We are living in a time when inclusivity and diversity have moved beyond being buzzwords. They are not just mere terms – no matter what your cast or color is or what orientation or gender identity you have, we all are equal, deserving access to different opportunities and services etc. There was a time when being different meant being subjected to judgmental comments and treated as if you didn’t belong in a certain circle. This is exactly what the LGBTQ+ community had to go through as well. Hence, the majority of the queer community never came out of the closet.
Though it was no easy feat, people from the LGBTQ+ community started accepting their true identities and orientations while breaking stereotypes. Now they are living life on their own terms without the fear of being judged or considered an outcast. Over the past few years as the pride movement got stronger and social activists, such as content creators, writers, celebrities, and influencers, joined the cause, many not only accepted themselves but also embraced their truth.
Among such amazing and inspirational personalities, one name that stands out is none other than Arend Richard. He has always been vocal about things he feels strongly about and never backs out when the time comes to raise his voice and protest against injustice. Whether it’s banning and deleting his YouTube channel or the challenges faced by the queer community, he is indeed an inspiration for young adults to reckon with. Arend Richard, who rose to fame after he launched his own video streaming platform, The WeedTube, is also an acclaimed writer of the trilogy ‘Being Found’ that is based on LGBTQ+ characters.
Even though the man needs no introduction, as he has achieved so much in his life in a brief span of time, but his journey was not easy. Arend was bullied throughout his school days and was even kicked out of the house in his teenage years when his father found out about his true identity. However, he never lost hope and paved the way for video content creation. However, YouTube banned his account when he had almost reached 200K subscribers. In spite of the rejections and restrictions, Arend never looked back and that’s how it all started.
While doing exceptionally well as a content creator and social activist, in 2019, this multitalented personality came up with the idea of writing an inspirational Sci-Fi novel. Based on a gay character, ‘Being Found’ was written with the idea of inspiring young adults from all walks of life while taking them on a journey of self-discovery. The book follows the journey of Cameron, a guy in his early 20s who has some unique abilities that go completely unexplained his entire life until he finds Nick, a mysteriously handsome man with purple eyes from another planet. The story revolves around Nick and Cameron crossing galaxies and making efforts to save the Earth from destruction by an insect race of sentient beings. The first part of the trilogy, ‘Being Found’, was released in 2020 which was followed by the sequel, ‘Finding Home’ that came out in early 2022. The third book is on its way and will be released next year.
The books have received rave reviews from fans and critics alike. However, Arend had to face some challenges during the publishing process. Discussing about the issues, he shared, “I decided to publish the series on my own when the publisher I was working with advised me that making the main character straight would garner the series more attention and sales.” This shook the bestselling author to the core but he didn’t change the orientation of the character because the purpose of authoring the books would have been lost.
As a teenager, he always looked for books with gay characters in libraries but couldn’t find any. Writers always portray gay characters as funny sidekicks and never give them a lead role that can inspire the younger generation. Growing up, Arend would search for a juvenile gay character, but his efforts went in vain, and that is something he didn’t want the upcoming generation to experience.
Despite facing so many challenges throughout his life, he kept going with the faith that he would bring about a change in the world around him. ‘Being Found’ is an authentic representation of queer people and, in fact, by providing the youth with a role model who they can look up to is Arend’s way of helping the upcoming generation. Arend Richard believes that the obstacles one faces along the way is what helps them shape as a person. He is proud of his work and grateful for everything he has achieved so far.