Times have changed. More stars are out and proud and the list since pride grew by at least 19. My, how that list is different than when I was younger.
As a child growing up in the early ’80s, I was already aware of my sexuality but also knew it was something to keep to myself for the most part. That was just the way of the era, where boys played sports, girls wanted to be cheerleaders, and then some of us were considered artsy or ‘different.’
For us, gay role models in media were few. For example, Barry Manilow was not out at that time, even though some suspected he might be gay. Michael Jackson and Prince were somewhat ambiguous, though Prince was rumored to be bi, and Michael, well, he just seemed awkwardly asexual. In a groundbreaking move, Elton had come as bi-sexual years prior in a 1976 Rolling Stone magazine article, but new generations of young fans of the 80s were mostly unaware of it. The landscape of “out” artists was far from defined.
That said, openly gay rockstar, Freddie Mercury, was an anomaly for the time and then came Boy George, with his beautifully blurred line of androgyny. He caused a sensation when he admitted in an interview with Joan Rivers that he liked both men and women. It was quite shocking for parts of America and bold for the time – especially as the fear and stigma of the AIDS epidemic emerged. Being gay in the entertainment industry back then was something that could kill a career immediately.
Fast forward to 2020, and it’s such an incredible contrast to the era mentioned above. It’s been a slow but progressive climb over the decades, as the LGBTQ community and its allies continued to strive for inclusion and societal acceptance. The result is that today, young people have an abundance of high-profile LGBTQ examples, more than any other time in history. A recent article published by The Wrap highlights 19 celebrities who have come out since World Pride 2019.
As we look back over the decades, we’d be remiss if we did not acknowledge what and who got us here; the fearless entertainers who helped usher in a new era of positive, and in-your-face LGBTQ representation in the late ’80s and ’90s. Madonna, Sandra Bernhardt, Ellen DeGeneres, Rupert Everett, and Melissa Etheridge are among the most notable.
As for 2020, The Wrap shared a list of some new members to our family in LGBTQ Hollywood 2020: 19 Stars Who Have Come Out Since Last Year’s Pride. We will share some of the newbies here, but for the full list, head over to The Wrap.
Lil Nas X, African-American country music rapper is one of the most trailblazing out artists of his generation.
some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more. but before this month ends i want y’all to listen closely to c7osure. 🌈🤩✨ pic.twitter.com/O9krBLllqQ
— nope (@LilNasX) June 30, 2019
Connor Jessup The Canadian actor, who starred in “Falling Skies” and Netflix’s “Locke and Key,”
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I knew I was gay when I was thirteen, but I hid it for years. I folded it and slipped it under the rest of my emotional clutter. Not worth the hassle. No one will care anyway. If I can just keep making it smaller, smaller, smaller…. My shame took the form of a shrug, but it was shame. I’m a white, cis man from an upper-middle class liberal family. Acceptance was never a question. But still, suspended in all this privilege, I balked. It took me years. It’s ongoing. I’m saying this now because I have conspicuously not said it before. I’ve been out for years in my private life, but never quite publicly. I’ve played that tedious game. Most painfully, I’ve talked about the gay characters I’ve played from a neutral, almost anthropological distance, as if they were separate from me. These evasions are bizarre and embarrassing to me now, but at the time they were natural. Discretion was default, and it seemed benign. It would be presumptuous to assume anyone would care, yeah? And anyway, why should I have to say anything? What right do strangers have to the intimate details of my life? These and other background whispers––new, softer forms of the same voices from when I was thirteen, fourteen, fifteen…. Shame can come heavy and loud, but it can come quiet too; it can take cover behind comfort and convenience. But it’s always violent. For me, this discretion has become airless. I don’t want to censor––consciously or not––the ways I talk, sit, laugh, or dress, the stories I tell, the jokes I make, my points of reference and connection. I don’t want to be complicit, even peripherally, in the idea that being gay is a problem to be solved or hushed. I’m grateful to be gay. Queerness is a solution. It’s a promise against cliche and solipsism and blandness; it’s a tilted head and an open window. I value more everyday the people, movies, books, and music that open me to it. If you’re gay, bi, trans, two-spirit or questioning, if you’re confused, if you’re in pain or you feel you’re alone, if you aren’t or you don’t: You make the world more surprising and bearable. To all the queers, deviants, misfits, and lovers in my life: I love you. I love you. Happy Pride!
Dancer and actress Juliana Hough
Joshua Rush – former teenage Disney star
Stacy London – former “What Not to Wear” host
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NOT THAT IT’S ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS BUT… I may as well address all the stuff I hear floating around out there. 2019 has been a crazy year for lots of reasons. This 1st year of coping with grief and a lot of unforeseen health issues was, at times, such a truly dark place to be. But as with most of life, there has been such incredible joy as well and the person most responsible for that is @catyezbak, who is my girlfriend and has been for over a year. Some of you may have guessed that already. All my friends and family know her well. I haven’t paraded her around on social media for several reasons: 1) I’ve had public relationships before and I don’t love that. But I want to be clear here that with Cat I felt I owed us the chance to be private since this is my first serious relationship with a woman and I’m sure there will be some hoo ha about that. But I would never hide her out of shame. 2.) It’s really easy for me, a privileged white woman who is 50, to suddenly say “I’m dating a woman” with very few repercussions and I am well aware of that. Unlike me, there are countless people in the LGBTQIAP community who have had no choice in who they are, no love from family on which to lean, no support from anyone anywhere. I fell in love, truly in love, with this beautiful, sexy, kind soul and I won’t apologize for that but I stand on the shoulders of a community that fought like hell for me to be able to do that openly and proudly and EASILY. It’s one thing to SAY Love is Love. It’s another thing to say Love is Passion and Devotion and Sex and mean it without shame or prejudice when talking about the same sex. So I used to date men. Now I date her. That’s it. Happy New Year to each and every one of you. I am wishing you the best of everything this coming year. Bring it 2020. Let’s go. (AND ALSO: any awful comments will be deleted immediately. My account will not tolerate hate of any kind.)
Rick Cosnett The star of “The Vampire Diaries,” “Quantico” and “The Flash”
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Never have I EVER. Needless to say… I’ve always been a kind of private person until I met my heart’s match who handles some things differently than I do. Thank you baby @darealbbjudy for far more than this incredible birthday gift. I have never experienced this feeling. It’s so overwhelming that often I find myself in a daze hoping to never get pinched to see if it’s real so I can live in this dream forever. SEE @darealbbjudy page for the BEST SURPRISE EVER‼️ #sosoblessed #twinflame #isthismylife #dontwakemeup #nothinghappensbyaccident
There’s a handful of the 19 tallied by The Wrap. Check out The Wrap for its entire list.
The above contains opinions of one contributing writer and may not reflect the opinions of other writers or the magazine.