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Shawn Mendes Catches Flack For Declining To Help Young Fan Come Out To Parents

Shawn Mendes (image via Instagram)

Pop star Shawn Mendes is catching some flack on the interwebs after a fan asks him to help here come out to her parents.

During a July 14 Q&A in Oakland, California, a fan asked if Mendes would record a ‘coming out’ video to her parents as she wanted to share with them that she identifies as bisexual.

“I’m bisexual and I haven’t told anybody, but my parents are very strict and I don’t know how to tell them so I was wondering if you could do a little video,” said the fan.

Mendes declined, but for a very good reason.

“This is what I want to tell you, your parents are your parents,” said Mendes. “They’re going to love you no matter what you say, no matter how you say it, no matter how you look when you say it, any time of the day.” 

Unfortunately, that’s not quite true as we know many young people come out as LGBTQ and are often rejected by their families. Many studies show that up to 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ who were kicked out of their homes after coming out.

“Nothing I say is going to mean anything that is even close to what you saying it means to them,” continued Mendes. “You’re their world. I cannot possibly come close to the amount of joy and happiness that they’re going to feel when they find out that you’re telling them your truth and your honesty.” 

He added, “I would if I thought that it was a better thing to do, but I know in my heart that it’s not. I know your parents are going to love you even more for being honest with them.”
Some folks felt Mendes appears out of touch for his complete confidence that all will be well for the young girl. But that’s what comes from a straight person who’s never had to face the reality of coming out.

But at the end of the day, coming out really is one of the most personal and empowering acts an LGBTQ person will ever do for themselves. Asking a young pop star to put a ‘seal of approval’ on the girl’s coming out isn’t likely to impact the parents.

“Hey – your kid is bisexual! Have a great day!”

I appreciate that Mendes seemed genuine and sincere in his response, and recognized the personal nature of coming out.