For most, a pillar of the queer millennial experience was ‘stanning’ YouTubers and creators, to one day be presented with a ‘coming out video’ that you would play on repeat. Listening to Troye Sivan and Connor Franta say how they always knew there was something ‘different’ about them while deconstructing our personal differences in real-time.
At the height of Youtube, circa 2012-2015, coming-out videos were a popular form of media. We’re willing to bet a lot that you’ve seen at least one coming out video in your time on the internet. But why did we all (yes, all) flock to them? Was it the harmless sense of solidarity they allowed us, or is there a loftier reason for this coming out video trend?
Solidarity aside, there are many possible reasons why these videos carry so many hits. Ingrid Nilsen’s video sits at 18 million, Franta’s at 12 million. Fundamentally, they act as a vehicle for the queer experience and information. The way the information is shared is accessible both in terms of the conversational tone and platform. Honestly, this is why we think coming out videos solidified themselves as super important queer resources of the early 2000s. They just got us.
In Franta’s coming out video, he addresses the videos as being a vehicle for information: “The reason I accepted this information (being gay) was because of the internet. I watched every coming-out video possible, four times. I went on google, I went to chatrooms, and I found every way online to talk about this and to figure it out. I never felt comfortable actually talking about it to anybody. So I’m making this for anybody that needs it – it’s okay.”
Ultimately, isn’t that what we all want to hear?
From the human interest perspective, our creation and engagement with coming out videos could stem from the perverse human desire to witness a secret life; it stimulates excitement within us. Mary C. Lamia addresses desire and secret-keeping in Psychology today: Secrets are seductive, irresistible, provocative, and exciting. Secrecy involves the intentional concealment of information from others. Deception in the form of having secrets is deeply ingrained in human communication.” Once a secret is unveiled, it’s not a secret anymore, right? But instead, it can become a revelation, one that is so important to so many.
This sense of knowing deepens our parasocial connections to these influencers. I mean, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t want to be besties with most of them- pride with Rose and Rosie anyone?
As Sivan says in his coming-out video, “It feels kind of weird to have to announce it like this on the internet, but I feel like a lot of you guys are like real genuine friends of mine.” Through sharing information like this, influencers simulate intimacy with their viewers and make us feel close to them which is something we hadn’t really seen in the media before.
There are both superficial and complex reasons as to why we enjoy watching ‘coming out’ videos but really we think they’re an amazing platform for people to share such an important part of themselves if they want to and something great to turn to for comfort. If you watch them, ask yourself, what is being stimulated?
Do you have a favourite/comfort coming out video? Let us know! And if you’re interested in reading more coming out stories, check out our selection here!
Team Nonchalant x