At a recent Harry Styles concert, McKinley McConnell came out to her mother, with the help of Harry himself.
McKinley was near the stage with her friends, holding a sign that read “My Mom is in Section 201 – Help Me Come Out!” Styles, seeing her with the sign, paused the show and asked McConnell what he could do to help. After a brief moment of chatting, Styles ran to the front of the stage and said “Lisa, she’s gay!” into the microphone, causing the entire audience to erupt into cheers and applause.
Since the concert, the video has gone viral, being viewed millions of times on Tik Tok alone, and the story has been picked up by major news outlets around the nation. Now, GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos interviews McKinley and her mom Lisa to ask what it was like to have a such public coming out (aided by a massive superstar) and what life has been like since.
One of Anthony Allen Ramos’ first questions to McKinley was how she’s feeling after the massive event at the concert. She responded with, “I am feeling very grateful…there is no weight on my shoulders. I am feeling like myself. I am feeling really good. Right after it happened and then after it went viral, I had zero time to process it. I was with my group of friends and that is when it really started to hit me and it made me feel so grateful for this situation. My friend mentioned to me ‘you seem more relaxed, more carefree, you don’t seem as nervous or anxious, you seem very calm.’ So I guess I am taking it well!”
He then turned his attention to Lisa, asking what it was like for her to be in the audience and watch it all happen, and if she had any idea the moment was coming. Lisa responded, saying, “It was a rush of emotions! McKinley has admired this artist for a very long time, so in my head, I was just like ‘He is talking to her! Her life is made!’ There is the whole backstory with the poster, so connecting all of the dots instantly was a rush of emotion. She asked to make a poster at my house and she did not want me to see it. I did know that it had gold trim and I did see her start to write the first part “My mom” and then I just let it go! I figured it was something cute, like ‘help get my mom down to the pit’ or something like that. I just completely forgot about it. That day I took her out…and we had dinner and we were walking around and she was clenching this poster the entire time and then when the moment came and Harry Styles said “Lisa’s she’s gay!” it dawned on me, she was carrying this the whole time…what was going through her head, the courage that she was trying to get…that’s what started making me cry because I realized that poster was so valuable at that point.”
She also continued, saying how proud and happy she is for her daughter, “I love her! I’m very honored and humbled as a parent to see the strength and the courage that she displayed. There are very few points in your life as a parent where I can sit back and say ‘I think I did a good job’ and she definitely gave me that gift. So thank you, McKinley!”
For more information on GLAAD, visit their website.