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“It’s all in a day’s work for a 15-year-old gay virgin”: Coming Out and Coming of Age in Teen Television

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posted on 2017-05-22, 04:33 authored by Whitney Monaghan
My coming out story is disappointingly banal. From what I knew from film and television (where I learn all of my life lessons), I was supposed to sit down with my most trusted family member, cry and confess: "I think I'm in love, with a woman." According to the script, we were then supposed to cry even more and talk about it. But that is not what happened. I came out to my mother in an email that ended something like this: "p.s. by the way, I'm a lesbian." There were no tears involved. Lesson learned: real life is nothing like the movies.

No matter how horrible, awkward, or painfully banal it may be, the task of coming out to someone close is often represented in popular culture as a life-changing moment. As it is often represented as the most important moment in the lives of gay and lesbian characters, the coming out narrative is thus also depicted as the pivotal moment in the challenging, but ultimately empowering process known as coming of age. The distinctions between these narratives are often blurred as they are frequently entangled; however, I argue that they are discrete forms of narrative and must be treated accordingly.


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