Photography by Ryan Pfluger in Brooklyn on September 10, 2015. Styling by Michael Cook. Groomer: Angela DiCarlo. Shirt and jacket by Original Penguin.
As a Google employee, Raymond Braun spent three years leading LGBT marketing and partnerships for YouTube, a gig that landed him on the Forbes “30 Under 30” List, and saw him originate YouTube’s first-ever LGBT marketing campaign, #ProudToLove. This summer, he took leave from his post to serve as an on-site correspondent while partnering with nonprofits such as HRC, and was on the front lines for the year’s biggest LGBT milestones, including marriage-equality victories in Ireland and the U.S. For this native of a small, conservative town in Ohio, the Internet has always been an identity-shaping “lifeline,” and this fall, Braun left his YouTube gig to form his own media company and digital channel, and share that lifeline with others. “There’s never going to be a perfect moment to make your dreams happen,” he says. “I encourage everyone to take the leap sooner rather than later. If you’re waiting for a sign, here it is.”