If you’ve ever seen the ’90s movie Reality Bites, starring Wynona Ryder and Ethan Hawke, then you probably remember the scene where one of the characters rehearses “coming out” in front of his friends. There was much talk of being scared and rejected by his parents, simply for admitting that he was gay. His friends, however, showered him with support.
I walked away from that movie wondering just how many kids I knew in real life where silently struggling with the same dilemma. How many felt unsafe walking the halls each day? How many had to hide who they really were from the people who should love them the most — their family?
But these days, thanks to the passage of gay marriage, the many headways the LGBTQ movement has made, and the countless celebs stepping forward to become gay advocates and allies, coming out has not only become safer, it’s also far more normalized. And the impact that has had on the next generation has been huge.
Take, for example, this incredibly touching and brave video by Oliver Vloggs, a UK vlogger who is now making waves on YouTube with his short video where he comes out to little brother, Alfie.
The video has been viewed 2.9 million times and has attracted 7,700 comments to date — and for good reason. This is a perfect example of how to talk to little kids about what it means to be gay: with love, patience, and honesty.
“We’re gonna talk about love … ” Oliver says to the camera, as he starts off the video. With Alfie sitting on his lap, the two engage in an open dialog about the different ways that love can be expressed. “I don’t really know how to put this,” Oliver says, “Okay, let’s think … ”
Oliver then ask his little brother, “How do you think about love? Do you think, boy, girl, marriage, baby?”
At first, Alfie starts talking about the most traditional notion of what love looks like.
“So if you’re a mum, and you want to be in love with a dad … you get in love with them,” he says.
Oliver presses on with a few more measured and carefully worded questions. You can sense from watching that he’s nervous, but that there’s clearly a sense of trust and love between the two brothers. He then makes note of their sister and her boyfriend before pointing out, “Have you noticed that I haven’t got a girlfriend?”
“Yeah,” says Alfie, “because if you gone to school and you got in love with them then you can actually get married.” (Ha! So cute and spoke just like a typical 5-year old.)
“So, how would it make you feel if I married a man?” Oliver asks slowly … and oh man, it’s at this point in the video that my heart started beating like you wouldn’t believe.
“If you marry a man,” Alfie wonders out loud, “it’s going to be so cool, because I saw in one movie … a man was in love with another man and then everyone was saying, ‘Cool’ … ”
And then — this is the part my nearly exploded — Alfie starts chanting, “Love is love, love is love!”
OMG, STAHP IT!
I’ll admit it, I totally cried while watching. Because this is the world I want my kids growing up in; one in which love is not bound by gender norms. Because Alfie is absolutely right, love IS love.
Alfie goes on to tell his older bro that “I already know because you’re my brother. When you have a baby you’ll get the ones that got lost.”
Big huge congratulations to Oliver for coming out and doing with such grace and loving kindness. He is a fantastic example of how to demonstrate to little kids that being LBGTQ is no reason for hiding, because as Alfie points out, “LOVE IS LOVE!”