It’s a fact: 75% of Gen Zers who come out, do so online before coming out to their friends and family. If Gen Z feels more comfortable online, then there’s a need to create truly safe environments to hold space for what is likely one of the most important conversations of their lives.


In the days leading up to National Coming Out Day, influencers from the LGBTQ2+ community across Canada shared their coming out stories on social media and issued private invitations to join a virtual safe space session created exclusively for Gen Zers who are thinking about coming out.

The Safe Space Session was completely safe.
No cameras.
No recording.
Just love and support.
And a few surprise guests.

For the virtual event, Gen Zers from around the world, including Canada, the U.S, Mexico, South America, Europe and the Middle East, joined “The Safe Space Session,” moderated by Bill Ryan, a licensed social worker and internationally recognized expert in the field of sexuality, gender, sexual education and homophobia. The virtual Safe Space Session fostered open, honest dialogue about how to navigate the waters of this exceptionally important time in one’s life, providing a supportive forum for participants to discuss their personal situations and plans for their own coming out.

“Coming out is often one of the scariest and most important things someone will ever do. That’s why so many young people come out online before they do in real life,” said Bill Ryan. “COVID has created a lot of challenges for people in the LGBTQ2+ community, and it’s especially hard for those who haven’t yet come out. It’s hard to feel connected, it’s hard to feel able to explore who you are, it’s hard to be your authentic self. Given that it looks like we’ll be living in a virtual world for a while to come, it’s more important than ever for us to connect virtually and ensure that everyone knows where to access the resources and support they need.”

After the counselling part of the session wrapped up, participants were surprised as celebrity guests from the LGBTQ2+ community popped into the chat, including multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter, performer and outspoken LGBTQ2+ philanthropist and activist Adam Lambert; former member of the girl group Fifth Harmony and one of pop’s most loved singer-songwriters and outspoken LGBTQ2+ activist, 24-year-old Lauren Jauregui; Canadian YouTuber, actress, model and avid transgender activist Gigi Gorgeous, and Canada’s own Jackie Cox, who was a fierce competitor on last season’s RuPaul’s Drag Race. The surprise guests shared their own coming out stories, answered participants’ questions and provided some sage advice based on their own experiences.

NYX Cosmetics Canada was behind the inception of and funding for “The Safe Space Session” initiative. Diversity, inclusion, accessibility and empowerment of self-expression through makeup for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or race, have long been fundamental brand pillars for the brand. The brand is a proud supporter and partner of It Gets Better Canada.

Earlier this year, all of NYX Cosmetics retail stores in Canada became Certified Safe Spaces, with employees across Canada participating in safe space training to ensure that everyone feels welcome to be who they are inside NYX stores.

“As National Coming Out Day was approaching, we asked ourselves how we could further extend our commitment to providing safe spaces to reach out to Gen Z, most of whom are more comfortable coming out online, said Keon Zhang, General Manager for NYX Cosmetics Canada. “The team at McCann brought us the ‘Safe Space Sessions’ idea – and we knew that it was the answer to amplify our impact to provide safe spaces to more people in the virtual world.”

The idea for “The Safe Space Sessions” was imagined and produced by McCann Canada on a pro-bono basis. In preparation for and support of the project, all McCann team members who worked on the project participated in Certified Safe Space training. McIntyre Communiciations provided major PR and influencer support for the project.

Read some of the coverage that we’ve received about this work on Stimulant here: