Jeffrey Marsh

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Jeffrey Marsh
Marsh in 2023
Born1976 or 1977 (age 46–47)[1]
Years active2007–present
Alma materUniversity of the Arts (BFA)
Known forInspirational posts, podcasts, videos, talks on LGBTQ2+ topics

Jeffrey Earl Marsh[2] (born 1976 or 1977) is an American social media personality, best known for making viral videos on Vine, Instagram, and TikTok. Marsh identifies as non-binary and addresses a variety of topics through their[a] content, including LGBTQ2+ issues, mental health and personal development.

Early life and education[edit]

Marsh was born in York, Pennsylvania, to Steven and Stacy Marsh, and grew up on a farm nearby.[3] Stacy was a Lutheran pastor.[3] Marsh has spoken about having felt misunderstood during a self-identified rough childhood, though they felt supported by their parents, describing their parents as their biggest fans.[3]

Marsh attended Spring Grove Area High School[4] in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, and the William Penn Performing Arts Institute at William Penn Senior High School in York.[3] Marsh graduated from Spring Grove Area High School in 1995.[3][5]

Marsh attended college at the University of the Arts[6] in Philadelphia and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Arts in 1999,[7] later moving to New York City to pursue a career in cabaret performance[8] before becoming an internet celebrity[9] and youth advocate in the LGBTIQ community.[10]

Career[edit]

Live performance and cabaret[edit]

While living in Philadelphia after college, Marsh was a local performance artist, hosting a weekly cabaret at L'Etage produced by Robert Drake of WXPN public radio.[citation needed] Marsh's show, An Evening with Jeffrey Marsh, was one of the founding performances of the Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian Theater Festival.[11]

After moving to New York City in 2007, Marsh began performing as part of the downtown cabaret scene.[12] Marsh appeared at popular venues including Joe's Pub[13] and Don't Tell Mama. At Dixon Place, they starred in "Julian", a 2010 musical based on the life of vaudeville performer Julian Eltinge.[14] In 2012, Marsh was commissioned to create a performance art piece honoring Richard Simmons at the Museum of Art and Design.[15]

Social media[edit]

Marsh's Vines usually feature an affirming or empowering statement delivered directly to the camera, or a song, joke, or dance.[citation needed] Their most popular Vine to date, with over 26 million loops, shows Marsh saying, "I can predict the future, and you're going to be ok."[citation needed] It is the Vine that Bustle claims "broke Tumblr with its greatness."[16]

Mashable was the first mainstream media outlet to label Marsh the Internet's "anti-bully".[17] The Huffington Post has said of Marsh: "In the technological age, the face of activism has evolved along with the way in which we communicate. Marsh is part of a generation of LGBTQ activists who, through social media, are changing minds and perceptions in parts of the world where people may not encounter a queer person in their day to day lives."[18] Digg described Marsh's overall message as, "Be yourself. Be happy with yourself. Be more comfortable with your differences — and embrace and enjoy them."[19]

Marsh is the official social media ambassador and red carpet correspondent for the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN),[20] working closely with the organization on their #BeYourSelfie campaign.[citation needed] Marsh interviewed several celebrities, including Zachary Quinto and J.J. Abrams, on the red carpet at the 2015 GLSEN Respect Awards.[21]

Marsh created a vine for GLAAD's #LoveWins campaign[22] (celebrating marriage equality) and helped create the #GotYourBack campaign with the media awareness group's staff.[23] Marsh has also worked with The Trevor Project to prevent teen suicide, through their #HeartYourself hashtag campaign.[1]

Marsh also created the #NoTimeToHate myself and #DontSayThatsSoGay campaigns on Vine to combat homophobia and bring awareness to genderqueer identity.[19]

About Vine, Marsh told Digg, "I make Vines as a time machine, I'm making them for my 10-year-old self back in Pennsylvania on the farm. Which, as I've come to find out, there are a lot of 10-year-old 'me's' around. [My Vines] are a way to bring healing to everybody, including me."[19] One of Marsh's Vines was chosen #5 in BuzzFeed's list of the top Vines of 2014.[24] It depicts Marsh saying, "Don't forget: you have as much of a right to be here as anyone else." Because of their viral popularity, they were awarded the title "Vine's Transgender Superheroine" by Digg.[19]

In 2016, CBS described Marsh as "the internet's most beloved anti-bully."[20]

Print and other media[edit]

Marsh is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, where they have also been interviewed.[25]

In August 2016, Marsh released their first book, How to Be You, via Penguin Random House.[26][27] The book is Marsh's own story of "growing up fabulous in a small farming town," and also serves as a workbook, inviting readers to participate in activities and answer questions about how they do the things they do. NBC News describes the book as "part memoir, part self-help, but also a workbook," and "'a love letter' to Marsh's 11-year-old self."[28] Marsh said in an interview with Digital Journal that the book is influenced by their practice of Buddhism.[1]

In conjunction with the release of the book How to Be You, they also became a regular contributing writer for Time magazine[29][30] and Oprah.com.[31][32]

After The New York Times tweeted a cartoon portraying presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin as a gay lovers, Marsh said: "There seems to be no greater insult than comparing someone to a queer. For an LGBTQ youth, it's not background noise. When it comes up on their feed it feels like a direct personal attack, and to have a group that's as well-established as the New York Times personally attacking you feels horrendous."[33]

Criticism[edit]

Marsh's videos have on several occasions been criticized for targeting children,[34] Marsh's videos in which they invite viewers with unsupportive parents to privately speak with them through Patreon has been criticized due to their lack professional qualifications and oversight of a professional body.[35]

In 2023, Shumirun Nessa, a UK-based TikToker, published a video calling on Marsh to "stop telling kids to go on your Patreon and chat to you privately without their parents knowing". Nessa said that due to this, she and her children were targeted and harassed by Marsh's followers; citing she received emails that included her daughter's name and her current address, as well as having her car vandalized.[36][37] As of March 2023, Marsh's Patreon subscription is limited to 18+ members.[35]

Personal life[edit]

Marsh identifies as non-binary and uses they as a pronoun[38] and "Mx." as a gender-neutral title.[39] Marsh has also identified at various times as a gay man, queer, genderqueer, and genderfluid.[1]

Marsh is a Buddhist.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Wilson, A. R. (August 30, 2016). "Vine star and LGBTQ activist Jeffrey Marsh on 'How To Be You' (Includes interview)". Digital Journal. Archived from the original on July 15, 2021. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  2. ^ "Scholarship winners". The Evening Sun. Vol. 174, no. 35 (Sunday ed.). Hannover, Pennsylvania. April 18, 1999. p. B-4 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ a b c d e Streeter, Leslie Gray (September 1, 2002). "Seven Valleys native lives on the Fringe". York Sunday News. Vol. 75, no. 35. pp. F1, F4 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Honor Rolls". The York Dispatch (Home ed.). December 8, 1994. p. A8 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Spring Grove Area High School graduates". The York Dispatch (Home ed.). June 8, 1995. p. E8 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Merges, Hank (April 6, 1999). "Groups move toward merger". The York Dispatch (Home ed.). p. A2 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ The University of the Arts. Commencement. May 20, 1999. The University of the Arts. May 20, 1999. p. 6 – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ "Book Soup with Jeffrey Marsh". August 27, 2016. Archived from the original on August 27, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  9. ^ "An Interview with Jeffrey Marsh". Archived from the original on September 13, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  10. ^ Hoff, Victor. "Meet Jeffrey Marsh". LGBT Weekly. Archived from the original on October 13, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  11. ^ Whittington, Lewis (June 5–11, 2003). "Taking the Stage". Philadelphia City Paper. Archived from the original on March 13, 2023. Retrieved September 7, 2016 – via mycitypaper.com.
  12. ^ "Mixed Bag". mycitypaper.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2021. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  13. ^ BWW News Desk. "Joe's Pub Presents 29 by Gaby Alter, Willie Nile". BroadwayWorld.com. Archived from the original on May 10, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  14. ^ Hunka, George (February 11, 2010). "Julian at Dixon Place". Culturebot. Archived from the original on September 17, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  15. ^ Piepenburg, Erik (June 28, 2012). "VHS Film Retrospective at Museum of Arts and Design". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on May 30, 2017. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  16. ^ Lord, Emma (August 31, 2015). "Jeffrey Marsh's Inspirational Vines Will Soothe Your Soul In Less Than 6 Seconds". bustle.com. Archived from the original on May 9, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  17. ^ "Jeffrey Marsh: Vine Star, LGBTQ Activist, and Anti-Bully", Mashable, October 31, 2014, archived from the original on May 6, 2022, retrieved March 11, 2016
  18. ^ "Meet The Genderqueer Vine Star Changing Hearts And Minds One Hashtag At A Time". The Huffington Post. December 13, 2014. Archived from the original on February 9, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  19. ^ a b c d "Vine's Transgender Superheroine". digg.com. October 29, 2014. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Jeffrey Marsh, Viner Of The Year, Says Stop Trying to Be Someone Else and Start Living Your Life". cbslocal.com. Archived from the original on October 18, 2016. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  21. ^ "Jeffrey Marsh attends the GLSEN Respect Awards in Beverly Hills". UPI. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  22. ^ Vitto, Laura (June 26, 2015). "The most heartwarming reactions to same-sex marriage becoming legal across the U.S." Mashable. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  23. ^ "Members of GLAAD's staff star in #GotYourBack Vine with Jeffrey Marsh". GLAAD. March 13, 2015. Archived from the original on August 30, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  24. ^ "49 Of The Best Six-Second Videos From The Second Year Of Vine". BuzzFeed. January 22, 2015. Archived from the original on August 20, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  25. ^ Brekke, Kira (August 6, 2016). "Here's What It's Like To Be Genderqueer". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on September 7, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  26. ^ "How to Be You by Jeffrey Marsh | PenguinRandomHouse.com". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  27. ^ "The Gender Fluid Generation". KTLA. August 11, 2016. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  28. ^ "Genderqueer advocate Jeffrey Marsh on "How to Be You"". NBC News. September 8, 2016. Archived from the original on September 8, 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  29. ^ Marsh, Jeffrey. "How to Handle Trolls and Haters". TIME.com. Archived from the original on September 6, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  30. ^ Marsh, Jeffrey. "Social Media Star Jeffrey Marsh on How to Live Your Best Life". time.com. Archived from the original on August 31, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  31. ^ "QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Yourself?". oprah.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  32. ^ "The Vine Account You Need to Follow for Daily Inspiration". www.oprah.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  33. ^ "New York Times under fire for 'homophobic' cartoon of Trump and Putin". Reuters. July 18, 2018. Archived from the original on July 18, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  34. ^ Dickson, E. J. (April 21, 2022). "'No Mercy for Child Groomers': Far Right Targets LGBTQ TikToker Preaching Acceptance". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 14, 2023. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  35. ^ a b Power, Shannon (March 7, 2023). "Jeffrey Marsh controversy explained—Nonbinary activist videos spark concern". Newsweek. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  36. ^ Staff, Al Jazeera. "TikTok war erupts as Muslim woman criticises non-binary activist". www.aljazeera.com. Archived from the original on March 14, 2023. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  37. ^ Murphy, Meghan (March 14, 2023). "What's Current: City of Calgary proposes bylaw to impose buffer zone to protect drag story hours". Feminist Current. Archived from the original on March 14, 2023. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  38. ^ "Genderqueer advocate Jeffrey Marsh on "How to Be You"". NBC News. September 8, 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2023.
  39. ^ "Photos: For #TransWeek, these influencers show their lives #BeyondTheBinary". GLAAD. November 9, 2017. Archived from the original on July 15, 2021. Retrieved July 15, 2021.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Marsh uses they/them pronouns.