, Tsui has amassed more than three million followers and more than 500 million hits on YouTube alone. Watch his music video Free, created in support of the Center, at bit.ly/freebysamtsui