Being a social media influencer involves merging the worlds of play and reality. You can be raw and honest ― totally yourself one moment and assume a totally different persona in the next. On April 1, I used that social media universe to test the waters of coming out as bisexual.
The water was fine. Fans and followers showed me so much love, kindness and insane amounts of support. But I was scared and not ready to come out, which is why I had posted the video on April Fools’ Day. The timing made it easier to write it all off as a joke and slip into the persona of “straight Zach.”
I understand the hurt, anger and feelings of betrayal this caused. While I hid behind “straight Zach,” I received countless videos from people who poured their hearts out to me and told me their own heartbreaking coming out stories or confided in me that they were confused about their sexuality and weren’t sure what to do about it.
I’ve always been interested in makeup and clothing and accessories traditionally viewed as female. As soon as I was old enough to dress myself, I decided that whatever looks good, looks good. and I can wear it ― whether it’s seen as traditionally male or female attire. While I felt comfortable breaking down those boundaries, I was afraid to break down the final boundary I’d built within myself: officially coming out as bisexual.
I want to do that here and now ― no hiding and no personas.
I’m a bisexual man.
I’m fortunate to have a really supportive family and group of friends. A while back, my younger brother came out as gay and my mother supports him. My amazing friends would have my back no matter what (unless I wore an unflattering shade of eyeshadow). I have LGBTQ friends and I’ve always been supportive of them… and their input throughout my own coming out process has been invaluable.
Since I made that video on April 1, I’ve come to realize that some people aren’t as lucky as I am. I’ve heard about other people’s coming out experiences and some of those accounts, unfortunately, are really scary stuff. I was aware that there were nightmarish coming out stories, but I never fully realized what other people were going through.
Moving forward, in addition to destroying labels and boundaries around what is considered male/female attire, I hope to call attention to organizations that are helping people like so many of those who have reached out to me over the past few weeks. One of those incredible organizations is The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ youth.
I’d like to offer my sincerest apologies for having given into my fear and using social media as a mask to hide behind. I want to move forward with the “straight Zach” persona cast aside, working to do whatever I can to empower others and help the LGBTQ+ community.
While I’m still going enjoy playing with amazing clothes, makeup and goofing around in my videos, I’m determined to continue this journey with no more fear and hiding ― just being open and honest with my fans, my friends and my family. I realize the huge responsibility that comes with having this kind of platform and I owe it to all members of the community to use that voice to do good. I plan to demonstrate this by walking the walk, one step at a time... starting with this one.