Indiana Daily Student

OPINION: No, you did not know that Noah Schnapp was gay

<p>Actor Noah Schnapp plays the character Will Byers in the Netflix series &quot;Stranger Things.&quot; On Jan. 5, 2023, Noah Schnapp uploaded a video to Tiktok announcing he was gay.  </p>

Actor Noah Schnapp plays the character Will Byers in the Netflix series "Stranger Things." On Jan. 5, 2023, Noah Schnapp uploaded a video to Tiktok announcing he was gay.

On Jan. 5, 2023, “Stranger Things” star Noah Schnapp uploaded a video to TikTok.  

“When I finally told my friends and family I was gay after being scared in the closet for 18 years and all they said was ‘We know,’” Schnapp’s caption read.  

This video received a lot of positive comments congratulating him on coming out and sending their love. But some individuals responded differently.  

There were some comments online that claimed that they knew Schnapp was gay before he formally came out. These comments fall something along the lines of “I called it,” or “The closet is made out of glass.” And while these people may have meant no harm with their comments, this does bring up a larger issue that can happen when celebrities like Schnapp decide to come out.  

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Coming out as a member of the LGBTQ community is an extremely big decision that can be terrifying, especially as a public figure. Coming out opens the door to criticism, hate, death threats, etc., and for a celebrity, coming out can harm their career. A good example of this is when Jojo Siwa came out in January 2021. 

Siwa faced massive backlash after coming out, mainly by parents whose kids consume Siwa’s content and buy Siwa’s merchandise. Parents remarked they were no longer going to let their children have anything to do with Siwa. Siwa addressed these comments in an interview with TODAY in which she said that she “couldn’t sleep for three days” after coming out.  

“My thing is, I don't want people to watch my videos or buy my merchandise if they aren't going to support not only me but the LGBTQ+ community,” Siwa said.  

Furthermore, in April 2022, Jojo Siwa was not invited to the Kids Choice Awards, despite being nominated. People online speculated that this was due to her becoming a voice for the LGBTQ community after coming out.  

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These instances show that coming out is a deeply personal and vulnerable experience, especially to those with a large audience. The fact that Schnapp felt safe and loved enough to share this part of him is extremely commendable, and he deserves nothing but love, acceptance and kindness from his audience.  

There is no way to know if someone is gay until they tell you. This is especially true when you do not personally know the person you are speculating about. You are only assuming based on what you perceive as signs of “being gay.”And boiling down an identity to these arbitrary signs is outdated and stereotypical. Gay people all look, act and think differently and independently from one another. 

So, when somebody comes out, leave the unnecessary comments at home and don’t make their coming out story about what you thought you knew or assumed. I am extremely proud of Noah Schnapp for coming out and speaking his truth, and you should be too. 

Ravana Gumm (she/her) is a freshman studying journalism. 

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