If you’re an avid social media user, you might have stumbled across JoJo Siwa, the 17-year-old dancer, singer, actress and YouTuber who was thrown into the limelight when she appeared on the popular TV show Dance Moms as a child. Siwa has built an entire brand surrounding her image, selling everything from hair bows to board games and more for her child audience.
Recently, Siwa attracted a lot of attention by posting a rainbow saturated TikTok where she lip syncs to Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way”. Speculation began to fly around social media as her millions of fans wondered if this was Jojo’s way of publicly coming out as part of the LGBT+ community- and they were right. She later confirmed she had come out by hosting a livestream on her Instagram, where she expressed her happiness at the love and support she had received from her fans.
During the livestream that gained a whopping 6.9 million views, she affectionately tells her viewers ‘It’s okay, it’s awesome, the world is there for you- it might be harder for some people, everyone’s situation is different but there are so many loving people out there’ and you can’t help but feel her joy.
If you’re unfamiliar with Jojo, you might be wondering why its such a big deal, and why you should care about a famous person coming out.
Here’s the thing- alongside the rush of support- many fans headed to Twitter to express how important Siwa’s coming out truly was. It wasn’t just a chance for Siwa to be her authentic self- she was also addressing her millions of fans and normalizing the idea that a young person can fearlessly come out at the peak of their career, ignore homophobic pushback and not face immensely negative career-oriented consequences.
Many called Jojo’s coming out momentous. She has instantly become a role model for the LGBT+ youth and her bravery will undoubtedly help those who grow up seeing her on their screen and who identify as LGBT+. She is already embedded into children’s popular culture and she will have an immense impact on helping young people to understand that it is normal to identify as LGBT+.
We should care about Jojo’s coming out because with over 31.9 million fans worldwide, she has reinforced the important truth that ‘no matter who you love, it is ok’ and she will go on to inspire and influence an entire generation of young people. Finding LGBT+ role models that are young, as young person, has proven difficult- with Jojo’s coming out, we are witnessing a change in that narrative and it is definitely something to care about.