How BuzzFeed Helped Me Come Out

Viral media has a way of infiltrating your news feed and creating an inside joke among thousands of friends or followers. When the videos that pop up are putting the spotlight on LGBTQIA+ individuals, that makes queer culture more accessible. Having grown up in a small town that quite frankly is lacking in diversity on all spectrums, seeing viral posts featuring queer women normalized how I was feeling.

It’s incredible to see that in such a short time, from BuzzFeed’s launch in 2006 to now in 2016, that there is now an entire video channel devoted to LGBT topics and people. Their clear stance during the campaign for marriage equality, as shown with their rainbow logo, made their brand more appealing to me as a person of the LGBT community. But more specifically, there are a few women of BuzzFeed that really helped me to come out with their own stories.

1. Ashly

The way Ashly portrays queer characters in the videos she’s in is really subtle—an unexpected bonus. A lot of shows and movies will use tokenism to make an LGBTQIA+ character a secret star of the show as a way to signal they’re diverse. It’s basically the equivalent of your aunt at Thanksgiving calling herself "hip." But with Ashly, she’s honestly just so un-sarcastically hip.

2. Jen

“In the Closet,” Jen’s show with Nikki (another queer lady of BuzzFeed), is utterly hilarious. She unapologetically discusses issues that could be scary, and makes topics like pronouns or coming out less terrifying to ask questions about. Part of the issue with coverage of queerness in popular media is that nobody asks the important questions—Jen solves that problem and is side-splittingly funny at the same time.

3. Kelsey

Kelsey was the first woman on the BuzzFeed video crew that really got me thinking about accepting my sexuality. A lot of her videos are about attempting to adult properly, and coming out was part of that for her. If nothing else, Kelsey is so relatable—from wine to dating, she covers it all.

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Being able to see relatable stories through day-to-day phone usage destigmatizes some of the scariness around being a young person in the LGBTQIA+ community. If I hadn’t had BuzzFeed showing me images of women just like me, coming out would’ve taken a lot longer.

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