I’m trying out something new today, the Top Ten Tuesday meme from The Broke and The Bookish. There’s a new top ten list challenge posted every week, all of them related to books and reading. Now, I love lists and I love reading so what could be better? Today’s challenge is to list ten things you like or dislike when it comes to romances in books. It should have been finished by midnight to make it a proper Top Ten Tuesday, but I’ve been out this evening at a creative writing night and have only just been able to put the finishing touches on my list. Will try harder next week!
I’ll be blunt; I only watched this because of my personal connection to the subject matter. Had it not been for that then I probably would have avoided it, expecting the stilted dialogue and unrealistic scenarios that normally appear in these kinds of documentaries.
But while Coming Out Diaries does have its fair share of awkward scripted lines, it is also heart-warming and, in its way, very real. It follows three teenagers: Tori, a lesbian who wants to come out to her beauty college friends, but who is afraid after having been bullied in the past; Jamie, who was born Amy but has been living as a boy since he was six years old and wants to come out to his best friend; and Natalie, the only one of the three not to have a supportive family, who is fighting to get her mother to accept her as a girl, rather than as her son Kieran. Other than in this case, the teens’ families are gloriously supportive, Tori’s mother reacting in genuine bewilderment to the idea that she could have thrown her daughter out for being a lesbian (“But you’re still you,” she says.), while Jamie’s mum tells him that she’s proud of him for what he’s done, and seems even to blame herself for not giving birth to him as a boy. However, it is obvious that they have had much more time to get used to the idea than Natalie’s mother, who is worried that this is a phase that ‘her son’ (as she refuses to call him anything else) will live to regret.
Aside from Natalie’s story though, we see a staggering amount of acceptance in the hour-long documentary, and the teens themselves are engaging group. My one quibble, as I said before, is the dialogue, which is stilted at times, and certain scenes definitely seem staged (so Jamie’s best friend agreed to talk about him to a camera before realising that he was born a girl did he? I think not.). However, with this kind of set-up, that was only to be expected, and generally I found the programme to be well-edited, giving us just enough time with one person before rotating around to the next. The diary format is a little odd, but perhaps no more so than watching the teens stare awkwardly into the middle distance.
All things considered, Coming Out Diaries was a touching, insightful look into the lives of young people struggling with their sexuality, and if it raises awareness of LGBT issues then so much the better!
Coming Out Diaries is available on BBC iPlayer until 30th January.