Six Celebrities That Came Out In 2019
An extended celebration of National Coming Out Day and a reminder that
There is power in coming out—not only because it liberates the person coming out, allowing them to finally and fully live their truth, but because it causes ripples.
Witnessing this kind of representation, at most, can save lives. At the very least, it can steer the dialogue surrounding the LGBTQ+ community in a more enlightened direction. This goes hand-in-hand with education and being able to raise civil awareness about the negative impacts of things written off as insignificant: like gay jokes, the use of slurs and name-calling. This brings to light the physical and emotional toll of being pressured to remain closeted, too. Case in point: in 2011, research published in Harvard Business Review found that employees who feel forced to stay in the closet (given that they belong to organizations that don’t promote an inclusive workplace) are largely unhappy and unsatisfied. The research stated that: “Compared to their out counterparts, closeted and isolated LGBTQ+ employees, burdened with the stress of daily secret-keeping, are 73% more likely to say they intend to leave their companies within the next three years than those who are out.”
These few facts and figures only underscore the importance of something like National Coming Out Day. Celebrated on October 11 each year, the LGBTQ+ awareness day aims to shatter the stigma surrounding the community, promote equality and inspire the current and future generations to adopt a healthy outlook on living their truth.
Here’s the main message: whether you identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary, your story matters. And it deserves to be heard—just like these celebrities who have opened up about their sexuality and gender identity just this year.
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Broadway actress Caitlin Kinnunen made headlines last November when she capped off her performance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by kissing her co-star Isabelle McCalla. Following the kiss deemed controversial by conservatives, Kinnunen decided in April to embrace her truth instead and let her interview with Nylon magazine serve as a venue for her coming out. In the video, she discusses the many ways she relates to Emma, the character she portrays in The Prom, and talks about how her world has opened up.
American filmmaker, actor, internet star and ¼ of ‘The Try Guys,’ Eugene Lee Yang came out in the most hauntingly beautiful and moving of ways: He wrote, choreographed, and directed a music video set to Odesza’s “A Moment Apart,” where his contemporary dance narrated the different stages of his life’s story and sexual discovery.
Yang wanted to clear the air and make it known that he identifies as gay. In addition, he opened up about the subject matter on Twitter saying, “I created this music video as my personal way of coming out as a proud gay man who has many unheard, specific stories to tell.” He went on to say that he once held back his identity out of “fear and shame,” but not anymore. He has since promised to show his full truth for his lifetime’s work.
The Gay of Thrones star and Queer Eye grooming specialist came out as non-binary in June this year in an interview with Out, saying, “The older I get, the more I think that I’m non-binary—I’m gender nonconforming.” He added that he prefers the pronouns “he” and “him,” but refuses to be identified as a “man.”
Just as well, when asked about what he felt as a spokesperson for a nail polish brand that is traditionally and predominantly marketed towards women, he said he’s down for any opportunities to break down stereotypes.
Grammy Award and Oscar-winning singer Sam Smith proudly came out as genderqueer and non-binary earlier this year, chatting with The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil about being very free “in terms of thinking about sexuality.” Smith explained that: “You do not identify in a gender. You are a mixture of all these different things. You are your own special creation. That is how I take it. I am not male or female. I think I float somewhere in between—somewhat on the spectrum.”
Smith said that they feel either male or female depending on the situation, but felt “very feminine” when becoming intimate with men. Smith also announced in September that they would use the pronouns “they” and “them” moving forward.
In April, Filipino-Canadian comedian and YouTube star Mikey Bustos posted two photos on Instagram alluding to a new life and freedom while posing next to his longtime friend and manager, RJ Garcia. The posts featured the pride flag in the caption, signaling his coming out. This was followed by a heartfelt message of gratitude for all the support he received since. He added that he had been figuring out how to live his life in the “most authentic and positive way,” and his coming out (at that moment) felt like a “karmic jackpot.” He ended the post saying it’s a “great time to be alive LGBT.”
The Politician star and Tony Award-winner Ben Platt came out as gay in what is considered an early time in his career. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, he shared: “There was never like a gung-ho of ‘Let’s come out as soon as possible’ because no matter how forward-thinking we all get, it becomes an obstacle a little bit in the case of auditioning, producers and casting and directors. Hopefully we’re moving a bit beyond that.”
After Platt’s public coming out via his music video release for the song “Ease My Mind,” the actor opened up about his sexuality and relationship with men in a February interview with People Magazine. He began by talking about the making of the music video, saying: “We’re going to represent what this was inspired by, which was this man that I was in love with. So, it was really a no-brainer.” Platt also added he’d been out to his family and anyone in his life since he was 12 years old. “I’ve never sort of hidden that or been ashamed by it,” he said. “It’s just part of me.”
On and beyond National Coming Out Day, show your support to your LGBTQ+ peers and family members. Create a safe space for them and make it matter to them.
Need someone to talk to about coming out, your gender identity and sexual orientation or other personal issues? In Touch phone counseling is free and anonymous. Get in touch through the following numbers: (2) 893 7603 (landline) or (917) 800 1123 (Globe).