YouTube is packed with “coming out” videos, with LGBTQ young people and adults sharing their own experiences and sometimes even filming the actual moment they reveal the truth to their loved ones. But in a new BBC Radio 1 documentary, Nick Grimshaw tackles the question: “Are they making these videos to sensationalise a very personal part of their lives for online hits – or can they actually make a difference?”
The radio presenter says he is “lucky” to have been immediately accepted by his family and friends when he came out as gay. But life is not always so simple.
The documentary features prominent YouTubers The Rhodes Bros, American twins who filmed the tearful moment they came out to their father over the phone – a video which has had 24 million views and counting.
To get to the bottom of the phenomenon, Grimshaw interviews Irish TV presenter Riyadh Khalaf about his family’s difficult journey to acceptance.
This includes Riyadh’s father’s shocking on-camera revelation that he had considered taking his own life after learning that his son was gay.
The radio documentary will also feature interviews with a psychotherapist, a bisexual woman in Indonesia who took a big risk by posting her video, and a trans man who used YouTube to document his transition.
Each YouTuber will reflect on their “coming out” video and their experience of watching other people’s journeys online, often a way of preparing for a difficult conversation with parents or friends.
Explaining their decision to put the footage online six months after the event, Aaron and Austin Rhodes explain: “We wanted to show people that still in 2015 at the time, and even now in 2017, it’s such a hard thing for young people to do.”
Coming Out Uploaded will be broadcast on 1Xtra on Sunday 6th August before airing on Radio 1 on Tuesday 8th August at 9pm