#ComingOut

Try to Contain the Feelings As You Watch These LGBT Elders Give Some Advice to Their Younger Selves

As members of the LGBTQ+ community there are many times we may wish we had the guidance or advice from an older person who has lived through similar experiences. We are not as openly afforded the opportunities to engage in dialogue with those who have difficult coming out stories, advice for countering bullying, or getting your heart broken. In turn, many older generations may wish that growing up they had as much freedom of expression that today’s youth may have when it comes to sexuality. Perhaps the era or region they lived in was a roadblock for complete happiness and they have had to learn about love and loss through decades of struggle.

Wouldn’t it be nice that we could talk to our younger selves and impart the wisdom we have gained? Every season the contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race do this as an exercise in sensitivity. Last week we heard the top four, Asia, Aquaria, Eureka, and Kameron, talking to their younger selves begging them to never give up on their dreams and to fight through pain and anguish.

The mentoring of one another is crucial in our community. We should uplift and support one another for the sake that there may be no one else in someone’s life that could or would understand. If you think about you’ve learned in life up until this point, wouldn’t you go back and talk to your younger self if you could? Maybe it would be a warning, praise you never gave yourself, or a simple acknowledgment that you matter. Obviously, this isn’t possible, but these same words could save another person’s life. Someone who is feeling the same things or going through the struggles of identity and trying to find their place on this earth.

Digital Storyteller, Davey Wavey, collaborated with the LGBT Community Center of the Desert in Palm Springs, CA and created this truly inspiring video of elders in the LGBT community speaking to their younger selves.

Davey says:

While today's world is far from perfect, there's no doubt that the LGBT community has enjoyed considerable progress over the last half century. That progress, in many ways, was only made possible through the sacrifices, sweat, blood and tears of our community's elders. And yet, our LGBT elders are underrepresented and often invisible and the very community they helped to create. The reality is, our elders deserve to be seen, respected, celebrated and heard. And when we listen, they have a great deal of wisdom and advice to offer us. Whatever it is that we are going through, they've been there - and there's no need to reinvent the wheel with each generation. It's my hope that this video is a step in the transference of that wisdom from one generation to the next.

Watch this video that will speak to your mind, your heart, and that 8-year-old self wondering about the big complicated world around you:

 

 

If you could speak to your younger self, what would you say?

h/t: Davey Wavey YouTube

 

"Everything, Everything" Star Amandla Stenberg Came Out As Gay

Amandla Stenberg is coming out (again), but this time as gay.

Hunger Games and Everything, Everything actor Amandla Stenberg is sharing that she's fallen in love with a new label.

The young star has played around with several different labels since she became famous for her role in the original Hunger Games and her viral video about cultural appropriation (which came out around this time three years ago).

Before this recent announcement, she has called herself queer, bisexual, pansexual, and gender fluid. On top of that, she’s created queer-centric projects such as the short film Blue Girls Burn Fast and a cover of Mac DeMarco’s “Let My Baby Stay.”

Now in an interview with Wonderland, she’s sharing that she identifies as gay.

While you can read that interview in print now and online on Monday, Stenberg gave a hint as to the contents of the conversation in a recent Instagram post.

In the post she states, “So happy to say the words Yep, I’m Gay in official print.”

She also added, “We talk about gay sobbing, first encounters with lesbian masturbation, queer icons, Toni Morrison, disillusionment as a critical step, the art I’ve been working on, and the films that I have coming out this year.”

We look forward to giving the interview a full read.

Troye Sivan Covers BILLBOARD For Its First-Ever Pride Issue

Out pop tart Troye Sivan covers Billboard Magazine for its first-ever official Pride issue this week.

In a candid interview, Sivan opens up about coming out, the incredible rocket ship ride that is his career and how he feels being a face of the ever-evolving LGBTQ community.

“I do feel a little bit like a guinea pig sometimes,” Sivan tells Billboard. “That the world or the press or whatever is sort of using me and a bunch of other young people right now as education points, [like] we’re teaching the world about all of these different things.”

The “My My My” singer also notes that he’s in a fortunate situation to create the music he wants without much interference from his label.

“I’m lucky enough to exist in 2018 where I have a record label that’s like, ‘Write whatever you want to write.’ I don’t have to hide anything,” says the 23-year-old.

“I’m honored to have this opportunity to write an album about my relationship, but in the process, be writing an album that I’m hoping is going to mean more, because I didn't have albums like that growing up.

"Just by the nature of who I am, the idea of writing openly and not watering stuff down for a straight audience ... If I’m being honest about my life then, you know, I am writing about nights like [ones in] ‘My My My!’ or ‘Bloom.’"

His songs already garner attention for their overt sexual tones. The title track for his pending sophomore album, Bloom (due out August 31), appears to be the first anthem to bottoming: “Take a trip into my garden / Might tell you to / Take a second, baby, slow it down.”

And another song on the  upcoming album, “Seventeen,” is about an older man the pop star met online. The relationship, labeled “taboo” by many, has primed Sivan to prep his eventual response to the reactions.

“I’m worried because I don’t want to ever come across that I’m condoning that or anything like it,” says Sivan. “But I felt, greater than all of those worries, a responsibility to tell that true story -- of the curious gay kid who puts himself in some kind of shady situation to find a connection, like all of us crave.”

Billboard goes in-depth with Sivan about his coming out journey which apparently began with a four-hour conversation with a teen friend at the age of 14. It was a short time later, at 15, he told his parents. 

The experience was positive says Sivan. “They leapt immediately into, ‘Are you OK? How can we equip you to deal with this?’” 

In fact, his first Pride parade became a family affair.

“They were like, ‘Oh, we’re 100 percent coming,’” recalls Sivan, smiling at the memory. “Even though it was mildly embarrassing -- I walked in the parade with my parents and my [two] brothers and my sister -- it was cool because I realized that they weren't just tolerant of their gay son, they were stoked and proud.”

The article is a great read for fans. And for its insight into how artists are ‘happening’ without having to take the traditional route of catering to a mainstream straight audience first on the journey to success.

Sivan dropped his latest track from Bloom, a duet with Ariana Grande titled, “Dance To This.”

The Aussie artist says it's "about how, after a while, all of these parties and nights out kind of start to blur, and you get to the point where staying at home and making food and making out in the kitchen sounds like the ideal night.”

Check it out below.

 

 

Ricky Martin "I Wish I Could Come Out Again Because It Felt Amazing"

Stopping by ABC’s Popcorn with Peter Travers, pop superstar Ricky Martin chatted about his recent acting turn as Gianni Versace’s boyfriend Antonio D’Amico in FX’s "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" series which could earn the 46-year-old his first Emmy Award nomination.

Along the way, the subject turned to Martin’s positive outlook on life and the “Shake Your Bon-Bon” singer became effusive about how liberating coming out as gay was for him.

In fact, he says he wishes he could come out again.

“I always say this, I wish I could come out again because it felt amazing,” Martin said. “The freedom, the feeling of liberation was so powerful, that’s what I mean by saying I wish I could come out again because it just felt amazing." 

"And then after that, people coming to me and saying 'Thank you so much for coming out. Because of you, I understand my father better. I understand my sister better.' So it’s an important thing to do.”

With LGBT Pride celebrations in full swing, the Latin hunk beamed with his message of self-acceptance.

“For those out there that are struggling with their identity, everything is going to be fine,” Martin said. “Just be yourself. Love yourself.”

The 46-year-old father of two also touched on how he’d feel if his kids were to come out.

“I don’t know, my kids are too young, but I wish they were gay,” he said. “It is a very special thing. The sensitivity, the way I see now, that I don’t have to hide in any way shape or form. I see colors. And then you see the rainbow. I understand why the symbol is the rainbow. It’s just real. Everything is tangible. It makes me a stronger person.”

Watch below:

Lance Bass On Being A Closeted Gay In The World's Biggest Boy Band

Twenty years after N’SYNC became the biggest boy band in the world, band member Lance Bass says it was “torture” being closeted during the time of such success.

In an interview with HuffPost  Bass recalls the release of N’SYNC’s first album in the spring of 1998 and his fears of being discovered as gay.

“It was torture,” Bass shared with HuffPost. “Onstage, I felt like I was just playing a character, but offstage, unfortunately, I didn’t get to have my real life.”

Being gay was a different experience for young men in the late 1990s. Our military had “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in place; marriage equality was just a dream; prominent politicians didn’t get out front at Pride Parades; and the music industry didn’t give you a pat on the back for coming out even if you made your label lots of money.

All of that, plus a Southern Baptist upbringing in deeply conservative Mississippi, kept Bass quiet and in the closet.

Bass explained how it was disconcerting to play the part of pop star onstage, but life offstage felt very different.

“It was definitely a depression,” said Bass. “Ironically a depression: to be in one of the biggest bands in the world and have the best time of my life. But when I was home, I felt really horrible about myself. So yeah, it was sad.”

It would be decades before we’d see young artists like Troye Sivan and Sam Smith embraced by the music industry. 

Bass didn’t feel safe to come out not only out of concern for his own career, but he had a band to think about.

“The ’90s were a different time. If you came out, if anyone knew you were gay, it was a disaster and people really flipped out,” he said. “I felt like if anyone found out that I was gay, the record label would immediately drop us and the fans would hate us ― these were all the crazy things that went through my head as a teenager.” 

For the entire six year run of N’SYNC, Bass didn’t even tell his band mates his secret. “I knew that they wouldn’t be able to keep their mouths shut,” he says.

“I just thought if I even told just one single person it would get out, which it would have. So that secret stayed with me and me only.” 

It wasn’t until 2006 that Bass come out to the world in an interview with People.

Years past those pressures, today the former teen pop star is has now been married for almost four years to actor/artist, Michael Turchin.

The couple recently shared that they are in the early stages of planning a family. He told ET that he and hubby Michael have begun interviewing surrogates.

And looking back, the 39-year-old clearly expresses his gratitude for the ride that was N'SYNC.

“I had one of the best experiences that you could give anyone on this planet. I’m lucky,” he said. “The rest of my life I get to just enjoy with my family and creative family.” 

Twin Youtubers Luc and Cooper Coyle Came Out To Their Mom

Another pair of brothers are coming out to their parent in a Youtube video.

The Coyle Twins are photographers, Youtubers, and brothers living in New York City. Luc and Cooper started their channel back in 2016 and have successfully grown it since then. Now, they have a stable 35,000 member following who will watch their vlogs about their everyday lives.

But, one special video that the twins put out recently was especially important. The twins decided that it was time for them to finally come out to their mom.

Let’s be honest, the boys aren’t exactly hiding their sexuality. That said, they’ve never openly talked about it to their parents, so they decided it was time to change that.

As Luc shares at the start of the video, “We’re not really hiding it, it’s just that awkward elephant in the room, break the ice, how do you say it?”

Want to see what their mom says after they come out to her over the phone? Check out the video down below to find out!

Hear Martin's Story of Life in the Closet and Cue the Tears

Martin is 86-years-old, who spent much of his life in the closet. He spent most of his life as a photographer, admiring the male body, but never fully able to assert his sexuality and live life to the fullest as a gay man. It wasn’t until he was 85 that he realized the he needed to essentially ‘come out’ and fully express himself as a gay man. For much of his life he searched for a partner whom he could spend his life with, but living his life closeted—left him with many regrets, including finding the love of his life.

Martin’s story has inspired many, including me, to cease the moment and never be afraid to be who you are, always following your heart. Martin teamed up with 5 Gum for their #NoRegrets campaign and if his story doesn’t tug at your heart strings, I don’t know what will.

Get to know Martin and his story as he attended his first Pride parade at the age of 85. And don’t hold back the tears.

 

Troye Sivan Opens Up About The Time He Realized He Was Gay

Gay Pop singer Troye Sivan is opening up about the time when he came to realize his sexuality.

In an interview with Attitude Magazine, Sivan shared that his sexual awakening was thanks to Zac Efron.

“I remember I cried when I realized that I thought Zac Efron was really hot, [when I was] aged 13 or something like that,” Sivan says. “I cried. And felt really sick… It wasn’t just: ‘This is a little crush on a boy or something like that: I’m not just interested in this boy–I think that’s he hot.’ And that was weird for me.”

The singer also talked about dating as a gay teenager.

"All my friends were hooking-up with random people at parties, and I just felt so left behind because I didn’t know gay people, I didn’t know where to meet gay people," Sivan says. "I didn’t really want to venture out by myself and so I just did stuff that a 17-year-old boy shouldn’t really have to do.”

 

 

 

A post shared by Jacob Bixenman (@jacobbix) on

 

Sivan went further to explain that he eventually figured out that he could fake his age on Grindr and meet guys through there.

“I managed to get a fake ID and then I got Grindr on my phone and started to try to meet people who were like me, but you sort of are forced a little bit into these hyper-sexualised environments, and even though that’s awesome when you’re 17… I didn’t know what else to do."

Perhaps, that’s around the time that he met the worst Grindr date of his life. Sivan shared in an earlier interview with PopCrush that he was hanging out with a guy he’d met on Gridnr when the guy suddenly pulled out his phone to look for someone else.

“It was a while ago, back in a time when it was a little bit less accepted and a little bit more scary,” Sivan told PopCrush. “I was like, ‘Okay. I think I'm just gonna go home.’”

Thankfully, all that’s behind him as Sivan’s found a wonderful boyfriend in model Jacob Bixenman.

“He’s got like a kind of energy about him, a magnetic sort of energy. I think people can’t help but love him. He’s just got one of those personalities that draws people in… It’s kind of like having your best friend around all the time, which is really nice.”

Congrats to the happy couple.

What Does Conchita Wurst 'Coming Out' as HIV+ Mean in 2018?

Coming out can be one of the more stressful things in our lives to do.  Hey mom, dad, I'm one of the alphabet soup people... TQGQLIBA.   But some of us have to come out for a second time, but we are regulated to just three letters, HIV.

Last week, Conchita Wurst felt she needed to come out for a second time before someone else went public about her HIV status.  I wanted to share the Austrian drag queen's story and why she felt she was forced to reveal her HIV status.  She shared it was all because an ex-boyfriend threatened to tell all.

 

 

heute ist der tag gekommen, mich für den rest meines lebens von einem damoklesschwert zu befreien: ich bin seit vielen jahren hiv-positiv. das ist für die öffentlichkeit eigentlich irrelevant, aber ein ex-freund droht mir, mit dieser privaten information an die öffentlichkeit zu gehen, und ich gebe auch in zukunft niemandem das recht, mir angst zu machen und mein leben derart zu beeinflussen. seit ich die diagnose erhalten habe, bin ich in medizinischer behandlung, und seit vielen jahren unterbrechungsfrei unter der nachweisgrenze, damit also nicht in der lage, den virus weiter zu geben. ich wollte aus mehreren gründen bisher nicht damit an die öffentlichkeit gehen, nur zwei davon will ich hier nennen: der wichtigste war mir meine familie, die seit dem ersten tag bescheid weiss und mich bedingungslos unterstützt hat. ihnen hätte ich die aufmerksamkeit für den hiv-status ihres sohnes, enkels und bruders gerne erspart. genauso wissen meine freunde seit geraumer zeit bescheid und gehen in einer unbefangenheit damit um, die ich jeder und jedem betroffenen wünschen würde. zweitens ist es eine information, die meiner meinung nach hauptsächlich für diejenigen menschen von relevanz ist, mit denen sexueller kontakt infrage kommt. coming out ist besser als von dritten geoutet zu werden. ich hoffe, mut zu machen und einen weiteren schritt zu setzen gegen die stigmatisierung von menschen, die sich durch ihr eigenes verhalten oder aber unverschuldet mit hiv infiziert haben. an meine fans: die information über meinen hiv-status mag neu für euch sein – mein status ist es nicht! es geht mir gesundheitlich gut, und ich bin stärker, motivierter und befreiter denn je. danke für eure unterstützung!

A post shared by conchita (@conchitawurst) on

 

The Google translation of her post in German reads:

Today is the day to free me from the sword of Damocles for the rest of my life:
 
I have been hiv-positive for many years. this is actually irrelevant to the public, but an ex-boyfriend threatens me to go public with this private information, and I will not give anyone the right to frighten me and influence my life in the future.
Since I received the diagnosis, I am in medical treatment, and for many years without interruption under the detection limit, so that so not able to pass on the virus.
I did not want to go public with it for several reasons so far, I just want to mention two of them here: the most important one was my family, which has known and supported me unconditionally since day one. I would have gladly spared you the attention of the hiv status of your son, grandson and brother. Likewise, my friends have been aware of this for quite some time and are dealing with it in an unbiased way that I would wish to everyone and everyone concerned.
Secondly, it is an information that I believe is mainly relevant to those people with whom sexual contact is an option.

coming out is better than being outed by third. I hope to build up courage and take another step against the stigmatization of people who have become infected by hiv, either through their own behavior or through no fault of their own.

to my fans: the information about my hiv status may be new to you - my status is not! I'm well and well, and I'm stronger, more motivated and liberated than ever. Thank you for your support!

The 2014 Eurovision is not a newbie when it comes to being in the spotlight but she also seems like someone that is in control of her destiny.  She stated I “will not give anyone the right to frighten me or affect my life.” 

We all need to claim power over our own lives and not give it away to anyone or let anyone try to steer us down the wrong path.

Wurst further explained that she hoped her decision to go public helped “lessen the stigmatization of people who have become infected with HIV.”

One of my good friends just recently wanted to talk about coming out as gay to his family and then his coming out as HIV+.  He said that the second time he came out to his family was so much more emotional, worse, difficult.  Being gay, well, he knew he was not wrong with that, but being HIV+, he felt that he let his family down, that he did something wrong, that he was ashamed. It was a powerful conversation, but it was more so just me listening and thinking how hard it must have been compared to the "I'm GAY" speech.  He knows now that he does not have or hold onto any personal shame about being HIV+, but back when he came out, actually for both times, the world was quite different.

And it is people, well-known individuals like Conchita that with her actions, she is removing yet another layer of that stigma some people feel regarding AIDS/HIV.

No matter which three letters G-A-Y or H-I-V, we should not drop our heads.  No matter what LBTQQIAA label or category or none of the above, we need to retain our own power.

Thank you Conchita for being a powerful human being and showing us that we are in charge of our lives, we have the power over our own lives, and we have the power over HIV.


Have you had to come out twice?  Once for your sexuality and once involving your status?

Which one was more difficult?

We do have straight readers as well.  Have you as a straight person had to come out because of your HIV status?  What was that experience like?


h/t:  dnamagazine.com

Do We Still Need To Make A Big Deal Of Celebrities Coming Out?

As more and more actors, models, athletes, and other celebrities come out as some sort of LGBTQ, we’re starting to wonder if they even need to.

While two decades ago coming out as gay was still met with some harsh pushback, today’s Western societies see people coming out left and right with mostly praise and acknowledgment. Granted there are still countless problems for LGBTQ people today, but we're surely making progress.

That said, people still keep making a big deal of coming out, and it’s starting to feel draining for all of us. As an Instinct Contributor, it’s my job to share news that you guys would be interested in reading. Despite what some readers like to post in Facebook comments (yes, we read those) saying that they don’t care, our records show that if we write it you guys will click on it.

So, we live in this space where we both wish people didn’t have to come out because it shouldn’t be a big deal, and where we want to hear about people coming out because it’s such a big deal.

And so this brings up my main question, do celebrities still need to come out? And more specifically, do they still need to make a big deal of it?

What really brought all this to the forefront of my mind was the whole Kevin McHale situation. If you don’t know who or what that is, good for you because the internet’s been covering it for a good month now, I’ll quickly bring you up to speed.

Kevin McHale is most commonly known for acting in the former tv show Glee. Last month, he posted a picture of himself holding what looked like another man’s hand on Instagram. While McHale wouldn’t elaborate on the post, many took it to be him openly addressing his sexuality and the fact that he was dating a man.

Then last week, McHale posted a second Instagram picture showing himself laying around with another man. Many took this as confirmation that he was dating fellow actor Austin McKenzie. Then just recently, McHale officially commented on his sexuality while talking about an Ariana Grande song.

When he posted the first two original pictures, I took it as his way of coming out without having to make a big show of it (of course, the internet did that anyway). I saw McHale’s act as the next stage in the coming out process.

Now that Western society is more accepting of LGBTQ life, maybe we don’t have to make a big deal of coming out. Maybe, we can just post a picture of us holding hands and just have that say it all.

That said, the tweet about Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left To Cry” seemed like his way of being more blunt about the topic. (Note: I take responsibility for getting my hopes up based off of an actor’s Instagram account).

 

#mycoachella

A post shared by Kevin McHale (@kevinmchale) on

But, that still leaves the question lingering in my mind. Do celebrities need to still come out? Do they need to make such a big and blatant deal of it? Because if they don’t, the everyday person doesn’t either.

Unfortunately, it seems that they do.

Just because society is more accepting doesn’t mean that it’s totally tolerant. People still get bullied, attacked, murdered, and worse (Hello, Hermione) for being openly LGBTQ. For instance, take openly gay politician Brian Sims who was called a “Lying homosexual” by one of his political peers. (Thankfully, he didn’t take the insult lying down).

Then going back to the celebrities angle, several openly LGBTQ celebrities have expressed that there is toxic treatment towards openly queer talent.

For instance, Wizarding World (the new Harry Potter movie brand name) and Justice League star Ezra Miller shared with the Shortlist last year that he was told not to come out of the closet by people in the business.

“I won’t specify,” he told them, “[But] I was told by a lot of people I’d made a mistake.

“Folks in the industry, folks outside of the industry. People I’ve never spoken to. They said there’s a reason so many gay, queer, gender-fluid people in Hollywood conceal their sexual identity, or their gender identity in their public image.”

“I was told I had done a 'silly' thing in… thwarting my own potential to be a leading man.”

And on the other end of the spectrum is British model and aspiring actor Zander Hodgson who says that he struggled with coming out because Hollywood is “not very welcoming to gay actors.”

“I don’t think there are many opportunities out there for gay men to play straight roles.”

 

By Zack Snyder

A post shared by Ezra Miller (@ezrator) on

This underline hostility in Hollywood doesn’t make being openly LGBTQ a great option for celebrities (aspiring or otherwise). And with Hollywood possibly being the most liberal place for artists and creators to work, that doesn’t bode well for non-straight talent.

So again, we find ourselves in a double space. Celebrities need to stay closeted to protect their careers, but they also need to come out in order to call out this homophobic hostility and act as representation for LGBTQ talent and citizens.

On top of that, we also have to consider the biggest reality of coming out. It’s up to the individual person on how and when to come out. Despite their position, celebrities still have the right to come out whenever and however they want to. We can’t force them to be subtler or make a bigger deal about it simply because we want it.

 

A post shared by ALBUM OUT NOW (@aaroncarter) on

Ultimately, the goal is to one day have “coming out” become unnecessary. We want a day when a male celebrity can hold a man’s hand without it being a big deal. We want a day when confirming you’re in a same-sex relationship isn’t gossip worthy.

But, of course, we're human and we contradict ourselves. That's the goal we want; but, when people like McHale come out subtly like, we pester and bother for more concrete confirmations.

Maybe, we should just celebrate people coming out however they choose and then move on instead of making multiple big deals about it. That way, we can avoid another Aaron Carter situation, while also not pestering people who just want to state it and move on.

We’re on a journey towards total equality, and the coming out process will surely evolve along the way. While I'll cherish the time coming out was a big deal, that'll only make me appreciate the subtleties even more.


This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject. 

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