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Coming out in public

I had no idea who Ingrid Nilsen was until recently, but apparently she is a beauty guru on YouTube. As I don’t wear much make up and don’t tend to watch a lot of videos on YouTube this probably explains how she slipped under my radar. However, when I logged into my Internet I was greeted by headlines and articles informing me that she is gay. Clearly either this is huge news for the world or the Internet believes that because I am gay this is big news for me.

As I’d never heard of her I was unsure whether I was interested or not but I was meant to be doing other things and procrastination won. Enjoying my morning cup of tea I thought I might as well have a look at the ‘emotional’ video, clicked the link and watched this unknown woman’s coming out story. As it started I was thinking that it’s 2015 and we shouldn’t need these public declarations of gayness. Why can’t people just live their lives, love who they want and be accepted whether they are dating men or women? I have to admit that I thought nearly 20 minutes of ‘coming out’ was going to be a bit narcissistic and self-indulgent and that I’d watch for a few minutes and then get on with what I should be doing. In reality I watched until the end and felt every word that she spoke.

Her video was not only heartfelt and honest but you could sense the relief she felt at being able to admit her sexuality. Anyone who has ‘come out’ as anything that differs from the ‘norm’ will be able to relate and I found myself warming to this person who I had no idea even existed at the start of the day. Reading the comments I found the majority were positive and praised her for being brave, while there were a few that echoed my sentiments before watching the whole video – there’s no need to come out so publicly anymore as homosexuality is much more acceptable. However, after watching the video I have to conclude that I do think it is still necessary and the people who have a platform and use it to come out in public are still brave.

So yes, it may be 2015 and maybe we should now be living in a world where people don’t have to come out and declare their sexuality, but when you live in a society that assumes you are straight unless you declare otherwise you do tend to feel like you’re living a lie or hiding part of yourself unless you actively tell people that you aren’t. But it also goes deeper than simply correcting people’s assumptions. When you listen to someone talking about how they felt they needed to suppress their feelings for so long because they wanted love and acceptance, you realise that we really don’t live in a world where coming out is no longer necessary. Getting to the point of accepting who you are is such a huge achievement, so why shouldn’t it be shared with the world? It may seem self-indulgent but anyone who has built up the courage to come out, especially in such a public way, is doing so for many more reasons than to get attention or YouTube views.

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