As a teenager, I put my first generation iPod Touch to good use and devoted an inordinate amount of time to watching “Coming Out” videos on YouTube. In these sentimental on-camera testimonials, figures like Troye Sivan, Tyler Oakley, Connor Franta—everyday suburban young adults at the time, despite their not-insignificant YouTube following—would spend up to twenty minutes discussing the messy business of figuring and then share who they are. Tears were usually involved.
Going back to today, the popular approach to online dating seems to be incredibly different. There are more LGBTQIA young adults laughing and sharing their personal journeys than crying. Example: Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp, who is 18, took to the video-sharing app TikTok last week to announce some news. The wordless clip features on-screen text that reads: “When I finally told my friends and family I was gay after being in the closet for 18 years in fear and all they said was ‘We know’.” syncs with a voice that says, in part, “You know what never happened? So serious.” Schnapp smiles the whole time.
“I guess I’m more like Will than I thought,” Schnapp wrote in the video, referring to his Stranger Things a character the actor previously confirmed was indeed gay. The clip is the ultimate TikTok: casual, playful and full of jokes. It is also representative of how much the pressure drop has occurred in some. In 2023, some LGBTQIA people only need eight seconds to come out, not twenty minutes.
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Schnapp’s disrespect is not uncommon. More and more queer celebrities are becoming less serious about the serious moment. Dating in Hollywood is reduced to a joke or an impulsive fast. Some of the cutest examples? Joshua Bassett chimed in with an unusual joke about Harry Styles and Lil Nas X with a rainbow emoji.
And TikTok is quickly becoming a platform for these casual discoveries. Last year, actor Shay Mitchell, who appeared in Sweet little liars and Your, also reached out to TikTok to seemingly get out. She posted a clip of the duet on TikTok showing another user asking, “If you identify as bisexual, do you own a green velvet couch?” Mitchell then proudly showed off her green velvet couch. Model Emily Ratajkowski joined the trend and showed her own furniture. She later opened up about the video and her sexuality, saying, “I think sexuality is on a sliding scale,” she said. “I don’t really believe in straight people.” There were other joyful, frivolous moments in the app. Madonna shared a video of herself deliberately trying to throw her underwear into a trash can and missing. “If I miss, I’m gay,” read the text above the video. The 64-year-old pop icon eventually shrugged it off.