YouTuber Ricky Dillon has come out as gay. On Wednesday, February 26, the internet star posted an 18-minute video where he opened up to viewers about “finally being okay” with his sexuality.

“I started to slowly realize that I’m gay a couple of years ago — I would say [in] 2017. And ever since, I’ve slowly realized it more,” the 27-year-old admitted. “Fast forward to this day. I am 1,000 percent sure that I am gay.”

Ricky explained that his decision to come out publicly came from feeling “inauthentic and disingenuous” with his online persona. He also told viewers that while coming to terms with his sexuality, he has suffered from “crippling anxiety.” The internet star said he was “terrified” to come out because of the religious household he grew up in.

“It was drilled into my brain from an early age that being gay is one of the worst things that could happen,” Ricky said. “I am so terrified [my family’s] not going to accept me for being gay, because I know their beliefs.”

Not wanting his subscribers to bash his family, Ricky assured viewers that his parents are “great,” but the “fact of the matter is I’m gay and it’s something they don’t believe in.”

He said “other creators online” and the constant “support for gay people” ultimately gave him the strength to make his video.

“I don’t think I would be doing this if it wasn’t for so many other brave YouTubers coming out,” he admitted.

Ricky also said that there was a time in his life when he “tried so hard to be straight,” but his relationships with women were “incredibly awkward.” This, in turn, was what initially led him to come out as asexual in a video from 2016.

“I did make a video — four years ago now, I think — where I talked about my sexuality and how I think that I’m asexual, because my mind had somehow convinced myself that being gay is off the table and there’s no way I could be gay,” he said. “I came to the conclusion that I must be asexual because nothing made sense.”

However, Ricky has finally come to terms with his sexuality. He said being gay is the most “natural and comfortable thing ever.”

“It all makes sense and it feels right and I finally feel like I’m myself,” he admitted before assuring viewers that he had plans to tell his family before the video went live on YouTube.

Although he has yet to update fans on how his family reacted, Ricky took to Twitter hours after he uploaded and thanked everyone for their support.

“Just wanted to come on here and thank you all for the wonderful love and support you’ve shown me today. I’m truly so overwhelmed, in the best way,” he wrote. “I’ve never felt so relieved and at peace before in my entire life. Just been processing and letting myself breathe all day. Love you.”

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