Since the early 2000s, social media has provided a place for unique, creative and thought-provoking talent. Marcus Oglesby — affectionately known as Lynn Spirit — has thrived in the digital space. His methods are simple: he showcases who he is and is unapologetic about it.
His journey began in Greensboro, North Carolina. Diagnosed at birth with a rare genetic condition known as hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, or HED, Oglesby was left with an inability to perspire or to grow hair or teeth. Growing up, he says he was subjected to bullying for things over which he had no control, namely his appearance and his sexual orientation.
Fast forward to the present day, Oglesby serves as an activist against LGBTQ bullying and shares his journey to self-acceptance with more than 1 million followers on YouTube and Instagram.
Rolling out sat down with him to learn more.
You’ve had many viral social media moments. Can you tell us about the first one?
I was riding in the car with my cousin, and Fantasia’s song “Free Yourself” came on the radio. I decided to record myself singing it. I can’t sing. Once I was done, I posted [it] on Facebook. The next morning, I woke up to thousands of followers, messages and likes. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe one of my videos had gone viral.
Can you share how much your life has changed since that video?
I remember walking around and people would look and stare at me for the way I looked. Now people walk up to me wanting pictures and tell me how much I inspire them. I love it. I’m very grateful.
What obstacles did you face in your journey?
Negative people will always be along for the ride. I had to block the negative comments on my social media and in my personal life. I also learned that everyone is not your friend. People have motives and you have to keep your eyes open and your ears listening.
Do you have a mantra that you follow?
My presence is my power. Anyone I’m around will feel my presence and the great spirit I carry with me. That is my power. That’s one reason I came up with the name Lynn Spirit. I love to give off good energy and inspire everyone.
What is your proudest achievement?
The proudest achievement I had was where I have come from and where I am today. I would have never thought I would be doing an interview for a well-known magazine. I’m so thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way.
You mentor youth in the LGBTQ community. Do you feel that representation helps with self-acceptance?
I do. The most challenging thing as an LGBTQ Black male is loving yourself and one another. It’s vital to love our flaws and embrace everything about ourselves. I took that pain and turned it into my testimony. I love who I see in the mirror.
Follow Oglesby at @lynnspirit on all social media platforms.