Sarah Dempsey is a 23 year old recent graduate from the University of Wolverhampton. She studied TV & Film Production and currently works as a filmmaker. Her documentary Hand in Hand was recently screened at the Lighthouse cinema in Dublin on the day of the marriage equality vote. She’s an out lesbian who has been in a wonderful long term relationship with her girlfriend, Orla. As Accelerate.LGBT heads to Dublin, I had the chance to interview her about her filmmaking, passion for YouTube, and her thoughts on the recent vote for marriage equality in Ireland.
What inspired you to jump on YouTube and share your story?
I started creating content back in 2010 with a video about the huge snowstorm we had in Dublin around Christmas time. From then on I started vlogging my friends and me in college. I became more involved in the community when I started subscribing to certain people like The Shaytards. My interests led to watching YouTube creators like Ally Hills, Hannah Hart, Tyler Oakley and Mark E Miller. Watching these YouTube creators coming out and living their lives happily as gay and lesbian and getting a lot of support helped me become more accepting of the LGBT community. This helped me as I came to terms with my own sexuality a little while later. It made me feel confident to be able to be myself off camera too and not be afraid to talk about it if I want.
How has the climate around LGBT issues changed since gay marriage was legalized in Ireland?
Since gay marriage was legalized I’ve felt so much more comfortable and proud living in Ireland. Holding my girlfriend’s hand without feeling anxious that we will be yelled at is such a great feeling. The feeling of acceptance and equality is really amazing as it was a huge fear of mine before I came out.
Why has YouTube been your chosen medium?
YouTube is my chosen medium because I am more interested about real people more than a made up character. Don’t get me wrong – I love watching shows like Dexter but there is something about sitting down and watching a person tell me about their life while they sit down in front of a camera that really captivates me. I feel connected to the person I watch and almost feel like I’m friends with them at times until I remember “I’ve never actually met this person or spoken to them” You don’t need a studio, a budget or a bunch of actors to create an entertaining bit of content. All you need is a camera and a story.
What are the biggest challenges facing LGBT people in Ireland?
I think the biggest challenges facing LGBT people in Ireland would be in the younger community. I often wonder if I had been sat down in school and given more information about how being LGBT is completely normal would I have come out sooner? A lot of younger people self harm or even commit suicide because they’re gay and the thought of coming out and not being accepted terrifies them. If only they knew the joy and the amazing feeling of falling in love with someone, I think things could have ended very differently. They aren’t being taught this in school though and I think that needs to change.
How has the LGBT community in Ireland impacted you?
When I came out to myself first in 2013 I became involved with a record label called Toast Office Records. About 80% of the artists were LGBT and I became friends with them which opened me up to the LGBT scene in Dublin. I spoke to some of them about how scared I was to come out and their advice was incredible. I’ve met so many LGBT people in my life since then that have opened me up the gay scene in Dublin and LGBT events also. I’ve even gone to the well known PantiBar with my mother for a few drinks. My whole family is so supportive. I’m so lucky.
Why are you excited about this event?
I’m really excited for Accelerate.LGBT because it is such an amazing way for people who have the same interests as each other and to pass on other interests as well. It’s a great way to gain knowledge on how to grow your blog or, in my case, your YouTube channel. It’s also a great way to collaborate with other bloggers and vloggers. Also, it’s been a dream of mine to hang out at Google for a while!
Who/what inspires you on a daily basis?
The person who inspires me the most is without a doubt my girlfriend. She motivates me and shows me that I’m capable of anything. She calls me out when I need it and also encourages me to go for the things I know I can do!