Popular YouTuber Dan Howell has come out as gay, and we are so proud of him. In a powerful new video uploaded on June 13, 2019, the social media star discussed his journey — and it definitely hasn’t been easy for him. The internet personality admitted that as a child he was bullied a lot, which made it hard for him to come to terms with his sexuality.
“Any group situation was an excuse to single me out, call me ‘gay’ for some reason, and then make everyone else exclude me,” he explained. “I don’t know what I was doing wrong but at this age I understood one thing — being gay, whatever that meant, was clearly the worst thing you could be.”
And as he got older, things got even worse.
“The low-key pushing became punches. People used to wait for me after school just to throw things at me. Once a guy put his hand around my throat and pushed my head against a coat peg in the locker room while everyone was watching and just slapped me for five minutes. But I never reacted, I never cried or got angry or fought back because then I’d be giving them what they wanted and I’d be playing along,” he continued. “I became a total outcast. No one wanted to come near me because they feared that they’d get targeted too. No one ever stood up for me.”
“This experience, coming from a childhood where hearing the word ‘gay’ meaninglessly thrown around as an insult at home, at school, in music and on TV, then realizing I am actually kind of gay. To then very specifically being attacked for it, was traumatic,” the 28-year-old added. “The world was clearly telling me, if I wanted to ever be accepted by anyone, or in my particular environment — survive, I couldn’t be gay. I was afraid of it. I felt totally alone, confused, and I deeply hated myself. I used to ask God, in case he was there, ‘Please. Just make me straight.'”
But after high school, Dan headed to college where he explained that he felt a lot more accepted. He started using Twitter, which led him to the world of YouTube, and suddenly, he finally felt like he found a place to fit in.
“I thought it was hopeless, but in reality there was so much to hope for. Time changes everything,” he said. “I want anyone who’s ever felt this to realize that you are never trapped. There is always hope. You just need to believe in yourself and get to the other side.”
ICYMI, Dan has over 6 million subscribers and rose to fame as one half of British comedy duo “Dan & Phil,” alongside his friend Phil Lester. The pair also hosted a segment on BBC Radio 1. And he credits Phil with ultimately teaching him to love himself again.
“It was more than just romantic. This is someone that genuinely liked me. I trusted him, and for the first time since I was a tiny child, I actually felt safe,” he said of their relationship. “We are real best friends. Companions for life, like actual soulmates. It’s so lucky to find someone you can be that compatible with. Especially to someone who has experienced the kind of self-hatred that I’ve dealt with. One person accepting you could make all the difference.”
“Queer people exist,” he concluded. “Choosing not to accept them is not an option. To anyone watching this that isn’t out, it’s OK. You’re OK. You were born this way. It’s right. And anyone that has a problem with it is wrong. Based on your circumstance you might not feel ready to tell people yet, or that it’s safe, and that’s fine too. Just know that living your truth with pride is the way to be happy. You are valid. It gets so much better. And the future is clear. It’s pretty queer.”
You go, Dan!
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