Everyone who comes out makes a difference, but those who live their lives in the public eye have the unique opportunity to influence the global conversation on LGBTQ acceptance by sharing their stories and elevating the voices of others from their unique and individual platforms. This year saw many famous faces coming out. Below, in chronological order, are a few notable celebrities who did just that.
In January, Charlie Carver, best known for his role as gay werewolf Ethan in MTV's Teen Wolf, came out as gay himself in a five-part Instagram post. In the same month, Rowan Blanchard (currently starring in Disney's Girl Meets World as Riley Matthews) confirmed she identified as queer on Twitter, in response to a fan calling for "#BisexualRileyMatthews2K16." Another young actor, Amandla Stenberg, initially came out as bisexual through Teen Vogue's Snapchat in January - later, in a September interview with Elle, they clarified that pansexual felt like a more accurate label.
American Idol finalist Rayvon Owen came out in February alongside the release of his new music video "Can't Fight It," which ended in a kiss shared with his real-life boyfriend Shane Bitney Crone (Bridegroom). He says of the song, “This is the perfect song to say there’s nothing you can do about that, accept who you are, and when you love someone, that’s OK.” Jordan Raskopoulos, lead singer of Australian comedy band Axis of Awesome, came out as a trans woman in a video posted online, where she discussed her struggles with dysphoria.
In March, Lilly Wachowski, after threats to out her against her will by tabloid reporters, officially released a statement in her hometown LGBTQ media outlet The Windy City Times confirming that she is trans. "GLAAD is thrilled that Lilly Wachowski is able to be her true and authentic self today, however, she should not have been forced to disclose her transgender identity before she was ready to do so. Journalists must learn that it is unacceptable to out a transgender person, in the same way it is unacceptable to out a person who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual," said Nick Adams, GLAAD's Director of Programs for Transgender Media. Lilly appeared at the GLAAD Media Awards this year and accepted the Outstanding Drama Series award for Netflix's Sense8, co-created with her sister, Lana.
Trey Pearson, lead singer of Christian rock band Everyday Sunday, came out via open letter in May. Actor Colton Haynes came out as gay in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, explaining he was advised to "subdue" his sexuality early on in his career. Brianna Hildebrand, known for her roles in Deadpool and First Girl I Loved, confirmed on Twitter that she had a girlfriend, and has frequently posted about her since.
Glad I could visit GLAAD in NYC. They've been hitting the ground since 85 & the AIDS epidemic hit. Grateful for their love & support. pic.twitter.com/Iwh5P7YfTP
— Trey Pearson (@treypearson) December 7, 2016
Mara Wilson, the writer and former child actress best known for her role in Matilda, confirmed on Twitter that she identifies as "bi/queer." Aubrey Plaza came out as bisexual during an interview with The Advocate, explaining that "I fall in love with girls and guys. I can't help it." Stephanie Beatriz, best known for her role on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, came out as bisexual herself in response to Plaza's statement. Rebecca Sugar, creator of the wildly popular queer-inclusive Steven Universe animated series, came out as bisexual during a panel at San Diego Comic Con. Actress Bella Thorne also came out as bisexual over the summer, and tweeted several times during Bi Week.
— Famous In Love (@FamousInLoveTV) October 20, 2016
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, confirmed in a Facebook post that she divorced her husband and was in love with Rayya Elias, her longtime best friend. Gilbert explained that Elias's double cancer diagnosis helped her realize her true feelings, and she has "no more time for denying that truth." Gigi Gorgeous, a transgender YouTube star, came out as a lesbian - she had previously posted several videos of herself with her then-girlfriend, Nats Getty. Lauren Jauregui, a singer and member of Fifth Harmony, came out as bisexual in an open letter to Trump supporters. Bex Taylor-Klaus, who currently has a lead role in MTV's Scream and Netflix's Voltron, came out as gay on Twitter. Sara Ramirez, an actress best known for Grey's Anatomy, came out as bisexual while addressing the True Colors: 40 to None Summit, a two-day seminar on LGBT youth homelessness.
— Sara Ramirez (@SaraRamirez) October 8, 2016