I’ve been waiting on this news all year.
Yesterday in an extremely honest and heartfelt video, Connor Franta came out as gay. To many observant fans, this is not a huge shock. There had been whispers all year but a respectfulness was kept in the YouTube community. When Connor did come out yesterday it was on his own terms.
I was not expecting to be so moved by Connor’s story. I’ve seen many coming out story videos but none of them were so identical to my experience. There were moments in his video that hit me so hard. And I am sure for thousands of other gays and lesbians they felt similarly.
What I appreciated so much about Connor’s video was the authenticity. It explained so much: leaving O2L due to depression (repressing your sexuality can make you extremely depressed, kids), why he always seemed somewhat cagey or putting on a persona, and mostly what he was struggling to put into the words with the depression video. For many fans, the depression video served as a pre-coming out video. Connor showed, with this video and the aforementioned one, that coming out is not an entirely happy or easy experience. I feel like many YouTube videos gloss over the fears of coming out. Even if we have many, many people in our life who we know support us, the fear is letting OURSELF accept this information. Connor’s video hit me so hard because it took me back to the terror I felt years ago when I first accepted my sexuality. It is completely real.
Connor now joins a very diverse group of males who have come out in the past year. Country singers like Billy Gilman, Olympic medalists like Tom Daley and another YouTuber Troye Sivan all have released their own coming out stories in very memorable ways. The more men we have come out, the more we are putting an imprint in society’s mind of how beautifully different we all are.
Connor is now a member of a very large LGBT community on YouTube including Hannah Hart, Troye Sivan, Miles Jai and (unfortunately) Tyler Oakley–who couldn’t resist making the moment about himself by Tweeting he is the one Connor came out to first. (Take a seat, please.)
“The reason I’ve accepted this information is because of the internet.” Connor says near the end of the video. “I watched every coming out video probably four times. I’ve Googled. I’ve went into chat rooms. I’ve found every way online to talk about this or figure this out because I never felt comfortable talking about it to anyone.” In one day the video has already garnered 2 million views and been covered by USA Today. Connor is very aware that in the future this video will be used by many, many young LGBT members who are too afraid to come out.
My biggest hope for Connor, now that he’s out, is that he will finally get to create the content he wants and be the person in public that he wants to be. “I don’t want to have to think about everything I’m doing anymore,” he said. For many gay men, we feel an overwhelming sense of pressure to not come across as too gay or to play into a stereotype to appeal to the masses. I hope Connor does not feel that way. Be as gay as you want, baby, and love it.
I also hope that this gains a few more gay male fans for Connor. I feel like too often male YouTube stars are overshadowed by throngs of girls who only like the guy for being cute or funny. I’m ready to see more boys come out in their support or love for gay YouTubers because they are good role models. We should all support each other.
So congrats to Connor. We need more good, gay role models like you.