How did you come out to your friends and family? Did you spend ages thinking about how you’d share the news with them, or did you just blurt it out over dinner one night? Everyone’s different, of course, but today, with society generally being more embracing toward the LGBTQ+ community than it used to be, you’d think that it would be much easier to come out than it would have been for previous generations.
And so perhaps it’s not that surprising that there’s an increased trend of people using social media to come out. For some, it’s the ultimate solution. For others, it’s the scariest method of all. Let’s take a look;
One of the best aspects of coming out via social media is that you only have to tell your story once, no matter how many people you know. Just in the same way that you might want to tell all your contacts about the last great holiday you had, or where you’re planning to travel to next year, you can update them all at once if you decide to come out.
As illustrated in this Lottoland article, the invention of social media has played a crucial role in the way that we communicate with each other. Imagine how many phone calls and face-to-face meetings you’d have had to have gone through when coming out in pre-internet and pre-social media times. Of course, it’s probably advisable to still have some of those conversations before you share your coming out news on social media.
Mums and dads, best mates and certain other acquaintances would probably much rather hear the news directly from you, and before you share it with the world via social media. However, when you’ve told those closest to you, using a social media post certainly makes it quicker and easier to tell everyone else.
In fact, you can let people know about your coming out without having to make it an official announcement. According to Facebook, many people indicate that they’re coming out simply by changing the gender that they’re attracted to on their profile. Data from the social media giant suggests that 1 in 10 people every day change their interested gender status.
And when The Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage in the States in June 2015, there followed a spike in coming-out instances on Facebook. In fact, by the end of that year, over 6 million Americans had chosen to come out on Facebook.
Other ways you can talk about your sexuality is by retweeting posts that cover LGBTQ+ issues or by liking LBGTQ+ events and organisations. People also make use of the rainbow filter on key LGBTQ+ dates, such as National Coming Out Day in the USA on 11 October. Of course, there are also straight and straight-leaning social media users who also use the rainbow filter to show that they are supportive of LGBTQ+ rights too – in the US alone, 26 million people used it on the day the same-sex marriage decision was made.
Facebook’s not the only social media outlet people use to come out. There are plenty of tweets about it, too, especially using hashtags such as #NationalComingOutDay, or sharing personal stories by tweeting @comingout_space. And then there’s the coming out video option with YouTube; kicked off by diver Tom Daley in 2013 and replicated by a number of different celebs as well as many, many members of the public. Check out some of the most viewed coming out YouTube videos here.
Every individual is different, and will have their own way that they want to come out. But it seems that the popularity of using social media to do so is a trend that’s set to continue.