YouTube star Ingrid Nilsen turned on her video camera to record a new video for her channel, something she does every week for her almost four million subscribers, but this time, she wasn’t filming her normal weekly beauty videos. She was telling the truth, her truth. On June 9, 2015, a shaky Ingrid confessed to the world, “I’m gay.”
Although news to her subscribers, she said, “This is something I have always known, from my earliest memories.” A more emotional Ingrid went on to say, “I’m shaking right now because…this moment is real… and it’s here… and I’ve been waiting for this a long time.”
Moving as it was, her coming out video was not the first, and certainly won’t be the last. Big names such as Shane Dawson, Joey Graceffa, Connor Franta, and even Miley Cyrus, although not on video, have turned to social media to come out.
Most of them are trying to make it as real as possible. Shane Dawson said in his video, “I didn’t want to turn on my camera and my lights, I didn’t want to do my hair. I just wanted to turn on my computer and talk to you guys.”
YouTube viewer reactions have been very positive. Other YouTubers have been uploading videos praising and supporting people coming out, and this in turn causes more and more people around the world to come to terms with themselves and talk with their loved ones about how they feel and who they truly are.
SAS freshman Teagan Mountcastle said, “YouTubers target the younger audience whereas other methods do not, so if YouTubers are saying ‘I’m gay’ and I want you to know this but I don’t want it to define me, then they are gonna believe that.”
People turning to YouTube to come out have positively affected other YouTube creators as well as their viewers. SAS sophomore Clara Granados said, “I think it’s a good way to spread awareness that people identify as different things and everyone needs to be accepting of that…It makes battling your sexuality less of an abnormal thing.”
YouTubers have definitely opened a huge door for struggling teens and have made accessing information a lot easier. When YouTubers share their own experiences, they do so with a certain level of caution, knowing that the “haters” of the Internet will be quick to respond. But with that caution also comes a community of people who appreciate their candid stories and may even grow from it.
When YouTube star Ingrid Nilsen uploaded her video on June 9, 2015, she took the risk of putting herself out there, but that wasn’t the end of the story for Ingrid. On June 10, Perez Hilton took to his website to congratulate Ingrid, and on August 10 she was nominated for a Teen Choice Award. On Sept. 15, an 11 year old fan commented on Ingrid’s video, thanking her for helping her better understand herself.
As Ingrid’s video comes to an end she leaves us with an important message, “I want to live my life unapologetically because I am proud of who I am, and I’m not going to apologize for that anymore.”