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Matthew’s Place

Noah Schnapp Just Came Out on TikTok and Inspired Us All to Be Braver in the Process

By Christine Siamanta Kinori

A few days ago, Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp took to TikTok to come out. He broke the news to his millions of fans across the world in a seemingly casual video, but the 45 seconds broke the internet.

The 18-year-old actor jumped on the social media platform after first telling his close friends and family. In the TikTok, Noah shared that he has lived his whole life scared to come out. He also said that his friends and family were not surprised when he finally gathered his courage to come out. They embraced him, admitting that they already knew he was gay.

Noah debuted his acting career at only 11 when he played the role of Roger in the 2015 Steven Spielberg award-winning film, Bridge of Spies. He shot into the limelight after the success of Stranger Things in 2016 where he plays the role of William Byers.

In the show, Will is gay and is secretly in love with his best friend Mike. The show creators hinted in a recent interview that they plan to continue with Will’s character arc as gay in the final season. Throughout previous seasons, there have been small signs about Will’s true feelings for Mike.

According to the show creators this was deliberate. They wanted to relieve Will of some of the burden of discussing his sexuality and subtly hinting at it. However, in the final season, Will faces his feelings for Mike- becoming a critical final arc for him. In his coming out Tik Tok video, Noah added, “I guess I’m more similar to Will than I thought.”

It is amazing to see Noah join the list of other young actors who have felt safe enough to publicly come out. Coming out is a personal journey and requires a lot of braveness and it is inspiring to see him be proud to announce this to the world. This is how it is supposed to be. No one is supposed to be forced out, like what happened to Kit Connor.

Noah coming out at the age of 18 means something. Most teenagers are scared to come out to their loved ones because they are scared of being rejected. Noah shared that he was scared and I am glad he got past his fears. Rejection from parents, relatives and friends is a real concern among queer youth. He will be inspiring millions of other teens to live their truth.

Every queer youth has their own coming out experience. In some cases, the family turns against them and shuns them for their sexuality. It can be a make-or-break moment for most queer teens and they dont take coming out lightly. In other cases, such as Noah’s, they are embraced and made to feel safe for choosing to be their authentic self.

In Noah’s case, his close people knew and they were just waiting for him to feel safe and comfortable enough to tell them. This is a beautiful thing to witness. It is a show of unconditional love and support. If more families and friends welcomed their children to live freely and express their sexuality, we would have lower suicide rates among LGBTQ+ youth.

According to a research report from Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 50% of queer youth contemplated suicide in 2022. 18% of them followed through on their thoughts and tried to kill themselves. The research also revealed that most of these teenagers didn’t attempt suicide because they were queer but because of the rejection, isolation, and bullying they faced for being queer. This means that the lack of support and ill-treatment from those close to them is what pushed them to attempt suicide.

It is critical that young queer teenagers have supportive spaces online. TikTok has become that platform. Popularized during the COVID-19 pandemic, its since become an important space for teens to share their own experiences without the suspicion on uncles on Facebook or parents on Instagram. While other platforms have become overrun with posts to impress others, the quick clips have been used to show someone’s full self. They can be casual, irreverent, or profound and serious. The flexibility of the videos, audios, and overall app allow for teens to be themselves.

Noah using a simple TikTok also shows there are many ways of coming out and someone can choose whatever words or form they are comfortable with.

Noah’s account will inspire other teens looking up to him to be brave as well. People like Noah, Kit Connor and Jojo Siwa are using their platform for good and are addressing the issues faced by queer youths in the country and across the world.

The more they speak up, the more many are inspired and encouraged. The more open conversations are held and we slowly start to change people’s way of thinking.

About the Author:

Christine Siamanta Kinori grew up in a little village in Kenya known as Loitoktok near the border of Kenya and Tanzania. All she wanted to do when she grew up was to explore the world. Her curiosity led her to join Nairobi University to pursue a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She later got a job with an amazing travel magazine Nomad Africa which gave her the opportunity to explore Africa. She also writes for numerous travel websites about Africa and tries to create a new narrative in the media about our aesthetic continent.

Christine claims to have somewhat unhealthy addiction to TV and reading, as it is a fun way to keep herself occupied during the long journeys for her travel writing. She is also a believer of letting people be their beautiful selves. To her, love is love and it is the greatest gift we have as humans.

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Matthew’s Place is by and for LGBTQ+ youth and a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation l #EraseHate

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MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email patrick@matthewshepard.org