The Internet Needs To Stop Outing Minors

The Internet Needs To Stop Outing Minors

Autumn Copeland, News Writer

Caroline Cruz is a thirteen-year-old girl who took to TikTok to connect with other people and share her interests– something that every other person her age is doing. Some may think that Caroline is different from her peers because she happens to be the daughter of Republican Texas (US) Senator Ted Cruz, but she is still a regular teenager. 

The Cruz family holiday card.

Caroline first became a topic of interest on TikTok after a video was posted showing the Cruz family’s Christmas cards. People noticed how out of place Caroline looked amongst her family as she was standing to the far right. She was not smiling, and her outfit didn’t match the obvious color scheme. TikTok users started joking that she was definitely the black sheep of the family. Some praised her for this, while others wrote negative comments about her and brought up the vacation to Cancun that the Cruz family took in the midst of the Texas freeze in 2021. Ted Cruz ended up blaming his daughters for wanting to take the trip, in an attempt to save his image. 

After this, Caroline uploaded a video to TikTok explaining her life as the daughter of a senator. She did say that she enjoyed the travel that went along with her father’s job but she did not agree with her father’s political ideas. “A lot of people judge me based upon him,” she said. “But I really disagree with most of his views.” The video went viral and Caroline soon gained a large number of followers. A lot of these followers were other people around her age who enjoyed watching the videos she was making despite their feelings toward her father. 

A screenshot of 13-year-old Caroline Cruz’s TikTok conversation led to her trending on various social media last week. (Courtesy Photo)

In Caroline’s TikTok bio, she included her pronouns as “she/her” and her sexuality as “bi”. This is something so normalized on TikTok, but some still felt the need to ask her about it. One user said, “I see in ur bio ur bi- is that something he knows? (if ur comfortable talking about it, I’m just curious).” To which Caroline responded, “I haven’t told him yet, I’m kinda nervous to tbh but I don’t think he would be mad about it.” As soon as Caroline confirmed her sexuality, the internet freaked out and used her story for interesting headlines and political benefit. 

There is no breaking news in her coming out, however. She used her online platform to confide in her followers and open up about a personal detail in her life. Sure her account was public, but is that really an invitation for others to ruin her chance at coming out how she wanted? The LGBTQ+ news source, LGBTQ Nation has come under fire for reporting on Caroline’s story. While their whole brand is covering LGBTQ+ news, writing an article outing a thirteen-year-old girl is not the kind of “activism” the community needs. Would this story be making headlines if it wasn’t Ted Cruz’s daughter? No, so there is no reason to exploit a minor for your own gain. 

Caroline’s TikTok account is now private due to all of this. What Caroline needs at the moment is support and to feel accepted. The internet loves to preach inclusivity, but after singling out one bisexual girl and blowing her story way out of proportion, you’ve just made her feel more atypical. I hope what people take away from this debacle is that we as a society need to remove this stigma around coming out and being part of the LGBTQ+ community. At the rate we’re going, our sexuality and pronouns will never be as customary as our name and age.