There are many ways to come out nowadays. But why post your LGBTQ identity on Instagram when you could (literally) sing it from the rooftops? Television history is full of dramatic ways such as this to declare yourself. Not all are recommended, but all will certainly leave an impression.
Poetry is a wonderful way to declare your feelings and confess your heart’s desires, as demonstrated by Jack (Kerr Smith) in this groundbreaking episode of Dawson’s Creek season 2. The storyline was the brainchild of gay producers Kevin Williamson and Greg Berlanti, who also tackled teen coming out and outing as the director of the recent Love, Simon. That film also concluded with a dramatic coming-out, when Simon’s crush Bram (Keiynan Lonsdale) joined him for a kiss on a Ferris wheel in front of their classmates.
And speaking of, the kiss is the ultimate dramatic public declaration of identity. One of the highlights of season 2 of Sense8 was when closeted actor Lito Rodriquez (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) put to rest the rumors around his sexual orientation by offering to be the grand marshal of São Paulo Pride and then embracing his boyfriend Hernando (Alfonso Herrera) in front of the parade and the world.
While a meeting of the lips is a symbolic gesture of queer love, so is the same-sex dance. This could occur at a prom, like in the recent Netflix film Alex Strangelove, or any public gathering. In Ugly Betty, Justin (Mark Indelicato) stole the spotlight at his mother’s wedding by taking the hand of his boyfriend Austin (Ryan McGinnis) and slow-dancing in front of his family.
There’s nothing gayer than a musical number, so why not go the distance and make it a coming-out as well? Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett) had his own epic coming-out performance season 1 on Fox’s Empire, singing “You’re So Beautiful” in front of his father Lucious with an altered lyric: “This the kind of song that make a man love a man.” The enthusiastic support from the crowd, and his supportive mother, Cookie, helped Lucious eventually conquer his homophobia. Mirroring his character’s storyline, Smollett also came out on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that same year.
The tearful confession is a staple of coming-out in Hollywood — and in the real world as well. Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) exemplified this on Glee, where his declaration to his father of his gay identity is a master-class in the outpouring of pent-up anxiety. Also see: every YouTube coming-out video ever made.
And it’s not a coming-out list without mentioning the Queen of Coming Out, Ellen DeGeneres. The lesbian comedian came out on her show Ellen in 1997 to Oprah Winfrey, and afterward, the media landscape was never the same. In 2016, DeGeneres was honored by President Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her courage as an out entertainer, who has in turn used her platform to help others (like Jussie Smollett) live their lives openly as well.
Conservative religious people are apt to quote the Bible to justify what they see as the sinfulness of LGBTQ people. Sara Ramírez, as Callie on Grey’s Anatomy, beat them at their own game. In her coming-out, she went toe-to-toe with her religious father — and the priest he brought along — by citing Biblical verses that support queer love. “You can’t pray away the gay,” she told him in the heated scene, and, referencing Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Amen!
Pass the potatoes and a plate of coming-out please. There’s no more opportune time for a dramatic moment than family dinners, where members from different generations have gathered for food, drink, and the occasional showdown. Carmen (Sarah Shahi), on Showtime’s The L Word, did just that when she announced to her mother that her “friend” Shane (Katherine Moennig) is actually her girlfriend. What follows is a bilingual exchange that results in a family rejection — a sad but sadly not uncommon response in the real world as well. Surprisingly, this was actually one of the only coming-out scenes in the entirety of The L Word.
The Canadian teen soap Degrassi was renowned for its variety of coming-out possibilities — among them, a campaign for two Prom Kings. Here, Marco (Adamo Ruggiero) comes out to his dad onstage in the middle of a soliloquy in a Shakespeare play. It’s a touch of drama and a breaking of the fourth wall that the Bard surely would have appreciated.
Coming out can be messy. For example, it’s not the best plan to come out in a room where strangers are drinking by yelling obscene language — but that's life, sometimes. This was the path taken by Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher) on Showtime’s Shameless. “I just want everybody here to know I'm fucking gay,” he yelled to the crowd. A bar fight ensued with punches and smashed bottles. It’s certainly a memorable way to make a declaration, but not a recommended one.