If Coming Out Is Easier For Millennials, Why Are So Many Still Closeted?
In this 2010 interview with a young, wet behind the ears Adult Film Performer, Ace Rockwood, it is revealed that the then 21-year old man came out to his mother when he was only 12 years old. The interviewer, director Michael Lucas, seems amazed that not only did this handsome man come out at such a young age, his mother seemed pretty chill about it.
Over the nearly 5 years that we’ve blogging in the LGBT space, we’ve seen a growing trend that younger men seem to have a much easier time Coming Out than the older men had. Before I go on, let’s specify who we’re talking about.
Millennials are considered to have been born between the years 1980 and 2000. In the late 90 and early aughts, our society began to see a rapid shift in how people viewed gay and bisexual men. More of us were either coming out of the closet to be real life representations for others, and the media began depicting us as real characters, not just side jokes or sexual deviants. One other major factor in the sea change, The Internet. Young LGBT men and women were finally able to see that they were not alone though chat rooms, message boards and hookup sites.
So for teenagers and young adults that grew up during this time, it appears to be easier to just rip the proverbial band-aid off and come Out of the closet to the people that birthed them. Seemingly much easier than it had been for Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers.
Or has it been?
Admittedly, Ace Rockwood (now 27-years-old) may have been an exception to the rule. An outlier.
Even watching the above interview, there seems to be information that he’s leaving out. For example, it seems like a stretch for a young black mother to see two 12-year-old boys playing together a lot and directly leaping to, “I wonder if my son is gay.”
My personal (unconfirmed) theory, 12-year-old Ace Rockwood was a little hot boy. A young gay kid who freely explored his sexuality with young boys his age who were willing to let him. It’s very possible that someone walked in on young Ace Rockwood and his friend “living in their truth” together, if you know what I mean. The mother of the second kid going as far as to change her son’s school to separate him from Ace somewhat substantiates this theory.
Speculation aside, its clear that young Ace Rockwood was not worried about staying in anyone’s closet. He was gay and just accepted it.
For many young Millennials, this story is not that out of the norm. While there are many deeply closeted young gay and bisexual men out there, there are just as many who came Out (or were Outed) at an early age. Once that weight was lifted, they discard all of the remaining fucks they could give.
Youtube celebrity Tre Melvin surprised no one when he came Out as bisexual two years ago. While one reason was that he regularly dressed up as women for comedy in his videos, the main reason was that, for young trendy Millennials, we’re often more surprised to learn that they are NOT gay, bisexual or at least bi-curious.
If you visit Twitter or even Facebook, the sheer number of Out, Proud, Feminine, Inbetween and Sexually Free young gay men you will find is awe-inspiring. They give no fucks, unless you are a fan of a rival songstress to the Diva of their choice.
They post videos of themselves booty-popping to Beyonce songs.
They start their own cheer leading squads.
So mission accomplished, right?
We have Gay Marriage.
We have Jason Collins.
We have Michael Sam.
We have Frank Ocean (or do we?).
Gay is okay now. All young gay kids can freely snap their way out of the closet.
If this is the case, why do we still have so many young men coming to Cypher Avenue saying they are paranoid and deeply closeted? They seemingly have the court of public opinion in their favor, why are they still afraid to say they are gay?
Being homophobic is so publicly toxic now that even Manny Pacquiao, a boxer who doesn’t even speak English, got blasted for his recent anti-gay rhetoric. He even lost his coveted (and high paying) Nike endorsement.
Even fellow Christians weren’t (publicly) siding with Manny, and they believe in the same book.
So why would some Millennials still fear coming Out? Or should we get more granular and say that this really only applies to young gay men of color?
Do young white kids have it easier?
Is behind-closed-doors homophobia so prevalent in the Black and Latino community that it drives men to stay closeted even in a general global society seemingly welcoming to them.
Speaking of boxers and adult films, lets look at Millennial Yusaf Mack (born in 1980). He’s the retired athlete who recently faced controversy when people in his neighborhood discovered that he had filmed an X-Rated gay scene for Dawgpound USA.
When confronted by the media, first Yusaf Mack (a father of 20 children) said that he was drugged…when the production company threatened a defamation lawsuit, he said that he was actually bisexual…when that didn’t stick he finally admitted that he was fully homosexual.
Once the dust settled, he became somewhat of a hero and inspiration to many black gay men, including many that contribute to this website.
One has to wonder: If it’s so much easier, rewarding and psychologically freeing to come Out in this day and age…why do we make it so hard?
What would it take for all closeted men out there, of every age, to causally shrug it off like young Ace Rockwood did 15 years ago?
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