I first learned about Connor Franta through Tyler Oakley, when they did their Tarantula Challenge collab video and he’s sort of been on my radar since. Although I’d never had any proof, I’d always assumed that he might be gay, but considering the fact that he’d built his fanbase on the adoration of adolescent girls, coming out didn’t really seem like an option. Well, Connor gave that a swift kick in the ass with a coming out video posted to his channel yesterday, and I couldn’t be any happier for him!
In the video (which is kind of emotional, so you know), Connor talks about never having the courage to admit to himself that he was gay, let alone to anyone else. He admits that he tried dating girls like all his friends did but that when he kissed them, he felt “nothing”. Finally, though, he felt that he’d been living a lie for too long, and he was tired of always having to watch what he said and what he did; it was time to come out.
Whenever I watch one of these coming out videos, I remember my own coming out experience as a teenager (which now feels like an entire lifetime ago, but it really wasn’t) and it reaffirms to me that I did the absolute right thing. This constant fear, self-hatred and everyday performance (which is exactly what it is when you have to keep pretending to be something you’re not) are aspects common to almost every single closeted LGBT individual. It’s an awful feeling and it sucks royally, and it only ever really begins to go away when you’re finally able to say to people, “I am gay.” It breaks my heart that there are still so many people who can’t – or won’t – experience that freedom because of the bigotry and hatred around them. The most awful part is that it isn’t even limited to only LGBT youth, who we can one day hope to grow up and move from. There are adults… senior citizens even… who have to live every day of their lives in this state of depression. It’s terrible and it’s unfair.
However, something about Connor’s coming out video makes me really happy. Take a scroll through the comments section, and it is almost overwhelming the amount of positivity there. Ironically, the demographic which so many in the entertainment industry appear so terrified of alienating by having their “heartthrobs” come out, is the demographic which pours the most support onto LGBT individuals. Truly, if there is any group which seems the most enamoured by the LGBT community – to the point that it’s almost unsettling – it’s teenage girls. I think that that’s an incredibly optimistic sign that we’re headed for a far more tolerant society.