Jojo Siwa coming out inspires young LGBTQ+

By adviser Feb 5, 2021
Jojo Siwa at the 2018 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. Photo: Shutterstock
Jojo Siwa at the 2018 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.
Photo: Shutterstock

Known for her eccentric personality, high ponytails, and bedazzled hair bows, Jojo Siwa has become one of the most popular children’s performers and encourages young children to embrace who they are. On Wednesday, January 20, Siwa embraced another part of herself by making it public that she is a part of the LGBTQ+ community. 

In a post on Tiktok, Siwa was seen singing along to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” while decked out in full rainbow gear. Since then, she has received an outpouring of love from celebrities and fans alike. Five days later, Siwa posted another Tiktok thanking everyone for their support, saying she’s “the happiest she’s ever been.” Her announcement is not only an exciting new chapter in her career, but also a new chapter in young queer representation.

At only seventeen years old, Siwa is one of the youngest pop star sensations in the nation. Over the years, she has had the opportunity to work with social media icons such as James Charles, Miranda Sings, and Joey Graceffa. She has gone on three consecutive tours, been featured on TV shows, such as The Masked Singer and sells a variety of rhinestone-encrusted merchandise all over the world. 

With an audience as big as hers, her messages of love and inclusivity stretch even further. Her coming out also encourages more representation of LGBTQ+ figures in the media. 

Pop culture media has been making strides towards a more accurate portrayal of queer characters with movies like The Happiest Season and TV shows like Pose. There have also been many more celebrities to come out as LGBTQ+, such as Elliot Page recently announcing he is transgender. 

However, pop culture has yet to show a younger queer figure for a newer generation to look up to. Siwa helps to fill that hole for her mostly younger audience. Through her online presence and appearances on television, young viewers have a figure in pop culture that they can relate to. 

In the LGBTQ+ community, deciding to come out to family and friends is difficult. A person’s announcement could be met with either love and support, or disappointment and anger. For some, embracing who they are could change their whole life in a flash, so they avoid the ordeal to save them from the anxiety. 

However by Siwa coming out, she shows that, while it could be met with unsavory reactions, being your authentic self can be freeing. One of Siwa’s most prominent mantras is to embrace your individuality, and it applies especially in the face of adversity. 

Siwa has faced a heap of controversy and hate over her self expression and is often called immature and childish. From adults and children alike, she receives comments telling her to grow up and conform to societal norms like everyone else. Throughout all of this, she still stands strong and continues to teach her young audience to love themselves and dream big. Her message is the most impactful lesson her fanbase can take away; in the face of any adversity or bullying, they can love themselves and express themselves to the fullest no matter what anyone says.

I will admit, I used to have disdain towards Siwa and the empire she created. I, like many others, thought it had lasted long enough and was ready to see her put away the bows and sparkles. However, I realized that Siwa wasn’t refusing to grow up, she was going to grow up on her own terms and be whoever she wanted to be. She wasn’t afraid to be met with backlash because she was receiving backlash her entire life. 

In many ways, we could all take a lesson from Siwa: what is really stopping us from expressing ourselves? The norms set by society don’t have to be followed, the only expectations that matter are the ones we make for ourselves. If anything, the most important lesson to be learned from her announcement is to treat others with love and kindness, even if they express themselves differently.

By adviser

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