Gen Alpha kids express shock over gay people ‘coming out’ in viral video: ‘What the heck!?’

A collage of a woman in a car
Emmaline Carrol Southwell's conversation about 'coming out' during a car ride with two of her children has gone viral, with scores of viewers expressing their appreciation.

The moment two children discover that some cultures and families are unable to accept differences in sexuality has become a major hit on social media, after their mother captured the conversation on video.

Emmaline Carrol Southwell, a mother of three in Melbourne, Australia, went viral on TikTok after posting the clandestine clip of a chat in the car with two of her kids — Levi, 8, and Violet, 5 — centered around the concept of ‘coming out.’

The children’s book author and content creator told that her children were struggling to understand why someone would have to make a public statement about their sexuality.

“It’s confusing because, in some families and cultures and religions, you’re not allowed to be gay,” the 41-year-old explained in the popular post.

“Why?!” Violet asked, incredulously.

Levi chimed in, almost shouting. “What?!”

The post has now received 2.1 million views — and nearly 8,000 comments.

“So there is the term ‘coming out’ (and it) applies to people that need to come out to their families to let them know ‘I’m gay,’” Southwell continued.

“But why do they have to tell them?” Levi asked his mother.

“It’s a really great question,” Southwell said. “Hopefully, we will get to a point where people don’t have to do that, but sadly, a lot of people still have to do that, and it still causes a lot of people pain.”

When Southwell went on to tell them that some gay people face isolation from their families — or worse — after coming out, the kids could hardly control themselves.

“That’s so mean,” Violet exclaimed.

“What the heck?” Levi shouted.

Southwell told she had to pull the car over to answer the many questions her children were left with. TikTok/@emmalinecs
Southwell told she had to pull the car over to answer the many questions her children were left with. TikTok/@emmalinecs

Appreciation began to pour in after Southwell posted the exchange for her followers.

“I teared up when your son responded with ‘What the heck?!’ There was something so healing about hearing them understand and immediately reject the homophobia I grew up dealing with,” a user said. “Good job, mom.”

“I’m crying over here with joy that ‘coming out’ is having to be explained,” said another. “This made me excited for the world they are going to help create.”

“This [same] conversation baffled my children,” another mom related. “It’s the most proud I’ve been of them.”

“I wish I could go back to the ’90s with this video to share with some friends what the future will be like,” one wistful commenter said.

Southwell told that the exchange began during the car ride, after telling the kids that she’d just seen a documentary where LGTBQ+ people shared their coming out experiences — something the youngsters didn’t entirely understand.

“Then they started asking a million questions, as they do,” Southwell said. “I pulled over, and we finished our conversation because they were genuinely confused. Their response was so passionate that it took me aback a bit, but I was equally proud of that sort of response.”

Jessica Fish, Ph.D, an associate professor in the Department of Family Science at the University of Maryland and co-director of the university’s Prevention Research Center, spoke with about the importance of open dialogue on the subject with children.

“More and more young people are understanding themselves as LGBTQ at younger ages,” she said. “Starting that conversation early in a developmentally appropriate way opens the door for youth, young people, children and adolescents to feel comfortable and bringing those conversations to their parents.”