Influencer Matt Bernstein has message for ‘queer siblings’ amid hate from bigots and trolls

Matt Bernstein smiles with his award at the PinkNews Awards 2022 event. (PinkNews)

New York-based influencer Matt Bernstein has called for his “queer siblings to take care of themselves” amidst toxic American politics. 

The makeup and lifestyle content creator with over 1.2 million followers on Instagram has been praised for being open about their experiences growing up gay and consistently supporting the queer community on their platform.

His work as an influencer bagged him Influencer of the Year at the PinkNews Awards 2022, supported by joint headline sponsors Lloyds Banking Group and United Airlines, but they understand there is still a long way to go before the world is a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. 

“In the US, we’re dealing with such a forceful backlash from the right,” they tell PinkNews.

He continues: “I want everyone to protect themselves. I have so many people messaging me, ‘How do I deal with this at my dinner table? How do I deal with this in my hometown?'”

Matt Bernstein makes speech at PinkNews awards 2022. (PinkNews)

Bernstein says the truly silenced people were young LGBTQ+ people without a voice. (PinkNews)

“It’s so hard when you’re young and don’t know your place in the world to turn on the TV and see how many people are trying to legislate against your right to exist and your rights for yourself. I want my queer siblings to just take care of themselves.”

Matt Bernstein has not been shy in sharing the hate that he receives online from trolls, but says: “I turn off my phone a lot,” he explains, “I do gymnastics and I try to find things to do that force me to put my phone down. Because that’s what you have to do.”

And for any LGBTQ+ creators hoping to build a platform of their own, Bernstein warns it is “probably not for everyone” but believes content should “come from the heart” and “contribute positively to conversations”.
The 22-year-old also didn’t beat around the bush in their award acceptance speech, calling out JK Rowling and emphasising that the truly silenced people were young LGBTQ+ people without a voice.

“I read an article that said JK Rowling is being silenced, then why do I have to hear from her every day,” he said.

“Do you know who’s being silenced – queer kids in rural areas with no LGBTQ+ supportive resources.

“We know that they’re being silenced because we never hear from them. They are silent and that’s what being silenced means.”