Born This Way: How stars and media have embraced newly-out Jojo Siwa

In a string of social media posts at the end of January, children’s media personality Jojo Siwa came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

It started with a photo of the “Dance Moms” icon wearing a T-shirt. Now, questioning youth across the world will know and resonate with her story.

JoJo Siwa is a ray of sunshine in a world that seems scary right now,” Kim Kardashian West said. “As a parent, you want your kids to admire positive figures. There’s no one more positive than JoJo.” 

Joelle Joanie “JoJo” made headlines on Jan. 22 with a photo of herself wearing a T-shirt labeled “Best Gay Cousin Ever.”

The tweet has surpassed 1 million likes and words of recognition from other fellow celebs. 

Siwa began her career as a reality personality on the “Dance Moms” spinoff competition show “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition” in 2013.  

She would later make appearances on Lifetime’s “Dance Moms” during the show’s fifth and sixth seasons. She and her mother, Jessalynn Siwa, chose to leave the show following a brand deal with Nickelodeon. Siwa was 13 years old.

From there, Siwa became a household name for children and families across the country. She began releasing her hair accessories, JoJo’s Bows, to Claire’s retail stores. 

In 2018, Siwa announced her first concert tour for 2019. She would later headline across 52 American cities.  

Siwa spoke to Forbes Magazine to discuss her sudden notoriety in March 2020. She said she sold more than 80 million bows among other apparel and toy products. 

And in September 2020, Siwa was one of Time Magazine’s “[The] 100 Most Influential People of 2020.” Her article was submitted by none other than Kardashian West.

Viral TikTok singer Maia, known by her stage name Mxmtoon, complimented the entertainer in a reply tweet.

“So cute,” she said.

Scott Hoying, lead singer of a capella group Pentatonix, replied with heart-eyed emojis and colored hearts as support.

After her announcement on Twitter, Siwa hosted an Instagram livestream on Jan. 23. In the 15-minute video Siwa shared how she felt before and after the release of the photo. Siwa said she does not want anyone to rush or assume who she is.

“Somebody asked, ‘What label are you?’” she said. “You know, I have thought about this and the reason why I’m not ready to answer this is because I don’t really know the answer.” 

Multiple influencers and journalists continued to flock to support the teen and her latest announcement after the livestream. 

Activist and actor Ian McKellen, best known for his roles in “X-Men” and “The Lord of the Rings” series, said in a tweet that Siwa should focus on her happiness during this overwhelming experience.

“I hope [JoJo Siwa] puts aside any negative reaction to her coming out at a time when she deserves praise and empathy for taking control of her life in such a public way,” he said.

Vogue Magazine writer Emma Specter gave her strongest sympathy in a pragmatic article written for the singer and actress.

“Watching her claim space for her queerness while simultaneously refusing to capitulate to the world’s demand for constant disclosure makes me feel for the first time like any children I might be lucky enough to bring into the world could end up being encouraged to define themselves based on what feels right, rather than what’s expected,” she said.

But not everyone felt overwhelmingly positive to Siwa’s social media posts. Siwa responded to criticism regarding her post through her poster comments. One parent said their daughter would never be allowed to watch her content again. 

The post will not be attached for privacy reasons. 

Siwa simply said, “Okay!”

During the Jan. 23 livestream, she summed up her situation with the following statement.

“I want to share everything with the world, but I also want to keep things in my life private until they are ready to be in the public,” she said. “Right now what matters is that you guys know that no matter who you love, it’s OK.”

Siwa continues to gather followers, with more than 30 million on TikTok and 10 million on Instagram.