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Gen Z are coming out on social media

A recent study suggests that young members of the LGBTQ+ community are more likely than ever to come out on social media in 2019. With pride month now upon us, we delve into the reasons behind this recent influx, and consider its potential long-term effects.

Members of the LGBTQ community are more likely than ever to come out online before entrusting friends and family members, according to a recent study from Tinder.

Yes, we’re talking about the superficial face of all dating apps, but bear with us. They’ve actually done something pretty valuable here.

Tinder surveyed 1,000 of their LGBTQ members and asked about their experiences regarding coming out, being out, and engaging in same sex relationships. The results revealed just how integral a role social media is playing in the community in 2019, particularly where Gen Z is concerned.

LGBTQ’s young community

Gen Z is unquestionably the most progressive generation when it comes to accepting and embracing all sexualities and forms of individuality. They’ve grown up questioning the notion of fixed identities and binary genders, with only 66% of young people presently identifying as exclusively heterosexual – according to a study from Ipsos Mori.

Equally significant is the role social media is playing in the lives of these young people. The previously mentioned Tinder survey found that 75% of Gen Z participants came out via a form of social media, before opting to come out to friends and/or family.

Social media safe space

Although it sounds somewhat contradictory, coming out to a large following on social media can actually feel a lot less daunting and nerve-wracking than sitting opposite a family member or friend. Coming out online almost offers a safe space to trial run a physical conversation.

Whether it’s a Facebook post/video, a YouTube video, or an Instagram tile/story, coming out has almost become a form of art for a largely internet-reliant and inherently tech savvy generation. Social media as a concept is innately purposed for self-expression and creative freedom after all. Remember the days of MySpace and Bebo, anyone? Or are we showing our age?

While coming out on the internet can be intimidating in its own right, these young people feel a sense of community and support when making the revelation on a mass scale.

The hugely reduced stigma and normalisation of LGBTQ identities in modern times means they’re unlikely to be met with a wave of discrimination and backlash. While there’s plenty still left to be done when it comes to equality and sexual understanding in the public eye, younger teens are now far more likely to receive messages of support and praise. Coming out is considered a brave step in personal development by many and, thankfully, this view is becoming increasingly more widespread.

Building confidence with anonymity

For those that still have concerns about making a public ‘announcement’, there are platforms that allow people to reach out for support from likeminded individuals with complete anonymity.

Forum sites like Reddit and Tumblr provide a space to actively partake in threads without divulging any personal information, and young people often gain confidence through these means before confiding in loved ones.

Coming to terms with one’s sexuality and identity at a young age can be extremely difficult, but having like-minded individuals on the other end of our phones and laptops is extremely empowering. Labels are becoming a thing of the past and teens are comfortable with viewing sexuality as a sliding scale that they can fall somewhere in the middle of.

Are you surprised by the results of this study, what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.


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