Since 1992, “Nick News with Linda Ellerbee” on the Nickelodeon channel has been unafraid to tackle serious issues, giving children and teenagers a chance to voice their concerns and opinions on topics such as parental alcoholism, autism, HIV and AIDS, the holocaust in Sudan, and parents returning from war. In keeping with its respectful ethos toward young people, "Nick News With Linda Ellerbee" will air "Coming Out," a special episode in which kids who are openly gay talk to Ellerbee about their experiences, on Oct. 7.
“Coming Out,” according to Nickelodeon’s press release, will follow "the everyday lives of gay kids as they face fear, acceptance, bullying, isolation, encouragement, ignorance, showing how straight and non-straight teens can come together to triumph over bullying."
A teen featured on the show, 13-year-old Marcel, is quoted in the press release as saying, “I’m not a special case. There are many people who are my age, and are gay. And you (kids) can say, ‘Well, I don’t know any gay people.’ You probably do, but they’re probably not out to you.”
Ellerbee, a journalist formerly with The Today Show and NBC News Overnight before joining Nickelodeon to do “Nick News” in 1992, said in a statement, “It takes bravery for a kid to come out. Being accepted by straight people is not a given. Being young and ‘different’ is not easy. This may be tough to talk about, or hear about, but this is important stuff. Not addressing it doesn’t make it go away.”
GLAAD Vice President of Programs Zeke Stokes said of the announcement in an email to International Business Times: "Nick News has long been a great teacher for youth about both current events and the values of inclusion. By sharing the real stories of LGBT young people coming out, Nick News will help let LGBT youth know that they are not alone. Meanwhile, the show can also help others learn empathy and respect for their LGBT peers."
Well, not all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender peers. A Nickelodeon source confirmed to IBTimes that transgender teens will not be among children and teenagers featured on "Coming Out." Mark Snyder of the Transgender Law Center responded to the news in an email to IBTimes: “Visibility is incredibly important. It saves lives and makes a huge impact for those who feel isolated. Hopefully, Nick will feature transgender youth in future projects, and TLC would be thrilled to collaborate on such a project.”