'State of Pride' documentary peeks into the lives of LGBTQ youth in the US

Activist Raymond Braun's YouTube documentary, 'State of Pride,' explores the meaning of pride to LGBTQ youth in communities across the country.
6:50 | 06/28/19

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Transcript for 'State of Pride' documentary peeks into the lives of LGBTQ youth in the US
Pride is a celebration. Pride is protest. Pride is empowering. Pride is a party. Pride is political. Pride is love. Reporter: With the 50th anniversary of the stone wall rebellion this month, internet star journalist and lgbtq activist Raymond Braun is asking, what is the state of Since stone wall pride has been a looking-glass into the lgbtq community. Reporter: He spent last June traveling around the country for his documentary, "State of pride" available for free on YouTube. People have been doing this a long time. We owe it to our elders that we get to be here today. Happy pride, everybody! There are so many closet lgbtq kids who have written me and said, turned off my lights, put my headphones in and watched the documentary, because I can't go to pride. But because I watched this documentary, I feel like I did. Reporter: Braun says he relates to those closeted kids. I was gay from as early as I could walk on the -- Look at you. I grew up in a small, rural, conservative town in northwest Ohio. I didn't see any openly gay men, any trans people, any binary people. When I say I didn't know how to go into the closet, I think this demonstrates that. I mean, hello. Reporter: We learn to use social media to create social change at Stanford university and landed a job in YouTube's marketing debate, quickly showing how YouTube could elevate. I created this #to love. Within the context of the debate for marriage equality. Reporter: That hash tag brought in millions of views, the massive success raising his profile and landing him a spot on Forbes 30 under 30. That was my first foray into realizing how powerful social media can be and creating powerful messages. Reporter: He ended up leaving his job to start his own YouTube channel which he uses to connect with the lgbtq plus community, his documentary, a natural extension of that mission. What was your first wreck recollection of pride? I would watch YouTube videos, coming out stories. I remember one of the first videos I saw, that I was like, oh, my god, there's a lot of gay people in the world. Reporter: Braun says he was most impacted by the small town pride celebrations where the turnout can be low, but the risks of attending can be high. I think would be cool if some of the lgbtq folks in big cities, go to a pride that's a little under the radar. Reporter: Pride events in small towns across America owe their existence to those who risked it all 50 years ago at the stone wall uprising, an event that sparked a movement explored in the docuseries, "1969." We could be openly who we were. Reporter: The stone wall inn in New York City had become a refuge for the city's lgbt community. It had no license. Because you couldn't serve alcohol to a known homosexual because you'd probably lose your license. Every few weeks they'd come in and raid the place. Reporter: On June 28, 1969, one of those raids would take an unexpected turn. There's maybe 30 or 40 people gathered in the street. Another policeman came out and said something to one of the queens, and one of the queens screamed something back at him. And that's where it all began. Windows were broken. The police called for reinforcement. And it got a little out of hand. We were fighting, and it was for our lives. We all decided to break off the shackles of 2,000 years of oppression. It was out loud, proud and gay! People see pride parades for a backdrop for a cute Instagram photo and are not thinking about the history, activism, protest and the trail blazer whose made it possible for us to celebrate the way we do today. Reporter: Earlier this month, an apology decades in the making from the New York City police department. The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong, plain and simple. The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize. That was a step in the direction of healing for a lot of people. Reporter: But there's still many in the community who do not feel safe. I was at work, and this Y, he's like, I'm not going to be served by this him, she, whatever it is. I learned from early age that it's not okay for me to be the friend. They almost killed me. Many lgbtq youth continue to be bullied pervasively in 2019. Trans women of color are still being murdered and discriminated against Three trans women have been targeted in the last seven months. You could be facing discrimination for being black, for being a woman and for be being transgender. The data is there. It's no secret that black trans women are being murdered at a very high rate. As long as lgbtq people are facing any form of discrimination, pride is still relevant. I've always thought about how powerful it is for young lgbtq kids, particularly those who are closeted can identify with those on television. And I know there is a kid sitting at the kitchen table right now while his parents are watching this same exact seg segment. To see the full episode of ABC's "1969", stream it on the ABC app or go to ABC news.com. Be sure to tune in Sunday morning at 11:00/10:00 central.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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