For many, “coming out” can be quite the dreadful thought but when ready, it’s a bold and courageous act. It’s also one step closer to something we all struggle with — being ourselves. Today is National Coming Out Day (cue Diana Ross’s hit single) and we decided to celebrate it by sharing 10 inspiring celebs who have stood proud and out.
Along with the celebs we also wanted to share some more info about today. First, some random factoids: Didja know that today is the 25th anniversary of National Coming Out Day? That’s right. This day was created in 1987 (I wasn’t even born yet!) ’cause on that date, half a million people participated in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. All these years later and the message of National Coming Out Day is still the same: to live truthfully and openly.
OK, history lesson aside we also have ways you can take action today too. Check out the Human Rights Campaign’s Coming Out page which lists a pledge you can make for equality for all. MTV News has an interview with It Gets Better founder Dan Savage about young people needing a coming out plan! And if you need tips or resources on coming out, check out GLSEN’s (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) coming out guide and the Trevor Project also has coming out tips too.
OK, OK, OK. Without further ado let’s discuss 10 awesome celebs who came out and inspired us all.
+ Adam Lambert
The talented Mr. Adam Lambert rose to fame on season eight of “American Idol.” With much speculation regarding his preferences, he waited after “Idol” to address the issue, and later publicly “came out” in a Rolling Stone interview. “I’m proud of my sexuality. I embrace it. It’s just another part of me,” expressed Adam. Can we get an amen? This was just the beginning for Adam. Since he placed second on the show (All these years later and I still can’t believe he didn’t win it!) he has sky-rocketed to stardom and has gathered an army of dedicated fans, which he calls his Glamberts.
+ Lance Bass
Do y’all remember how Lance Bass “came out” to the world? In a bold and brave statement the former boy bander snagged the cover of a 2006 People magazine cover which read, “I’m Gay.” Sure, people mocked the cover, but it was a moment of celebration for Lance. He stated in the mag, “I’m not devastated going through this. I’m more liberated and happy than I’ve been my whole life. I’m just happy.” Props to him for finding the courage to “come out” to the world.
+ Matt Bomer
Oh my, hello Matt Bomer thank you for coming into this world and gracing us with your oh so good looks. Anywayyyy *fans myself* earlier this year we saw the “White Collar” actor “come out” at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards where he was being honored for his activism. And while being honored at the GLSEN Respect Awards (he deserves every award, BTW) his “Magic Mike” co-star Joe Manganiello presented the award and said, “You are the example that the rest of our country needs to wake up and see in terms of equality and putting an end to the bullying epidemic and making sure that every family is respected in our schools and our society.” What a beautiful person he is inside and out. *fanning self again*
+ Chris Colfer
Chris Colfer first captured America’s heart when he landed on our TV screens in “Glee” back in 2009, but it’s his work off screen that really exemplifies the incredible person he is. His dedication to The Trevor Project is pretty rad and with all of his fans following his every move he is such a positive example! Chris came out after joining the cast of “Glee” and opened up to The Advocate revealing, “It’s extremely important for gay youth out there to see that it’s actually OK and that they are being represented in these shows.” Don’t you just love Chris even more now?
Wow, where do I even begin with such an A-MAZ-ING person like Ellen DGeneres? Why do I <3<3<3 Ellen? 1) She could read a phone book and make it funny. 2) She and wife Portia are the epitome of gorge. 3) Ellen came out at a time when it was unheard of to come out on TV — in 1997, on an episode of her namesake show “Ellen.” She was groundbreaking back in the day and to this day, she’s still making the world a better place to live thanks to her infectious, happy-go-lucky talk show.
+ Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin opened up about his sexuality in a powerful and raw blog post on his website, back in 2010. In the article, the Puerto Rican singer expressed that while working on his memoir he felt it was the time to discuss this topic that he had avoided in the past. He stated, “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.”
+ Wanda Sykes
Wanda Sykes “came out” to a crowd at an anti-Prop 8 rally back in 2008. She wasn’t planning on coming out either! “I kinda shocked myself,” she told CNN’s Piers Morgan. She also explained to Piers that after coming out she has “absolutely nothing to hide. I mean, I am what I am and this is it. So now, you know, you thought I had a big mouth before, now it’s just crazy. I’m like over the top, you know. There’s nothing that I can’t say.” Ha! Get it gurl!
+ Frank Ocean
2012 is the year of Frank Ocean, and trust me I have no complaints about that one whatsoever. From his tantalizing tunes to his electric eyes, there is no doubt we will be seeing much more of Mister Ocean in the near future. Frank came out in a letter that he posted to his Tumblr page, and confessed that his first love was with a man! Such an audacious move that will help so many who fear coming out.
+ Chaz Bono
Mr. Chaz Bono is helping change history by advocating for the transgender community. In 2009 he “came out” to the public about undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Just last year he stepped out and showed off his dance moves on “Dancing With The Stars,” by competing on the 13th season. While he finished seventh on the show he’s totes number one in our book. Way to go, Chaz!
“Glee” fan favorite Jane Lynch opened up about her coming out story on “Chelsea Lately” and revealed that at the age of 32 she wrote her parents a letter expressing how she felt. Jane later went on to marry her partner Lara Embry! While she plays a bully on TV she def. has a big heart off-screen and it’s sooo appreciated especially on a day like today.
Guide to Coming Out
Get more from GLSEN on coming out -- when to come out, who to tell, and more.
Trevor's Tips on Coming Out
The Trevor Project provides support for those who want to talk to someone confidentially.