Jessie Paege has come out as bisexual.
The 19-year-old YouTube star — who is also author of the books Think Beyond Pink and Hey, It’s Okay to Be You and an actress in the upcoming horror film Followers — shared her coming-out journey with her 1.5 million subscribers in a two-part video posted Friday. The ad proceeds will benefit the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that provides a lifeline to LGBT youth.
In an exclusive interview with The Advocate, Paege, who has over 2.9 million followers across her social channels, discussed why she decided to come out and the message she wants to send to the world in doing so.
The Advocate: When did you first know you might be bisexual rather than straight or gay?
Jessie Paege: I always was a bit hesitant when it came to relationships and romance growing up. I was never the friend in a relationship or talking about crushes, and I think that came from my own insecurity and feelings. I realized that the term “bisexual” is fluid and the label fit me perfectly and the feelings I was scared of in high school.
What led to the moment when you realized you needed to come out?
I've wanted to come out for years now and I kept telling myself I'd do it without actually taking the actions. Once I would actually start coming out, I'd realize how difficult it can be, emotionally, and I'd tell myself "tomorrow." I started posting a lot more LGBT-related content this month and I think it was a subconscious sign that I really needed to come out.
Why did you choose to come out on YouTube?
YouTube is where I started! I feel like you can't tell a coming-out story in a character limit.
Tell us about the day you filmed your video. What was going through your head?
It was a random Sunday and I tried to treat it like any other filming day to make it easier. I was definitely incredibly nervous. I took three hour-long breaks because it was so emotionally draining, but finishing was so relieving and exciting!
Were you scared to come out as bi because people might see you as “in between” or “indecisive”?
Yes! I also identify as demisexual, which allows for me to be confident in my sexuality. As long as I know and love myself and my identity, that is what matters.
What’s your message to kids who are afraid to come out?
Only come out if you're safe. The internet has so many beautiful and accepting group chats and loving communities to talk with. Also, coming out to yourself comes first, and the rest can happen at your own speed.
Did you have any role models for coming out?
Troye Sivan was definitely a huge one for me! I also love Lauren Jauregui and relate to her a lot.
How will you go about dating now?
Just as I did before! I'll be a lot more open now, though. When I was closeted, I was only public about my dating life when it appeared to be heterosexual, and that is not a free way to live.
How are you feeling now that you’re out?
Relief and joy! Definitely a little worry, but I know that the people that are my true supporters will love me no matter my identity.
Thanks, Jessie! Take a look at her coming-out videos below.