Coming out LIVE to a MILLION people! @ryandubs

This blog post by @ryandubs references this YouTube video. Check it out!

Hi guys! My name is Ryan. I’m 29 years old from Toronto, Canada, and it’s an honor to be posting here on Sam’s blog!

One of my favorite things about Sam is his entire concept of being a ‘passion enthusiast’. When he first explained the concept to me, I really related to it. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I think Sam and I get along so well, because we’re very similar in our individual sparks we exude for the pursuit of our passions. I love travelling – I’ve been to every continent except South America (and I plan on going on an exhibition to Antarctica for my 30th birthday!). I love being an entrepreneur – I run three very fun, very exciting businesses. I love my family, my best friends, my dog, and my horses.

But over the past few years – ever since I came out, actually – I’ve had a passion for just… being myself! I know it might sound cheesy, but I’ve genuinely found that giving in to who you truly are, your inward spirit, can have profound effects on your relationships, career, and of course, your passions.

I started to learn this when I came out LIVE to 1,000,000 people.

Yup, a million people! (Well, actually, about 950k at the time of writing… but we’re getting there!). This is the story of how I came out to the world on a secret hidden camera, and how it’s changed the way I live my life and fuel my passions. (Click here to open the video on YouTube in a new tab!)

 Relative to a lot of LGBT people I know (including Sam!), I came out pretty late in life – when I was 23 years old. In high school, I honestly must have just been a late bloomer, because my sexuality never really affected me at all; I didn’t feel straight, but I also didn’t feel any different. Things were just… meh. It took falling in love with someone, who happened to be a boy, to make me realize that there was something different about me that I would soon stress over immensely.

Up until the part where I told a million people that I was gay, my coming out experience was pretty textbook, at least for a young Canadian; it’s the typical story of “everyone sort of knew, we just never really talked about it; my parents always asked when I was going to get a girlfriend, but probably knew I wouldn’t; my best friend was dyyyyyyyying to ask me, but knew she shouldn’t – and then there’s me, stressing and stressing over something I now realize would be so, so liberating.

I’ll never forget the day I decided to come out. I had just moved away to business school, and I made friends with a girl named Melody – one of my best friends today, and a business partner now too! (ugh, so business-school). One night, we were walking with some friends to a bar, and we were a little bit tipsy. Melody is VERY direct, and that’s something I love about her. She flat out asked me, “Ryan, do you like girls or guys?”. I know it may be surprising, but this was the FIRST time anyone EVER asked me this, to my face, in real life, EVER.

I was stunned, and I didn’t know what to do. I panicked, and blurted out “Girls!”. I don’t know if she believed me, but she at least was super nice and gladly accepted that answer, and we continued on our walk.

When I got home that night, I felt this horrible, sick feeling in my stomach. Even though I had just met this girl, I lied to her. And it wasn’t just a casual lie, it was a lie about who I truly am as a human being, the basis of any future relationships I have, and a part of me I knew I needed to let out. That was it, it was time.

The next day, I messaged Melody and told her I was gay, and apologized for lying to her. I let her know that she inspired me to fully come out. Right then and there, I made the decision to do it. And I knew exactly how.

For the years leading up to my coming out, I found one tool EXTREMLY helpful for my mental health and ability to predict just how this was going to go. If you’re in the closet right now, I highly recommend this tool – YouTube “coming out live” stories.

The concept is simple; you secretly video record yourself coming out live to your parents, siblings, or friends – and lock this into the non-deletable time capsule that is the internet.

For me, these videos were SO helpful. At the time, there were only about 4 of these videos on YouTube, but every family was different – some parents had amazing reactions, some kicked their kids out of the house; the full spectrum. For me, I used each unique situation as a case study (ew, I’m so business school) to try and figure out how my own parents and family would react, based on what I had seen in these videos. I probably watched all 4 videos dozens of times, and on the 20-dozenth time, I decided I needed to pay it forward. These videos helped me so much, so now it was my turn to step up to the LGBT community and offer any help I could.

And so, I did. On thanksgiving of 2013, I came out to my mom, and I filmed it. Her reaction was just sooooo motherly. Every time I think about it, I’m reminded of what an amazing mom I have. I’m so lucky.

But the real story begins after I came out to her. As soon as the ordeal was over and my tears were dry, I grabbed my laptop that I had secretely positioned to film the entire encounter, and went to bed.

A few days later, I decided to edit the video, and upload it to YouTube. Keep in mind, I didn’t tell my mom what I had done, and I just figured I’d wing it. I uploaded it to YouTube, drove back to school, and went back to my normal school life, coming out to a few more new friends each day.

A week later, I got a text that totally freaked me out. It was from a guy I went to high school with who had been openly gay throughout his high school career. The text read, “Hey Ryan! I saw your video! Congrats on coming out!’

What.

The.

F#@k.

How did he see it?! Did he happen to just stumble across my video?! Had other people seen it? Keep in mind, yes I was coming out but I wanted to do it on my terms, slowly! Call my crazy but I just didn’t expect people from my REAL LIFE to see the video! I thought YouTube was more of a… random internet person thing!

I freaked out, and I decided to private the video. I was too scared that too many people would find out, too fast, and I wasn’t ready for that.

But then thought about it. What am I doing? This isn’t why I put this video up. I put this video up to HELP people, and to inspire them to live their true, authentic lives. If I deleted this video, I’d just be wasting the positive experience I had and the comfort I could provide to young boys and girls feeling the uncertainties of being LGBT.

So, I put the video back up. I went to bed. And I woke up to 200,000 views.

Yup. YouTube put my video on the HOME PAGE. My phone was blowing up, because I had YouTube set to email me every time my videos got a comment. I was SO confused, and so overwhelmed.

I told no one.

Over the next few days, the views climbed by over 100,000 every single day. This thing was trending worldwide! I was getting requests from major news outlets like ABC and Huffington Post to do interviews, and tons of texts from people I knew saying they saw my video! What’s even crazier is that throughout all this, I didn’t even have time to come out to my best friend Jen – she found out through YouTube! – something I regret to this day, but that we also laugh about constantly.

I couldn’t believe how the video blew up. But one thing I knew for sure, with hundreds of thousands of views, I MUST have helped at least one boy or girl struggling. And the comments backed this theory up – there was an absolute outpour of support, kind words, and thank-yous from people all over the world telling me that I’ve helped them come out to their parents.

THAT is the ultimate feeling. My mission was complete.

Well, almost. Wanna know what’s harder than coming out to your mom as gay?

Coming out to your mom about secretly filming her and putting her on YouTube for almost a million people to see. Try doing THAT!

She was VERY confused, but eventually she came around and was totally fine. I told her to scroll through the thousands of comments commending her on her parenting skills, and that certainly made her happy.

Today, there are literally hundreds of coming out live videos on YouTube, which makes me so, so happy. As the fifth video ever, mine will always be special to me and my mom – forever a moment captured in time. How often does that happen, especially for such big moments?

If there’s one thing that you can learn from this story (and sorry, I tend to ramble!), it’s that passionately living as your authentic self creates positivity, authenticity, and encouragement for others to be themselves in a world where we desperately need that.

If you’re struggling to come out, please try watching these amazing inspiring videos on YouTube simply by searching “coming out live”. If you feel like it’s appropriate, consider filming your coming out to help pay it forward.

Ryan out!

@ryandubs – Instagram.com/ryandubs

 

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