A little inspiration for National Coming Out Day…
Coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, or really anything other than straight isn’t easy. Not only is it impossible to know for sure how your loved ones will react, but the possibility you will be discriminated against, harassed, or even physically harmed for your sexual orientation will increase significantly. That’s why it’s so important when celebrities set a good example by coming out and showing the rest of the LGBTQ+ community—in the closet or not—that being proud of who you are is worth the struggle that comes with it. In celebration of National Coming Out Day, here are a few notable celebrities who have made the huge—and brave—decision to come out this year, so far.
On April 9th, Ronan Farrow, the son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen accepted an award from The Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students. During his speech, he publicly acknowledged his sexuality for the first time saying, “Being a part of the LGBT community … which recognized that reporting I was doing early on and elevated it, and has been such a stalwart source of support through the sexual assault reporting I did involving survivors who felt equally invisible … that has been an incredible source of strength for me.”
In an interview with Rolling Stoneearlier this year, Grammy nominated singer Janelle Monae came out as pansexual. She had previously alluded to being bisexual but after finding out more about pansexuality, she felt like she identified more with that orientation. “Being a queer black woman in America,” she said, “someone who has been in relationships with both men and women–I consider myself to be a free–ss motherf-cker.” Her latest album Dirty Computer is full of themes she hopes LGBTQ+ youth will recognize and identify with.
Jason Mraz prompted a lot of speculation over his sexuality when he wrote a poem for Pride Month that included the line “I am bi your side”, but it wasn’t until an interview with Billboard the next month that he confirmed he is part of the LGBTQ+ community. “I’ve had experiences with men, even while I was dating the woman who became my wife. It was like: ‘Wow, does that mean I am gay?’ And my wife laid it out for me,” he explained. “She calls it ‘Two Spirit,’ which is what the Native Americans call someone who can love both man and woman. I really like that.”
Star of Younger, Nico Tortorella has previously come out as sexually fluid and bisexual, but earlier this year he also came out as gender fluid. With the help of RuPaul Drag Race’s Trinity “The Tuck” Taylor, the actor got a full drag makeover and the two had a discussion about the process of figuring out what words to use to describe yourself. Tortorella, who has been open about his polyamorous relationship with a woman who identifies as gay, has just recently started using “they/them” pronouns instead of “he/him” and is open to continuing the journey of learning who he is.
One half of the Broad City dream team Abbi Jacobson told Vanity Fair, “I kind of go both ways; I date men and women. They have to be funny, doing something they love.” Rumours swirled about Jacobson possibly dating Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein, who is openly bisexual, but the relationship was never confirmed. Although she didn’t say she was bisexual, Jacobson did say she was ready and willing to be approached by either gender following her interview with Vanity Fair.
19-year-old actress and activist Amandla Stenberg came out in 2016 as bisexual but has since reevaluated. As well as switching to “they/them” pronouns, Stenberg also came out as gay. “I’m grateful for how being gay has afforded me this ability to experience and understand love and sex, and therefore life, in an expansive and infinite way.” they said. “The continual process of unlearning heteronormativity and internalized homophobia can be difficult, but one of the biggest blessings lies in the magic that comes from having to understand love outside the confines of learned heterosexual roles.”
The lead singer of emo-pop band Panic! at the Disco came out as pansexual earlier this year explaining, “it’s just people that I am attracted to. I guess you could qualify me as pansexual because I really don’t care. If a person is great, then a person is great. I just like good people, if your heart’s in the right place.” Urie also made headlines for his $1 million donation to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, an organization that works to create safe and inclusive environments for students in schools across America.
Glee star Kevin McHale’s sexuality was a topic of speculation by fans for a long time. In March, he posted a photo on Instagram of one man’s hand on top of another man’s hand with an emoji performing the hand gesture for “I love you” in American Sign Language. He later tweeted “#NoTearsLeftToCry is gayer than me and I ACCEPT,” he wrote. “[Thank you] @ArianaGrande.” When asked later if he was hiding his sexuality, McHale explained that while he wasn’t shouting his orientation from the rooftops, he believed his interactions on social media and organizations he supports left little question that he was gay.
The star of The Killing and more recently Arrow and Scream came out in 2016 as gay by simply tweeting, “hello my name is Bex and yes the rumours are true I am v gay.” Earlier this year, Taylor-Klaus came out again, this time as non-binary, tweeting, “I came out as a trans non-binary in a room full of people today. Guess it’s time for me to do that here, too… Hi. I’m Bex, and the rumours are true. I’m v enby.”
Tessa Thompson played Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel’s first bisexual character to make it on screen (although the only scene explicitly confirming her sexuality was ultimately cut from the film), and she also came out as bisexual this year. “I can take things for granted because of my family–it’s so free and you can be anything that you want to be,” she said. “I’m attracted to men and also to women. If I bring a woman home, [or] a man, we don’t even have to have the discussion.”
A little inspiration for National Coming Out Day…