Tyler Oakley might be renowned for his sunny disposition online, but in real life the social media star has overcome his fair share of inner turmoil.
The author, presenter and YouTube star is one of three young members of ‘Generation Hope’ who appear on the cover of Attitude’s May issue – available to download and in shops now – showcasing the new generation of LGBT activists providing a much-needed counterpoint to an increasingly fearful world.
As Tyler calls on a new generation of LGBT people to rally against the hatred currently being espoused by the Trump administration, he opens up about the personal struggles that have shaped his own outlook on the world, including body image issues during his teen years which saw him develop an eating disorder that gradually chipped away at his self-worth.
“It was a time when I was unsure about myself and insecure,” Tyler admits.
“I would look at myself, based on my size, or how I looked, and I would see this disconnect.”
The 28-year-old continues: “I thought I was unlovable, and not just to others but to myself. I thought: this fucking sucks and here I am and this is what I have to deal with and this will be forever. It ruled my life.”
While his problems with food might not rule his day-to-day life anymore, Tyler says the battle against his eating disorder is one that will always be with him.
“I don’t think eating disorders ever really go away, it’s just something you learn to deal with better,” he explains.
“When you’re at the gym and you see the person next to you lifting and then you look at yourself, or when you get into a hot tub with friends, or you’re getting intimate with a partner, certain things creep back into how you think.
“And just because it’s not a part of your every-day, every-minute thing any more, it doesn’t mean it’s gone. It’s not really something I talk about. I guess I should, because had somebody talked about it back then, it would have helped me see a light at the end of the tunnel.”