Instagram star Carl Cunard has come out as gay in a revealing and emotional video on YouTube.
The fashion and lifestyle blogger, who is followed by over 250,000 people on the social media site, unveiled his most personal post yet in the form of his coming out video on his YouTube channel, which has now gone viral with almost 60,000 views and hundreds of comments and messages.
In his heartfelt and at times funny video, 26-year-old Carl, who came out to his parents and close friends six years ago, explains why he’s decided to finally came out publicly to his followers.
“I’d been debating about recording the video for quite some time,” he says. “And I’ve seen that a lot of people had done videos like this before and I didn’t want to just jump on the bandwagon.
“I do feel that YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms do give me the opportunity to tell my story and be an inspiration for people and encourage them to be who they want to be as well. That was my reason.”
Carl’s story charts familiar territory for many gay men – his first realisation of being gay, his first relationship with a man (for Carl, a man 18 years older), a secret life in London and a fear of disappointing his parents.
He reveals how the illness of his older brother (who had leukaemia for six years and has since recovered) led to a feeling of pressure to live a more ‘traditional’ life for his family.
“My parents always saw me as living that “normal” life, giving them grandkids and living with a girl. I didn’t want to add any more pain to their lives,” he explains.
Carl’s painful break-up with his older partner led to a period of despair which he credits with finally convincing him to come out to his family.
“I was in really bad place when it happened and felt that life wasn’t worth living,” says Carl.
After texting his parents that he wanted to end his life, Carl’s parents were quick to get hold of their son.
“They asked me if I was having relationship with a married (female) friend, had a drug problem, money problems and finally if I was in a relationship with a man?” Carl’s answer was: “I am gay.
“It was the best feeling ever that they were there for me but I appreciate that not everyone’s situation is the same. My parents didn’t know how to react and what to say initially and even cracked jokes to make me feel at ease.
“Even now, my dad still doesn’t love to discuss it, but that’s ok.”
Through the Internet and social media, there have been people all across the world who have taken the time to share their stories like Carl, and these stories can be lifesavers.
To someone on the verge of ending their pain, a simple story of love and acceptance can save a life. A voice can be powerful. And a voice that makes someone who is confused and lonely and frustrated feel less so is a meaningful voice.
Words by Patrick McAleenan.