In past decades on television, you’d hear people say, “What are you, gay?” or “That is so gay.” And these things were meant to be derogatory. Then gay rights emerged and it was no longer politically correct to say phrases like that.
We also saw the emergence of shows with predominantly gay characters, such as “Will & Grace,” which was once a top-rated show and is now making a comeback. On that show, Will is a gay man, but the actor playing that character – Eric McCormack – is a Canadian American with a wife (woman) and child. It’s seen the other way around as well, with gay actors playing straight men, as was the case with “How I Met Your Mother” actor Neil Patrick Harris, who played a playboy of sorts, heavily into women on the show, while in real life, he is gay.
Over the last decade, a variety of actors and actresses have come out and admitted they are gay. Some of us were surprised at the revelations, while others had an inkling that they were gay. But the bottom line is that it’s not a negative in Hollywood being gay anymore.
And recently, professional sports has seen the coming out of star athletes in every arena from wrestling to basketball.
In fact, there is a day – Oct 11 – called National Coming Out Day, where members of the LGBT community are encouraged to let their friends, family and others know their preference and/or status.
Let’s look at some of the celebrities that have come forward and shared their sexuality with the world.
15 Natalie Morales Goes Social Media To Declare She’s Queer
Actress Natalie Morales came into the forefront on the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation.” The series was on the air from 2009 until 2015. Morales didn’t come out until June 2016, however, when she posted on co-star Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls website, and said: “I don't like labeling myself, or anyone else, but if it's easier for you to understand me, what I'm saying is that I'm queer.” In a long post on Smart Girls, Morales talked about her first crush in high school was another gay girl named Katy, and how they would kiss and make out behind closed doors but never touch in school. She admitted that for a long time she felt “dirty” and ashamed and actually went to therapy as a teenager. She even tried dating boys, but in her 20s came out to her friends only. When she came out on Smart Girls, she said this: “… if there are any scared kids out there, like I was, I can tell you that whole ‘It Gets Better’ campaign is true. It does. And you’re not weird. You’re not bad. You’re not unholy. You’re exactly what God intended you to be.”
14 Aubrey Plaza Surprised Fans With Revelation
Aubrey Plaza, also of “Parks and Recreation,” played April Ludgate on the NBC sitcom. She came out as bisexual during an interview with the Advocate in July 2016. The lovely lady says she actually likes men as well, but feels like she has a “masculine energy.” Commented the “The Little Hours” actress, “Girls are into me — that’s no secret. Hey, I’m into them, too. I fall in love with girls and guys. I can’t help it.” Plaza, 32, credited having a gay aunt, uncle and sister with teaching her early on that it was okay “to stand out and let your freak flag fly.” Plaza is naughtily starring in “The Little Hours,” which is reportedly about three nuns who are guilty of "filthy talk, lustfulness and homosexuality," reports the Gay Times. The film was released in June and received pretty good reviews (Roger Ebert gave it five stars) but it wasn’t a box office success.
13 Reid Ewing Of ‘Modern Family’ Has Another Secret
Haley’s on again/off again boyfriend Dylan on the hit TV show “Modern Family” is played by Reid Ewing who actually came out as gay seemingly by accident. He reportedly admired another guy’s looks on Twitter, and a follower asked him if he just outed himself. His response: “I was never in.” But being gay in a world of actors and actresses on a hit TV show was the least of his concerns. Ewing began revealing his struggle with body dysmorphia and cosmetic surgery. “I genuinely believed if I had one procedure I would suddenly look like Brad Pitt,” he wrote in November 2016 to Huffington Post. Ewing detailed some of the procedures over several years that included implants, fillers and injections. According to the story, the 27-year-old actor began to use less reputable doctors. “My history with eating disorders and the cases of OCD in my family never came up,” he said, adding, “I think people often choose cosmetic surgery in order to be accepted, but it usually leaves them feeling even more like an outsider. According to the latest reports, Ewing eventually sought help and is in the process of healing.
12 Holland Taylor And Sarah Paulson Find Love Despite Age Difference
It’s funny sometimes how art can imitate life. On “Two and a Half Men,” actress Holland Taylor, who plays Evelyn Harper, is always chasing men, until later in the show, she starts having an affair with another woman. In real life, the 70-something Taylor recently came out and revealed that she is in love with another woman. That woman happens to be Sarah Paulson, who is an Emmy Award-winning actress. When the relationship came to light, Holland was asked why she waited so long to reveal her preference in relationships. She tartly replied: “I haven't come out because I am out. I live out.” Taylor says the age difference is the biggest obstacle. “There’s a very big age difference between us which I’m sure shocks a lot of people, and it startles me. But as they say, ’If she dies, she dies.’” As for Paulson, who is 32 years younger than Taylor, she told the New York Times recently that she is “in love, and that person happens to be Holland Taylor.”
11 Matt Bomer, ‘White Collar’s’ Hot Rogue Prefers Men
Matt Bomer came into the limelight several years back on the USA Network hit show “White Collar.” He played a rogue of sorts, working with the FBI to solve crimes in exchange for being out of prison. But his ultimate mission was to find his lady lover. Off screen though, Bomer prefers men, something he revealed during an acceptance speech at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards in 2014. Bomer publicly confirmed that he is gay. Bomer's partner is reportedly Slate PR publicist Simon Halls, who also represents actor Neil Patrick Harris, who is also openly gay. In a recent interview with People, Bomer said that hiding his sexuality taught him how to be a good actor. “One of the ways I learned how to act, really, is by having secrets, and having to function as a kid in a public school in suburban Bible Belt Texas,” Bomer, 39, said. “Subsequently I worked on a gas pipeline with my brother for a while — there were ex-cons with us. It was not an environment where it was safe to be gay.” When he told his parents, they shut him out for six months and it actually took years for their relationship to heal.
10 Anderson Cooper Couldn’t Be Happier… And Then His Mom Gloria Vanderbilt Said…
Newsman Anderson Cooper’s private life became the breaking news when he came out in 2012. He admitted he was “…gay, always have been, always will be” and that he “couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.” A respected journalist, Cooper finally opened up about his sexuality to The Daily Beast writer Andrew Sullivan in an email exchange. Once that settled in with his audience, though, an even more shocking revelation came when his mother – Gloria Vanderbilt – admitted in an interview that she once had a same sex relationship with a school mate when she was a teenager. She said it confused her at the time, but eventually she realized “love is love.” "I think almost everybody goes through [it] at one point of course… the thing is, now we realize there’s no difference. Love is love.” See her confession below.
9 Wanda Sykes Says It's Harder Being Gay Than Black
Comedian Wanda Sykes, who once had her own sitcom, as well as variety show, always played a straight woman who loved men. On “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” she was married to a man and then got divorced and married Christine in order to be able to stay in the country. But it was a fake gay relationship. But quietly, the popular comic came out when she joined other protesters in a Las Vegas march against the passage of California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage. During her appearance at the rally, Sykes revealed she was gay and also told the crowd that she had been married to her female partner since late October 2008. During interviews over the last few years, Sykes has said it’s harder being gay than Black. She told Rickey Smiley during an interview on his syndicated radio morning show: “I’m not talking about the history of Black people, of African Americans. I’m talking about at this point right now … I don’t know of organizations and groups like Focus on the Family and such anti-gay organizations who are putting up so much money — millions and millions of dollars — into stopping me from, you know, being Black or telling me I can’t exercise my Blackness. There’s no equality. There’s no equality for the LGBT community.”
8 Country Music’s Ty Herndon Says He’s Proud And Happy
Country singer Ty Herndon came out in November 2014 and declared he was “an out, proud and happy gay man.” Less than a month after coming out, Herndon appeared on the red carpet at an event with his male mate, Matt Collum, a pharmaceutical rep, according to People magazine. Two years later in November 2016, Herndon admitted in to the Associated Press that he put his career at risk when he announced he was gay. But, the “House on Fire” singer admitted, the response was way more positive than negative. Herndon’s “brave” announcement and red carpet moment inspired another country singers to step forward as well – Billy Gillman. But the first was probably Chely Wright, who Herndon says inspired him. Herndon didn’t come out until he was 52, but the country hit makers says if he knew what he knows now, he’d have come out 20 years ago.
7 Apple CEO Tim Cook First Major CEO To Reveal Sexualilty
Tim Cook as head of Apple is arguably the first major Fortune 500 company executive to come out as gay. The Apple CEO confirmed his sexuality for the first time in an article published in Bloomberg Buisnessweek on Oct. 30, 2014. “While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now,” Cook wrote. “So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” A year later, the topic was still coming up during interviews, including one with late night talk show host Stephen Colbert. Jobs took the opportunity to explain why at age 53 he decided to come out. “It became so clear to me that kids were getting bullied in school, kids were getting basically discriminated against, kids were even being disclaimed by their own parents and that I needed to do something.”
6 NBA’s Jason Collins Makes History
Football player Michael Sam wasn’t the first professional athlete to come out as gay, and he won’t be the last. A couple of years before Sam, then Boston Celtics center Jason Collins became the first active athlete in a major American professional sport to come out as homosexual. “I'm a 34-year-old NBA center,” Collins wrote in a Sports Illustrated cover story that announced his sexuality. “I’m Black. And I’m gay… I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. 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.” Eighteen months later, while playing with the Nets, he announced his retirement.
5 Andre King – Growing Up Hip Hop … And Gay
Andre King, who is one of the stars of “Growing Up Hop Hop and is also the brother of platinum producer Swizz Beatz (and brother-in-law to Alicia Keys), came out on the reality show less than a year ago. The 30-year-old said he came out privately first to his family and that family members were supportive. “They were just really proud of me and happy and they all gave me so much love and just really said, you know, this is big. This is bigger than you doing your reality [show], this is your reality,” King told EOnline. “That felt so good to get the love.” Before coming out, King was posting on social media that he was dating a woman and even posted photos of him and her together. Season 3 of the reality show, which also stars Angela Simmons (daughter of Rev. Run of Run DMC) and Romeo Miller (son of Master P), is currently airing on WeTV currently.
4 Trey Pearson Rocks Christianity To New Level
Trey Pearson is the front man of the Christian rock band Everyday Sunday. For years he’s been married with a family and seemingly living the all American Christian life. But last year, he came out to his fans in an open letter and related his decision to coming out to his faith. “I never wanted to be gay,” he wrote. “I was scared of what God would think and what all of these people I loved would think about me; so it was never an option for me.” The 36-year-old details how he married Lauren, his wife, believing he could will away his homosexuality. “Trying not to be gay, has only led to a desire for intimacy in friendships which pushed friends away, and it has resulted in a marriage where I couldn’t love or satisfy my wife in a way that she needed.” He also said that he came out publicly in hopes of encouraging change in the church. “It’s not just me,” he added. “There are millions of people going through what I’m going through right now.”
3 Elena Delle Donne Takes It To The Court
Last year, we saw WNBA player Elena Delle Donne lead the U.S. women’s basketball team at the Olympics in Rio. She is quite a star in the WNBA as well, and was voted MVP last year. What a lot of people may not know about this extraordinarily talented player, is that her sister Lizzie is physically disabled and was actually operated on by former Presidential candidate Ben Carson. Elena makes it a point to keep an residence near her parents’ home so that she can see Lizzie as often as possible, despite her hectic schedule. And on top of everything last year, she came out in Vogue magazine, also announcing her relationship with Amanda Clinton. This year when the two got married, they asked that in lieu of gifts, that people make a donation to the Elena Delle Donne Foundation, which provides benefits to those with special needs.
2 Gus Kenworthy Breaks Hearts With ‘I’m Gay’ Announcement
Hunky-looking Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy broker a lot of women’s hearts when he came out during an interview on ESPN. “For most of my life I've dreaded the day that people would find out I was gay. Now, I couldn't be more excited to tell you all the truth,” he wrote on Instagram. Kenworthy’s bold move didn’t go unnoticed outside of his fan base. In July, the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights advocacy group, honored the medaled freestyle skier with its Visibility Award in Salt Lake City. Kenworthy said during his acceptance speech: “How much of my life, how many agonizing years I spent worried about what my life would be like if people knew the real me, and how much better it has actually become since I did let them know.” Time then featured Kenworthy in its Body issue and he is expected to ski for the United States in South Korea next year in the Winter Olympics.
1 Kristen Stewart, ‘Twilight’ Star And Girlfriend Attacked By Hacker
Who would have guessed Kristen Stewart would declare she was gay? Her and her “Twilight” co-star Robert Pattinson seemed to be living the dream as one of Hollywood’s power couples throughout the 2000s. The split came in 2013. And then this year, it came out that Stewart – as she put it on “Saturday Night Live” – is “so gay.” She’s reportedly been dating Alicia Cargile, a movie producer. In a recent interview with Elle magazine, Stewart said. “Right now, I’m just really in love with my girlfriend. To hide this provides the implication that I’m not down with it or I’m ashamed of it, so I had to alter how I approached being in public. It opened my life up and I’m so much happier.” Stewart has since moved on from Cargile and has reportedly been dating model Stella Maxwell. Just this week (Aug. 21), nude photos of the actress and her model girlfriend were found and released by a hacker, and Stewart has already sicced her lawyers onto any publication that publishes the pictures.