What We Love: MTV’s Coming Out

The new series proves that reality TV can get really real - in a good way

Courtesy of MTV

MTV has tackled coming out before with its landmark Coming Out Stories (it can still be seen in reruns on Logo). But this week, the music network debuted a new, compelling reality series that follows the experiences of young LGBT people as they navigate the sometimes difficult coming out process.

This week’s debut of Coming Out featured Nevin and Rachael. Both 21, each is faced with telling their families and friends that they are gay. Nevin, a star on his college’s rugby team, and Rachael, who is worried about her estranged father, both talk frankly about what it’s like being young, gay and on the verge of coming out to the people they value the most. The show not only delves into their lives in the closet, but follows them as they prepare to share what may be the biggest revelation of their young lives. And as viewers, it’s not always easy to predict how the news will be accepted.

Unlike a lot of reality shows today, Coming Out uses a documentary style to get to the heart of very personal stories – something MTV had become known for early on in other frank series about sometimes controversial issues. This series avoids the camp, the tedium and trainwrecks of other shows – and gets serious about an issue impacting the lives of so many young people and their families. It’s refreshing to see the new approach – especially as more LGBT people consider coming out at younger ages, and often face hostility from not only family, but also schools at a time when bullying is making front-page headlines.

Fortunately for Nevin and Rachael, they have supportive people in their lives. Nevin’s father – who already knows his son is gay – even drives him to rugby practice so he can talk to his teammates. And Rachael’s mother is unflappable in accepting her daughter’s sexual orientation, even if Rachael worries that her father may never be quite as accepting. We like to think this powerful series could start many conversations rolling. And we hope that by example, more people will have the courage to come out and more families and friends will be supportive when they do.

But don’t expect the show to skirt around painful issues. Both 21-year-olds faced a lot of fear over coming out – and, as viewers, we see their pain and apprehension over how these honest revelations could change their lives.

Check it out: