Sarah James explains how watching coming out stories on YouTube made her feel empowered
BY SARAH JAMES
Growing up, series like The L Word were slightly dated, meaning I didn’t really have a particular TV series or film that I thought accurately represented lesbian relationships. After getting hooked on Lip Service and finishing that pretty quickly, (still devastated there’s no season 3) I found myself in the dismal pit of the gay and lesbian section of Netflix, no such luck there.
I think now, films and TV shows only pick a certain aspect of lesbian relationships to portray, such as coming out. The problem with this for viewers is that coming out is so different for everyone, making it hard for people to relate. I was looking for queer women and characters on screen that I could really relate to – coming out can be a bit of a lonely experience if you’re the only gay in the village. Although some lesbian TV and films can be great entertainment, there are few which I feel just reinforce typical lesbian stereotypes, which can get pretty boring and predictable seeing as we do come in various shapes and sizes.
That’s where YouTube comes in, and where I came across Ellen Page’s coming out speech at the Time To Thrive Conference:
“Love is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being. And we deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame, and without compromise.”
After watching her video for the ninth time crying, thousands more coming out videos were popping up, and it was pretty incredible to see a group of young, confident women, each sharing their unique stories on screen. I doubt they knew then how helpful it was for young teens to be able to easily access this kind of online support system. I remember thinking back then how watching these videos made me feel empowered, and for the first time, I felt that it was ok to be myself because I had discovered this safe space filled with other women who were going through the same struggles I was.
Many people underestimated the power of these new age social platforms, until now, where we are experiencing these talented speakers and vloggers who started out on the YouTube platform, gain the recognition needed to influence a large number of people and drive real change.
For young people today who are looking for solidarity while trying to find the strength to come out, YouTube can be a godsend. It’s so accessible, and with so many coming out vlogs being uploaded, it doesn’t take long to find the one that you’ll feel connected to in some way.
Shout out to these brave influencers for sharing their stories, addressing real-world issues and helping the next generation of LGBT individuals, I’m confident that the world needs more Rose and Rosies.
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