When Hulu announced the ‘first studio-produced, LGBT-centric holiday romantic comedy’ Happiest Season, starring the proudly bisexual Kristen Stewart, the loudest reaction seemed to be an exasperated ‘Finally!’. However, once the movie was released, its story arc, focusing on Kirsten Stewart’s on-screen girlfriend (played by Mackenzie Davis) ‘coming out’ to her parents, raised criticisms. Some viewers questioned the choice to ‘zoom in’ on what can be a traumatic experience for LGBT+ people, arguing that ‘stories about coming shouldn’t be the only queer stories we get.’ Many of the broader conversations in LGBT+ communities question the emphasis on ‘coming out’, not only in TV and movies but in everyday culture. Instead of putting pressure on LGBT+ people to ‘come out’, some ask if we could be focusing instead on making a world where’ LGBT+ people aren’t seen as ‘different’.
The LGBT+ experience is multi-faceted, and young people across the spectrum will have very different approaches to both understanding their sexual identity and how they choose to express it. For some people, coming out will be an important part of expressing their identity, and for others, it might not be important.