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Cumming Over Coming Out

The coming out experience is particularly grueling. The term is mostly associated with a gay or queer person claiming ownership of a sexual preference or gender identity—and it’s quite a painstaking experience. There’s a lot of stress and anxiety and a whole bunch of “Am I going to be accepted??” going on. It’s the kind of social situation where you can be so uneasy that vomit might roll out of your mouth along with the words: it’s a crazy to-do.

LGBTQ people aren’t the only people who experience coming outs, too: a similar process befalls a person (queer or not) when finally confessing a deep secret, be it a crazy, sexual preference or that you are finally committing to a career as an artist. Basically it’s that storyline on Jane The Virgin about—if she were brave enough—she would be a writer. That is a coming out.

As we’ve become a group of people who live in public and as more gay people make their coming out experiences available online, a weird subgenre of pseudo-sentimental, somewhat schedenfreudistic form of entertainment has emerged: the coming out video. These videos have been a success—bitesized content morsels some lick their lips over with delight—because they represent small victories. They’re relateable. They’re dramatic. We love all that.

Like this video, the most recent in the canon: it has amassed nearly two million views in less than two days. In eight minutes, two blonde and blue eyed gay brothers, who must be models because have you fucking looked at them, decide that it is time to “finally be ourselves”—and that means coming out to their father. So, with the camera unknowingly on, like sneaky nightly news producers, they recorded their coming out to their father. There were tears and confessions and it makes you all warm and fuzzy because you cannot stop wondering if the two twins are going to kiss each other or kiss their father or what: it’s great entertainment.

The thing about this video (and the many videos) is that it’s a bit bizarre to share and even more bizarre to enjoy, as a viewer. They’re a form of extreme voyeurism, a window into the truly unfiltered (be it from a loving or hateful place). Regardless of the reaction, the videos are watched. They’re captured realistic dramas to watch and rewatch, offering ounces of hope in the process..

Perhaps the popularity is a result of the experiences being so relatable. Perhaps many find the acts to be fuel to help them come out or a nostalgic return to one’s own coming. Perhaps the videos provide a target to direct hate at. Perhaps they are propelled into the limelight because LGBTQ media has literally nothing else to talk about. Perhaps the popularity comes from the subjects being desired sexual bodies, the gay body admitting it has sex with other gay bodies, an admission that the body is available to be sexualized.

These videos are obviously very complicated. Their success is equally as complicated, as comment fields serve as online ideological battleground. Personally, these videos are silly and somewhat ridiculous. They’re steeped in juvenille nostalgia, evolving into an unorganized second coming of It Gets Better. Is that bad? Not at all. Yet, cuming over people coming out opens the door for every moment in life, gay or not, to be willing sensationalized and memorialized in public. Then, the coming out video represents a loss of the self to others, to “the public.”

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