Thursday, January 02, 2014

Coming Out In 2013 ....

I’ve often said that Coming Out is a big deal, but that, in my mind, every LGBT person needs to do it. Staying closeted is akin to feeling shame in who you are, and every one of us that comes out — and we seem to do so on an almost daily basis, coming out to new friends, new co-workers, strangers on the street — makes it easier for the next batch to come out.

And they make it more difficult for those who work against us to deny us rights because now we have more faces, more names, and more allies.

And in 2013,m we had quite the Coming Out ceremonies, causing a  shortage on HOMO HQ Coming Out Toaster Ovens and needing to reprint copies of The Gay Agenda — which, some of you may not know, but it contains just one page, and just one word: equality.

So, from The Advocate, here are some of those Coming Out in 2013 …

Wentworth Miller, actor
The former star of Prison Break came out last August when he was invited to a film festival in Russia: "Thank you for your kind invitation. However, as a gay man, I must decline."
Miller then took the time to denounce Russia's antigay laws:
"I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly."
Anton Krasovsky, Russian TV anchor
After the Russian Parliament considered a ban on “gay propaganda” and after President Vladimir Putin signed it into law, it was dangerous to talk publicly about being gay, Russian TV anchor Anton Krasovsky decided he would come out, live on air last January:
“I’m gay, and I’m just the same person as you, my dear audience, as President Putin, as Prime Minister Medvedev and the deputies of our Duma.”
Belle Brockhoff, Australian snowboarder
Last august, before heading to Russia for the Winter Olympics, Brockhoff told Australia's ABC TV that heading to Sochi gives her a feeling of unease:
"I want to be proud of who I am and be proud of all the work I've done to get into the Olympics and not have to deal with this law. I have a feeling that I would have to kinda go back into the closet a little bit because I don't want to risk my, like, you know, safety, being arrested or deported."
Brian Boitano, figure skater
The U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics is sending a message to Russia about its antigay laws. As part of the group, Boitano announced something that many of us already knew, suspected, or hoped:
"I am many things: a son, a brother, and uncle, a friend, an athlete, a cook, an author, and being gay is just one part of who I am. First and foremost I am an American athlete and I am proud to live in a country that encourages diversity, openness and tolerance. As an athlete, I hope we can remain focused on the Olympic spirit which celebrates achievement in sport by peoples of all nations."
Masha Bast, lawyer in Russia
While it’s hard coming out no matter where you live, imagine living in Russia and doping so. That’s what Masha Bast—chairwoman for the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Right—did last September, in announcing she is a bisexual transgender woman.
"I couldn't just sit there and do nothing."
Tom Daley, British Olympic diver
Daley came out in December via a YouTube video, in part to correct the record:
"Recently I was misquoted in an interview, and it made me feel really angry and frustrated and emotions I have never felt before when reading something about myself. For me, honesty is something that I really do believe in. And I have always been honest. I may have been vague in some of my answers but I have always been honest."
Robbie Rogers, MLS player for Los Angeles Galaxy
Rogers came out publicly in February on his blog, and then he retired from professional soccer. A few months later he returned to the sport to a standing ovation.
“I realized I could only truly enjoy my life once I was honest."
Jason Collins, NBA center
The first active, openly gay player in major league sports came out in an April Sports Illustrated essay:
"I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different.' If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand. Some people insist they've never met a gay person. But Three Degrees of Jason Collins dictates that no NBA player can claim that anymore."
Kevin Grayson, football star
The Italian Football League player from Virginia was named his league's MVP while playing for the Parma Panthers came out on the heels of Jason Collins’ announcement:

“Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you can’t be the athlete you want to be. Doesn’t mean you can’t be a star."
Darren Young, WWE wrestler
The first professional wrestler to ever come out did so almost accidentally it seemed when TMZ cameras stopped him at LAX and asked if a wrestler could ever come out while still active:

"Absolutely. Look at me. I'm a WWE superstar and, to be honest with you, I'll tell you right now, I'm gay. And I'm happy. I'm very happy."
Fallon Fox, MMA fighter
The elite-level mixed-martial-arts fighter came out as transgender in March:
"For years I've known at some point it's very likely the shoe would drop. Maybe someone would guess that I'm trans. Maybe they would know me from my life before I transitioned. I've been waiting for that phone call to happen. And Saturday night, it happened." 
Brittney Griner, WNBA star
The WNBA's number one draft pick capped her career at Baylor by coming out in several interviews in April:
"It really wasn't too difficult, I wouldn't say I was hiding or anything like that. I've always been open about who I am and my sexuality. So, it wasn't hard at all. If I can show that I'm out and I'm fine and everything's OK, then hopefully the younger generation will definitely feel the same way."
Abby Wambach, U.S. soccer star
The member of the U.S. women's national team came out in July when announcing her support for Athlete Ally:
“I am excited to be an ally and stand up for people like me in the LGBT community.  I can’t speak for other people, but for me, I feel like gone are the days that you need to come out of a closet. I never felt like I was in a closet. I never did. I always felt comfortable with who I am and the decisions I made.”
Bob Harper, reality star and personal trainer
The personal trainer on NBC's The Biggest Loser came out “officially” during an episode of the reality show, telling one of the contestants how he’d come out to his own father:
"Being gay doesn’t mean being weak. And being gay doesn’t mean that you are less than anybody else. It’s just who you are.”
Sharnee Zoll-Norman, WNBA player
Zoll-Norman came out quickly, telling the Windy City Times last June that she planned to march in the Pride parade with her wife of four years:
"If I was straight, I wouldn't have to come out and say that I was straight."So I've never had an official coming out, or something where I felt I had to announce that I was gay. But everyone knows, I wear my wedding ring proudly.” 
Jodie Foster, actress
Foster made her announcement during last year’s Golden Globes while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award:
"While I’m here being all confessional, I just have the sudden urge to say something I’ve never been able to air in public. A declaration that I’m a little nervous about. Not quite as nervous as my publicist, huh, Jennifer? But uh, you know, I’m just going to put it out there. Loud and proud. I’m going to need your support. I am -- single! … I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age. In those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends, and family, coworkers and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her."
 Lucas Cruikshank, Nickelodeon actor
The Nickelodeon star came out in a YouTube video in August:
"It feels so weird saying it on camera. But my family and friends have known for like three years; I just haven’t felt the need to announce it on the Internet."
Tuc Watkins, actor
While on Marie Osmond's talk show in April, Watkins—from One Live To Live and Desperate Housewives—came out as a single gay dad:

"A lot of people at some point in their lives think, 'Am I going to be a parent? Do I want to be a parent?' And when I was young, I knew three things: I knew I was gay, I knew one day I was gonna be a dad, and I knew that Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was going to be the best movie of all time. So far, I've been right about all three."
Raven Symone, actress
The former Cosby kid and star of Disney's That’s So Raven cheered when the Supreme Court struck down Proposition 8 in California and killed section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act:
“I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you.”
Maria Bello, actress
In a December column for The New York Times, Bello wrote about "Coming Out as a Modern Family":
“I was with someone romantically and I hadn't told [my son]. I had become involved with a woman who was my best friend, and, as it happens, a person who is like a godmother to my son."
Andrew Scott, actor
Last November, the actor who plays Moriarty in Sherlock came out:
“Mercifully, these days people don't see being gay as a character flaw. But nor is it a virtue, like kindness. Or a talent, like playing the banjo. It's just a fact. Of course, it's part of my make-up, but I don't want to trade on it. I am a private person; I think that's important if you're an actor. But there's a difference between privacy and secrecy, and I'm not a secretive person. Really I just want to get on with my job, which is to pretend to be lots of different people. Simple as that.”
Matt Dallas, actor
The star of ABC Family's KyleXY came out on Twitter in January, sharing a photo of his new fiancé:
"Starting off the year with a new fiancé, @bluehamilton. A great way to kick off 2013! "
Troye Sivan, actor
The actor who played young Wolverine in X-Men Origins: Wolverine also used YouTube to come out:
"It feels kind of weird to have to announce it like this on the Internet, but I feel like a lot of you guys are genuine friends of mine. I share everything with the Internet."
Victor Garber, actor
When asked by a reporter in January about the veracity of a Wikipedia entry that claimed the actor — who starred in Titanic and the TV series Alias — was living in New York with his partner, Garber said:
"I don’t really talk about it but everybody knows."
Sebastian Ligarde, actor
The former Mexican soap star, best known as a villain on Quinceañera, he came out last June:
“I'm gay and I say this with pride. No gay person should have to walk down the street with stigma stamped on his forehead. Sexual [orientation] is genetic... and if God and my family knows it, then let the world know it."
Ben Whishaw, actor
Whishaw played a gay character in Cloud Atlas, played the new Q in the last Bond film, Skyfall, and married his partner a year ago. Rumors about his sexual orientation were sparked by an interview he gave to Out magazine while playing a homosexual character in an off-Broadway play, The Pride and was asked if it was important for young gay people to have positive role models:

‘I feel in my heart that it’s important, but I don’t quite know yet the way to go about that. Maybe that’s the transitional thing I feel I’m in the middle of at the moment.’
Michelle Rodriguez, actress
Last September, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Fast and Furious star said she’s constantly the subject of speculation about her sexual orientation:
"Eh, they're not too far off. I've gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too f---ing curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks."
Maulik Pancholy, actor
In November, the fan favorite from 30 Rock and star of Nickelodeon’s animated series Sanjay and Craig told Out that he'd just celebrated nine years with his partner:
“It feels like a nice time to be celebrating something like that, especially on the heels of the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions.”
Crystal Bowersox, singer
The former American Idol contestant released a new song with a pretty straightforward message — "Coming Out For Christmas" and then Tweeted that she's bisexual:
“The holidays are here, and it pains me to think that anyone would be left alone or be forbidden to be with their family over something as silly as their sexual orientation. I hope it will serve as a holiday anthem for people who may finally have the courage to live their life as their true authentic self."
Mister Cee, DJ
The well known New York hip hop DJ for Hot 97 offered his resignation when gay rumors wouldn't stop — but it wasn't accepted; he then came out and recorded a PSA for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation:

"I got tired of lying and hiding. You don't have to lie and hide no more about your sexual freedom."
Charice Pempengco, singer and former Glee star
While doing an interview back in the Philippines, where she is a musical pop star, the former Glee star was asked about gay rumors

"Yes, I am a lesbian. Now I feel free."
Clive Davis, record producer
The music icon who helped launch the careers of Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin, and Kelly Clarkson came out as bisexual in his memoir in February:

"Bisexuality is misunderstood; the adage is that you're either straight or gay or lying, but that's not my experience. To call me anything other than bisexual would be inaccurate."
B. Scott, entertainment personality
Scott used embraced the term "transgender" to describe himself in August when filing a lawsuit against Viacom over an incident where BET asked him to change into a more masculine outfit if he wanted to appear on camera as host of the BET Awards red carpet:
"As a society we’ve been conditioned to believe that a person has to be ‘exactly’ this or ‘exactly’ that. Biologically, I am male — as my sex was determined at birth by my reproductive organs. However, my spirit truly lies somewhere in between."
Robin RobertsGMA anchor
The Good Morning America co-anchor was already a hero to so many for battling cancer and undergoing a bone marrow transplant with such dignity, but then she Roberts inspired even more by coming out in a Facebook post in December:

"I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together."
Jenna WolfeToday show anchor
The weekend anchor for the Today show came out and announced she's pregnant during a segment on air in March and said she would be marrying partner, Stephanie Gosk, a fellow NBC journalist:
"But I don't want to bring my daughter into a world where I'm not comfortable telling everyone who I am and who her mother is."
Mike Michaud, congressman
The six-term congressman from Maine never said a word about being gay until he became the subject of a whisper campaign in November:
"I wasn’t surprised to learn about the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about my personal life. They want people to question whether I am gay. Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: 'Yes, I am. But why should it matter?'"
Chelsea Manning, government transparency activist
After being sentenced to 35 years in prison, Manning came out as transgender in a statement to the media:

"As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible."
Jennifer Natalya Pritzker, billionaire
The Army and National Guard veteran and noted philanthropist has a net worth of $1.5 billion came out last via an announcement sent to employees of the Pritzker Military Library and Pritzker’s company, Tawani Enterprises:

“As of Aug. 16, 2013, J.N. Pritzker will undergo an official legal name change, will now be known as Jennifer Natalya Pritzker. This change will reflect the beliefs of her true identity that she has held privately and will now share publicly. Pritzker now identifies herself as a woman for all business and personal undertakings.”
Kristin Beck, Navy SEAL
A retired Navy SEAL and member of the elite Team 6 — the one that killed Osama Bin Laden — revealed that she's transgender in a new memoir in June:

"I do not believe a soul has a gender, but my new path is making my soul complete and happy. I hope my journey sheds some light on the human experience and most importantly helps heal the 'socio-religious dogma' of a purely binary gender."
Will Portman, son of Sen. Rob Portman
After his Republican father did an interview in March explaining his support for marriage equality and revealed that he has a gay son, Will Portman spoke with his university newspaper about coming out to his parents:
"They were surprised to learn I was gay, and full of questions, but absolutely rock-solid supportive. That was the beginning of the end of feeling ashamed about who I was."
Here’s hoping we have more to celebrate in 2014!

5 comments:

Ms Sparrow said...

Wow, that's quite a roster! It's nice to know that the world is becoming a little nicer place for all of us.

the dogs' mother said...

Predicting 2014 will be a busy year too!

anne marie in philly said...

out and proud folks (stands up and cheers). may we see more of this in 2014.

Raybeard said...

oh, spare a thought for the anti-gays. Must be awfully hard to keep up with the incessant flow, the poor dears!

Mark in DE said...

I agree that NOT coming out insinuates there is some shame for what someone is, and that coming out makes your neighbors and coworkers aware that THEY know someone who is gay so they are less likely to vote against equality.

I believe celebrities who don't come out make that decision for just one reason: fear. They are afraid their honesty will cost them their celebrity status, endorsements, future roles, and the adoration of their fans.