When you think of JoJo Siwa, you think of a bubbly, talented, kid-friendly dancer-turned-influencer who has turned a generation of fans into bow-wearing, ponytail-toting vehicles of positivity. But now, Siwa can add another accomplishment to her resume: LGBTQ icon. After the superstar came out as LGBTQ last week, fans have delighted that such a high-profile mainstream star is helping to de-stigmatize the community.
On Friday, the 17-year-old YouTuber shared a video of herself lip-syncing along with Lady Gaga‘s LGBTQ anthem, “Born This Way.” Fans speculated about what it could mean, but Siwa quickly put speculation to rest by posting a tweet of herself wearing a shirt that read, “Best Gay Cousin Ever,” with the caption, “my cousin got me a new shirt.”
It took exactly moments for the internet to explode with excitement. Siwa’s coming out blazes a trail for LGBTQ teens. Although there have certainly been openly gay teen and kid stars in the past, it’s more common for them to come out a little later in life. Stigmas surrounding the gay community often drive publishers and talent managers to encourage their clients to keep their sexuality under wraps until they’re older and less at risk of alienating the religious parents of fans who may turn away from the young stars. Siwa just smashed that ceiling by coming out at 17.
JoJo Talks About Being ‘Really Happy’
On the heels of her big announcement, Siwa held an Instagram Live session with fans where she answered some questions. Beaming and looking confident and content, the young star set about to continue being a guiding light for those looking to, “come out.”
When asked by a fan how long she’s been a member of the LGBTQ community, Siwa responds that she must have been all her life. “My whole life I have really really been – I like people. If that person happens to be a boy, great! And if that person happens to be a girl, great! Yeah, I think I’m just really happy.”
Not All Fans are On Board
Despite Siwa’s positivity and happiness, some people can’t help but try to rain on her parade. Across the internet, religious parents of kids who love Siwa have promised to trash their kids’ signature Siwa bow stashes. Some call it inappropriate, and suggest that Siwa has been brainwashed.
One person even went so far as to call the police and claim that Siwa was dangerous, prompting police to send units to her house. This is a dangerous tactic known as, “swatting.”
Siwa explained what happened, per Buzzfeed, “‘Basically, there’s this thing called swatting. We’re at our house, and all of a sudden, there was a whole bunch of police telling us to come outside the house.
We went outside, hands up, because you have to obviously follow the rules, and then the police were saying that somebody had called and made a claim.
And then, all of a sudden, paparazzi came from around the corner,’ she continued. ‘It’s called ‘swatting,’ where the media will actually call the police, so that way you have to come outside your house.
I think because I recently came out to the internet, the media is obviously very excited, which I love, and I love the support. However, you could’ve just hung outside my house and I would’ve eventually come outside my house.'”
Siwa overall seems to be mostly un-phased by the haters.
Reaction Has Mostly Been Very Positive
On her Instagram, Siwa shared that Nickelodeon had sent her a bouquet of rainbow balloons in celebration and support. A major network – especially one geared towards kids – openly showing support is the kind of groundbreaking step forward that could only have happened in the past year or two.
Stars and fellow LGBTQ members have been vocal in their support for Siwa, and have drowned out the hate. Former teacher and Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller said, “I always knew the world would be a more colorful, positive, sparkly place with a kind, loving, dazzling triple threat like you in it.
Love you kiddo!!! Keep making me proud.”
Gay entertainment icons like Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O’Donnell showed Siwa support, and superstars like Lil Nas X and Paris Hilton added their love as well.
Even Jersey Shore‘s Snooki got in on the congratulations, and fellow influencers Collin Ballinger and James Charles sent notes of support. Charles wrote, “IM SO HAPPY FOR YOU,” and NikkieTutorials added, “I’M IN TEARS WELCOME BABY.”
Although in retrospect, Siwa’s rainbow-heavy merchandise may have been a hint all along, it’s clear that Siwa’s formal announcement has shattered stigmas and is helping to continue blazing trails forward for LGBTQ youth – and older fans!- who see themselves in Siwa.
We at CELEB send JoJo our love and congratulations; as the song says, “you’re on the right track, baby!”