JoJo Siwa may have been named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2020, but it turns out 2021 would be even bigger for the mega-influencer, who boasts more than 33 million followers on TikTok alone.
In January, the 17-year-old sent her fans (and lets be real, the entire LGBTQ community) into a tailspin when she posted a video on TikTok lip-syncing to Lady Gaga’s LGBTQ anthem, “Born This Way,” causing millions of her followers to speculate whether she was LGBTQ.
People didn’t have to guess for very long. Just a day later, Siwa tweeted a photo of herself wearing a t-shirt with a rather clear message: BEST. GAY. COUSIN. EVER. Hey, we love to see it, and so did many others, including fellow Pride 50 honoree, Lil Nas X.
My cousin got me a new shirt pic.twitter.com/DuHhgRto7b
— JoJo Siwa!???? (@itsjojosiwa) January 22, 2021
In an Instagram livestream shortly after, Siwa shared she was “just so happy” after receiving a flood of support and told her fans “right now what matters is that you guys know that no matter who you love, that it’s OK. And that it’s awesome. And that the world is there for you… If I could give you any advice, do whatever it is that makes you happy.”
And, dammit, if Siwa doesn’t bring us joy! With her infectiously bubbly personality, she represents all that makes being LGBTQ great. And she’s proving to kids and teens everywhere that it’s OK to be exactly who you are.
A month after coming out, Siwa revealed she had a girlfriend in a series a sweet photos and videos posted on Instagram:
In April, Siwa confirmed to People she was pansexual and discussed what it was like to be out at such a young age. For every message of support, she said, there are still many trolls. In comments, people will tell her they will never buy her merch again or allow their children to watch her videos again.
At first, this upset her, until one day it dawned on her: “My thing is, I don’t want people to watch my videos or buy my merchandise if they aren’t going to support not only me, but the LGBTQ community.”
And with words like that, we can’t help but stan.
On the real though, at just 17 and in less than a year (!!!), Siwa has already proven herself an LGBTQ icon among her millions of fans. Watching her share her journey with unwavering authenticity and positivity has been nothing short of amazing. Because of Siwa, perhaps millions of teens no longer have to fear coming out. All they have to do is see who she is and what she represents to know, no matter who you love, it’s okay.
Welcome to the Pride 50, JoJo!