Stranger Things actor Noah Schnapp has opened up about an important moment in his life of how he came out as gay to his close friends and family.
Noah is known for playing the closeted gay teenager Will Byers in the Netflix science fiction-horror show. In real life, however, Noah and Will are like two peas in a pod as the actor had also been in the closet for 18 years until he finally found the courage to show the world his true self.
Noah took the time to reflect on his coming out journey in an interview with Variety. According to him, he first came to grips with his sexuality through his own Stranger Things character.
"Once I did fully embrace that Will was gay, it was just an exponential speed towards accepting it for myself," Noah says. "I would be in a completely different place if I didn’t have Will to portray, and to embrace and help me accept myself. I think if I never played that character, I probably would still be closeted."
After fans started speculating Will's sexuality, they also began prodding on Noah's, which resulted in some uncomfortable moments.
"I think it made me hold it down deeper, because it was kind of being poked and prodded out of me in such a public way," he said. "It was just, I didn’t think it was a real thing. It was just the idea of being gay. I was like, 'I’m straight.' I just rejected that idea for so long."
Eventually, Noah made the decision to confirm publicly that Will is gay, and that was also the moment where he took the first step to his own coming-out journey.
"I saw all these comments on Instagram and TikTok. There was not one bad thing about him being gay. I was like, if he has all this support, then why should I worry about anything?" he recalled.
With this, he decided that his twin sister Chloe would be the first person he would come out to, highlighting, "I can’t tell anyone else before I tell my own twin sister—she’ll kill me."
When he finally told her, Noah recalled that she had an "escatic" reaction, "She said that she would’ve hated the idea of me marrying another girl and having to compete with that girl for my attention. The fact that now it’ll be a guy, she was like, 'Oh, he’ll be my best friend.'"
His mother came next, and he had that discussion with her during the time that she visited him after she noticed that he had become miserable from hiding his sexuality.
"I couldn’t tell her how I was feeling without telling her what the problem was, so just one night at dinner, I was like, 'This is it,'" Noah recounted.
He continued, "She was like, 'Finally, you told me!' She said that she would talk to her friend when I was 12 and be like, 'I know my son is gay. Do I have to ask him? How do I do it?' The friend was like, 'Oh, you just let him be and let him figure it out himself.'"
Soon, he began to expand the people that he showed his true self to, such as his father and his wider circle of friends.
Sharing how he came out to his Stranger Things co-star Millie Bobby Brown, Noah said, "I kept trying to do it in person with her, and it was too hard So then I just FaceTimed her one day in the middle of a Party City and I was like, 'Millie, I’m gay.' And she was like 'Oh, Schnapper! You told me finally!'"
Noah finally let the whole world know that he was gay when he shared a video to his TikTok that read, "When I finally told my friends and family I was gay after being scared in the closet for 18 years and all they said was 'we know.'" The clip was set to audio that played, "You know what it never was? That serious. It was never that serious. Quite frankly, will never be that serious."
He recently celebrated his first Pride Month in City with his nearest and dearest.