By Tara Kurup
Image via Pride.com
Eugene Lee Yang is an actor, filmmaker, producer, author, dancer, and digital content creator from Pflugerville, Texas. He received his education at the University of Southern California, and is most known for his contribution to the popular Youtube group, The Try Guys.
In 2019, Eugene came out to the world as gay with a beautiful video. A significant part of Eugene’s identity is that he is South-Korean, which made him face significant descrimination for his race and sexuality, even as a child. This makes it important to discuss people of color’s coming out stories.
There are six segments in his video. Each segment showcases different parts of Eugene’s life, relating to his sexuality. The segments are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple, which are the colors of the pride flag. A unique part of this video is how Eugene uses dance to recall parts of his life, while staying silent the whole time. The costumes, set design, and choreography were a perfect depiction of Eugene’s story. Let’s talk about each of the segments in his video.
The red is the introduction of the video, which represents family. It starts off with Eugene and a family (presumably his own) in a living room-like area. Eugene is wearing a red gown while his family is dressed in black. They see their mother as a poised woman putting on lipstick, and they all imitate her. Then, they look at their father who is drinking alcohol and screaming, which they also imitate. The mother takes the daughter’s hand and shows her a dance that has motions like bowing and putting on lipstick, which Eugene is also interested in. His father disgustingly looks at Eugene trying to put on his mother’s lipstick, while his brother follows his father. This shows that Eugene wanted to experiment and feel feminine, but his father disapproved of it.
The orange scene represents nurture. Eugene is in an orange shirt and pants, while everyone else is wearing grey. He is in a church, following everyone else's movement; praying while walking. He later splits from everyone else and starts exploring the church. He bangs the cross podium, asking why. As he is dancing, someone fixes him into a praying stance, and walks him to his seat. The priest and one half of the church start talking passionately to each other, while Eugene and his side of the church are silent. One amazing thing to notice about this scene is the color of the people’s clothing. Some people in the church are wearing white, while others are wearing black. This is significant because the color black absorbs light and let’s it in. White reflects things and pushes them away. In the beginning, everyone else was wearing grey, so maybe their religion changed their beliefs and now they are wearing either black or white. This is why one side of the church yelling was wearing white along with the priest, and the other side was wearing black. This means the people in the white are pushing away the LGBTQ+ community, while the people in black are accepting them. Since the priest and white side of the church are yelling, it could be that they are talking about how homosexuality is a sin, while the black side of the church are silent because they do not want to speak out again the church.
The yellow scene is about love. Eugene is dressed in a yellow vest and pants. Eugene sees a woman and starts dancing with her, until a man arrives. He catches Eugene's eye and Eugene is drawn to him. They start dancing together, and the woman is trying to keep up with them. Eventually she lets them go, wearing black meaning she is encouraging them. Eugene and the male have chemistry with each other and keep dancing. This scene represents the first love Eugene had in his life.
*TW; Gun Violence*
The green is about community. You can see Eugene dressed as a ritzy drag queen with his friends. They are all dancing, and having a great time. One amazing detail is how this scene is mirroring the red scene, where Eugene and his family are sitting in their living room. This could mean Eugene thinks of his drag family as his real family. As they are dancing, a man in white comes in, his hand forming a gun gesture. Many of Eugene’s friends drop to the floor. This represents the Orlando nightclub massacre, where 49 people were killed at a gay bar. Eugene is then pulled to the floor by a group of hands wearing white.
*TW; Blood and Violence*
The Blue scene is about hate. Eugene is on the street, getting beaten up mercilessly by people wearing white. All he is wearing is a pair of jeans. The abusers leave him on the ground, bleeding and begging for help. His mother and brother come into the scene dressed in black, trying to help him get up, but his sister and father are dressed in white, pushing him back down and tearing him away from his mother and brother. They start fighting, leaving Eugene alone. He looks weak, bleeding everywhere and unable to get up.
The purple scene is about pride. Eugene is in a stunning, violet gown. As he is walking toward the camera, there are people coming in. Some are wearing black, some are wearing white. The people in white are pushing him around, and mouthing awful slurs to him. The people in black are trying to hug him and protect him from the people in white. Even though he is getting pushed around, he is still standing tall. When he stops walking, you can see people in the background arguing with each other. Some are verbal, some are physical. He stands unapologetically, showing he is still strong despite all the hate.
This video helped educate many on the life of LGBTQ+ people who are constantly facing bigotry. In the comments section of this video, you can see so many teens talking about how this video helped them come out to their families. It made them more comfortable with their sexuality, like this one comment that says “This is one of the few videos that helped me realize it was okay to be a lesbian.”
So many young teens have been trying to take their own lives after having people treat them awfully just because they are LGBTQ+. The Trevor Project is saving these teens' lives by reaching out to them and telling them they aren’t alone. Along with the video, Eugene has provided a link to the Trevor Project donation page where you can donate to save more LGBTQ+ lives. So far this community has raised over $140,000. If you can, please consider donating to this project.
In an interview with Hannah Hart, Eugene says “As a kid, I wasn't even aware that I was gay at that point. I wasn't aware about the boxes of my own culture and that society was trying to already put me in.” He was surrounded by borders that wouldn’t allow him to realize who he really was. We should be telling his story and the millions of other young children to the whole world, instead of hiding it as if it was a danger to society. As someone said in the comment’s section, “This wasn’t Eugene coming out as gay, this was Eugene coming out as Eugene.”
Written by writer Tara Kurup