By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com September 08 2011 4:00 AM ET
A young gay airman who had been slowly chronicling
his coming out process while serving overseas celebrated the first day
of the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" by coming out to his YouTube
followers — and his father. The moment spread across the Internet and then national television.
But he hadn't released video of what he expected would be the more difficult moment — coming out to his mother in Alabama in a phone call a half hour later.
Going by the username, AreYouSuprised, Airman 1st class Randy Phillips, a 21-year-old airman stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, had already told ABC News that everyone around him had been supportive before he released the video with his mom on his YouTube page on Thursday.
feels great. It's nice not having to look over your shoulder, or worry
about who you are talking to," Phillips told ABC News this morning. "I
think everybody knows. I never thought I'd be so comfortable with it.
It's very supportive. Everybody's been absolutely great."
Watch his latest video, and then see how he came to this moment in the video diary entries on following pages.
Coming Out to Dad — September 20
After making his father promise that he would love him unconditionally, the airman said, "Dad, I'm gay."
"Gay?" his father said.
"I always have been, and I've known since forever," he replied.
His father said he would still love his son, no matter what.
airman admitted after a moment, "I've been working myself up, sitting
here with the phone in my hand for four hours," he said.
Rolling in the Deep — Military Cover — August 8
You may have been one of the millions who saw a viral YouTube video showing
a group of airmen covering Adele's hit "Rolling in the Deep." It just
so happens that the guy who posted the video was Randy Phillips, on the verge
of coming out to the world.
He is the airman who uploaded the video, using the name AreYouSuprised, an
account where he had also been keeping a vlog on YouTube about being gay in the
military. Soon enough, his military colleagues started to figure out that the
guy who posted the video of the band of singing airmen was also the guy posting
the intimate (yet mostly faceless) vlog posts.
Here is the performance that went viral and changed his life.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Training — Gay Military Perspective — May 25
Coming Out in the Military: Baby Steps — June 27
DADT: Should I Come Out? — August 2
Coming Out — August 25
Are You Surprised Q&A — September 6