LGBTQ children still face awful harassment at the hands of their communities, their schools, and sadly, their families. The New York Times has published a beautiful and moving multimedia project entitled “Coming Out.” The New York Times communicated with almost 100 queer teenagers from all over the United States, communicating via email, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
What takes precedence in “Coming Out” is the intimate narrative of the children framed in photo galleries and sometimes with voice overs by the children themselves. Striking quotes float above first person accounts by abused and frightened children, collected into a thoughtful tapestry of pictures and audio. Many of the featured children recall identifying their homosexuality at young ages and articulately recall the experience of hiding it or of being ashamed.
The New York Times embarked on the project ”Coming Out” as an effort to better understand this generation’s realities and expectations, and to give teenagers their own voice in the conversation.
What makes “Coming Out” an important experience for parents is that, as the Times aimed, the project gives queer children their own voice, placing you in their town, in their family, in their circumstances. So often, queer youth stories are framed by larger narratives about our nation or policies, stories about bullying or social media usage. In “Coming Out,” there are no adults mediating for them, and so the reader is presented with authentic portraits of contemporary queer children in America.