Facebook recently released a report showing a record numbers of users came out as gay, lesbian, bi or transsexual in 2015. Facebook pointed to the Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling on same-sex marriage as a tipping point for this trend. On that day, according to the report, 2.5 times more people came out than on October 11 of the previous year. Meanwhile, more people than ever are showing their support of the LGBT community through Facebook’s groups.
This is all exciting news for two reasons: First, any statistics that show increasing public acceptance of one’s true nature is good news. Second, the methods people are using to come out these days engage their communities—groups of friends who rally around these individuals—much more than they did in the past. Once upon a time (like even a few years ago), coming out was done quietly, subtly, so as not to lose friends, jobs or reputations. The old “say it loud, say it proud” trope made a major splash because it was so rare and often so controversial. Now, loud and proud is a reality.
Facebook’s statistics are a treasure trove of information about how we’re evolving as a society, and it is exciting to see that in an oft-troubling year, wonderful news was being shared on the social medium. We’re not talking about your college roommate’s new baby or your brother-in-law’s fishing trip (although those are great updates on the newsfeed). We’re talking about huge decisions in people’s lives that completely redefine who they are. In the past, coming out so publicly could be fatal. In 2015, it’s par for the course on Facebook. Who knows what good news 2016 will bring.