A 16-year-old made the spur-of-the-moment decision to come out during the BBC News special Generation Misunderstood, which featured teens and 20somethings discussing what it’s like to be young today.
“This is actually a really big thing for me, this is the first time I’ve ever admitted it in public,” Andy said in a discussion about about whether older generations need to be more open-minded about race, gender and sexuality. Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, he announced, “I am bisexual.”
The audience erupted in applause, emboldening Andy to share why he’s struggled.
“I think it’s been really difficult for me to come out… especially to people at school, [is] because there is so much stereotyping and so many presumptions around it, and people assuming you are a certain way because of how you act or because of who you are attracted to. When in reality it’s something you can’t control.”
“People treat it like you’re in the wrong,” he added, “and like you’re committing some kind of sin when I’m hard-wired that way. It’s not something I can change.”
Asked how he thought his family and friends would respond, Andy joked, “It’s gonna be really awkward when I get home, isn’t it?”
He then confessed that coming out on live national television actually felt easier than having a face-to-face with his parents.
“Maybe I’ve taken the coward’s way out,” he said. “But I think this is the easiest way for me to explain it and kind of accept who I am, because it is a multi-stage process and it’s taken me years to come to terms with it. I think telling other people is a really small part of that.”
Asked if he planned to sharing his truth with thousands of people on television, Andy replied “No, hence why I’m shaking now. But in a way it’s like a relief. Like I’ve been hiding something for years, and finally it’s okay.”
Watch Andy’s heartwarming coming out below.
— BBC Newsbeat (@BBCNewsbeat) September 26, 2017