Last Sunday, YouTuber Lilly Singh came out as bisexual on Instagram. In a simple caption, Singh described her bisexuality, femininity, and ethnicity as superpowers, and she encouraged her eight million followers to see themselves in the same empowering way.
With a social-media presence that includes over fourteen million YouTube subscribers, Singh’s announcement connects her to a community that has constructed its own Pride-filled corner of social media. In the lead up to the 41st Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras this Saturday, we think this corner deserves to be celebrated.
The “Coming Out” side of YouTube has become a key feature in the experience of many queer people. Many of us have taken tentative steps to acknowledging, and accepting, our queerness by clicking on that first video we found labelled “My Coming Out Story” and quickly deleting our search history immediately after. The experience of “coming out” can be full of diverse anxieties, so seeing someone look at you (even from the other side of a camera lens) and admit to something you’re just starting to recognise in yourself, is an important comfort that can’t be overstated.
For many people, creating or watching a public coming-out video connects them to a community that shares a similar, albeit diverse, experience. To dull the loneliness of coming out is no small feat, and even in a year when YouTube appeared to take a conservative turn, the “Coming Out” video is usually met with support by YouTube’s audience.
There are exceptions but let’s forget those exceptions for a moment – we’ll think about them the day after Mardi Gras (or maybe in the existential moment between ABBA montages and environmentally friendly glitter bombs during the Parade). Mardi Gras is a time for support and inclusion. At its best, it’s a space open to each person who comes out—for the first or 41st time—in fish-nets, heels or trackies and thongs – to enjoy a sense of belonging that is the cornerstone of the LGBTQI+ community.
So, here are some examples of coming out that are emotional, understated, old, new and as diverse as the community that receives them with open arms.
“Now I feel comfortable with myself, and I don’t have to be fearful about something damaging my career if it gets out, because now I’m in control of it—sort of. No one can hurt me now.”
In 1997, Ellen DeGeneres risked everything when she used an interview with the TIMES to confirm the rumours surrounding her character in 90s sitcom Ellen. More than twenty years later, her simple declaration, “Yep, I’m Gay”, is still empowering.
“It is something that is a part of me and has always been a part of me.”
With over seventeen million views, Ingrid Nilsen’s honest coming out video will have you reaching for the closest bedazzled rainbow tissue.
“There is courage in this room.”
Ellen Page has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQI+ issues ever since she used a quick aside during a “Time to Thrive” conference to come out to the world.
“This is not something that I’m ashamed of and it’s not something that anyone should have to be ashamed of.”
Five-years before he would be topping the charts with his music, Troye Sivan used an intimate YouTube video to admit that he was gay to his five million subscribers.
“And I’m like so gay dude.”
In 2017, Kristen Stewart used her opening monologue on SNL to take a jab at Donald Trump while officially coming out to a live audience and those Twi-hards who might be a bit too dedicated to Team Edward at this point.
Lilly Singh has consistently used her platform to promote acceptance, self-love and LGBTQI+ issues. Her understated caption is an empowering declaration to her fan base that has been met with an incredible outreach of support and love.
These five coming-out examples are just some of many that are sure to make a welcome contribution to your pump up playlist for Mardi Gras. You’ll be spending this Saturday drowning in a sentimental pride that’ll have you embrace your own “superpowers”.
Happy Mardi Gras everyone!