Why JoJo Siwa’s Coming Out is a Big Deal

JoJo Siwa is a pop star, Dance Moms alumnus, and entrepreneur who, at 17 years old, has built an entire brand; putting her face on everything from bookshelves, to bandaids, to the iconic hair bows. She is wildly popular among children, with over 12 million subscribers on YouTube and a talent partnership with Nickelodeon. JoJo is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community. 

lgbt banner 42 North

JoJo recently came out in a series of TikTok and Instagram posts where she sang along to Lady Gaga’s "Born This Way." She was wearing a shirt that said “Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever.” and shared that she has a girlfriend

The magnitude of JoJo’s coming out cannot be understated. She is one of the first child stars of her caliber to openly identify as LGBTQ+, with millions of young fans looking up to her. 

Positive queer representation is rare. Only in my lifetime has a good representation of the LGBTQ+ community really started to enter the mainstream, and even those depictions are often flawed; overrepresenting white and cis members. Queer representation in children’s media and among children’s role models is almost nonexistent, making JoJo the gay icon older LGBTQ+ people never had growing up. 

Love is Love board on Pride Flag Sarah Pflug from Burst

Soon after her announcement, social media was flooded with congratulations and celebration of JoJo’s pride. One Twitter user wrote, “idk but if I was 10 and saw JoJo Siwa coming out as gay… the impact that would have on my mental health and confidence as a little girl who just knew she wasn’t straight… I am so proud of JoJo for always being herself and helping a new generation of kids be themselves too.”

Another user tweeted, “JoJo Siwa coming out as gay is important bc her audience is mainly young girls and I know it would have been a lot easier for me growing up if I had an LGBT person I could look up to bc I wouldn’t have carried that shame of being gay with me and stayed closeted for so long.” 

Toni Reed Udggq3Ml Toni Reed / Unsplash

Just 72% of the United States believes “homosexuality should be accepted by society.” That number has grown quite a bit in my generation’s lifetime, from 47% in 2003 and 57% in 2013. The public is less encouraging to kids who identify as LGBTQ+, with the common argument being they’re too young to know. 

But JoJo says she’s known she’s a member of the LGBTQ+ community her whole life. While she’s not ready to label herself quite yet, she wanted to share with the world how happy she was. “I have thought about this, but the reason I'm not going to say this answer is because I don't really know this answer,” JoJo said to a fan who asked her to clarify her sexuality. “Right now, I'm super-duper happy and I want to share everything with the world but I also want to keep things in my life private until they are ready to be public.”

Amen to that, JoJo.

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