Ross is planning to finally tell his parents he’s gay. But it’s not easy: the 18-year-old is simply not sure how they will react. After all, while they were watching First Dates the other day his dad was disgusted to watch two men kissing on screen – does this mean he’ll reject his own son once he knows the truth? And how will mum take it?
I’m Coming out is a new BBC3 documentary from the Sorry Not Sorry series, and it tells the stories of two teens as they come out to their parents. Ross tells both his parents he is gay, while university student Owen opens up to his divorced parents about his bisexuality.
In each of their stories, both teens turn to one vital resource as they prepare for that important moment: YouTube.
Teens and young people across the world have used YouTube to share their experiences of coming out to their families. Some tell their stories candidly straight to viewers; others point a camera at the family dinner table and film what happens next. These videos can provide hope and encouragement, but in some cases they serve as warnings about what can happen when parents react badly.
Here are just some of the stories that inspired I’m Coming Out.
These twins are both gay and came out to their father on the phone. It was pretty emotional – but positive. They write: “We hope by our actions today you can finish watching this video feeling encouraged and inspired.”
Riyadh actually features in Sorry Not Sorry: I’m Coming Out, coaching one of the teens through the process. Here he looks back on that experience, discussing it with both of his parents – who are now pretty cool with it but struggled at first. He writes: “I hope this video gives you some belief that things can work out in the end even when the situation looks completely hopeless. If we can come out the other side I think most of us can.”
YouTuber Wat Dave Does writes: “This is my live coming out video to my parents. It was super awkward but I fell so much better now that its over. I hope this video helps anyone who is struggling to come out. I know for me watching these videos on YouTube helped me get ready myself.”
Basically mum and dad just want to know all the gossip about his boyfriend.
Drew came out to his Christian parents at the age of 23, and there was a lot of biblical chat. It wasn’t easy for his mother to accept.
This one’s a pretty casual one, and Rich’s mum is just relieved he’s not been expelled. “I’m gay, but it’s not that much of a big deal.” “No, it’s not.”
American teenager Taylor filmed himself coming out as gay to each of his parents. On coming out to his father, he writes: “His reaction to my coming out was hard to take… He has gotten better about me being gay and about my boyfriend but his reaction is very much representative of how he feels about it. Please let this video be a warning that coming out is not always a pleasant experience.”
Keanu knew his family would be cool with it, so he baked a cake with a penis on it.
This poor YouTuber was very nervous, but it went well. “I’m gay. Surprise,” he finally managed. He writes: “Finally got the strength to come out to my mom. My Mom has been extremely supportive.”
Sorry Not Sorry: I’m Coming Out was released on BBC3 on Sunday 2nd July and will repeat on BBC1 at 11.35pm on 9th August