By Arai Buendia
Coming out is a hard process especially during the teenage years: dealing with self-acceptance, worrying about how others will think once they know, trying to pass classes to graduate from high school, constantly thinking about the parents’ reactions… As if high school wasn’t hard enough already, coming out causes extra stress as I struggled to find ways to accept ‘gay’ as part of my own identity, just like race, ethnicity, and gender. In my experience of coming out, I was my own worst critic because I was uncomfortable with the term “gay” and constantly worried about other people’s perception of me.
At that time, I wasn’t much of a YouTube fan. It wasn’t until I went to college that I started to actively use YouTube. I remember one time I was browsing through my Facebook feed when one of my friends shared a video called, Shit Straight Girls Say to Lesbians by ArielleisHamming. I started to watch other videos and quickly discovered a community of young people who were LGBT or allies that had similar experiences to what I was experiencing.
I found out other Youtubers such as Davey Wavey and was quickly hooked to their channels. Watching them talk about their experiences helped me gain the extra confidence I needed to accept myself and feel more comfortable about LGBT issues. I knew I wasn’t alone, but I certainly didn’t know who to trust either. The videos made me see life differently and the online community allowed me to connect with other youth nationally and internationally.
So can someone be thankful for a website?
All I say is YouTube changed my life.
About the author, Arai Buendia
Arai Buendia is currently program associate at YTH, where she works on multiple projects with the goal to empower youth. Buendia co-leads YTH’s Youth Tech Board and is passionate about the intersections of youth, technology, and sexual health. Buendia is a San Francisco State University graduate, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Education and you can follow her @areki09.