The increasing visibility of openly gay politicians, actors and public figures speaks volumes for the progress the LGBTI community and allies have made in the past few decades.
This year saw beloved celebrities, athletes and young students come forward and share with the world one of the most important and intimate aspects of their lives.
Whether they came out at school, on the Golden Globes stage or in a Youtube video – GSN applauds the message these 11 individuals shared when they came out of the closet.
1. Jodie Foster
The actress used the 2013 Golden Globes ceremony for a glorious coming out speech.
Foster went on stage to receive the Cecil B De Mille Lifetime Achievement Award and made a strong statement on how she didn’t think there was a need for a public declaration about her sexuality.
‘Every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a primetime reality show,’ Foster said.
Watch Jodie Foster’s speech at the Golden Globes 2013:
2. Jacob Rudolph
This brave student went on stage to receive the Class Actor Award during the presentations of senior class awards at his New Jersey high school.
Jacob took this opportunity to share with everyone what no one knew about him. ‘Most of you see me everyday. You see me acting the part of straight Jacob, when I am in fact LGBT,’ he said. He came out in front of more than 300 peers and the reaction couldn’t be better when classmates responded with a standing ovation.
Check out his speech below:
Some people on social media said Raven Symoné ruined their childhood after coming out as a lesbian, but that was definitely the right thing to do. After the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the dismissal of Prop 8 in the United States, the Disney Chanel star expressed her excitement over the advances for the LGBTI community on Twitter.
‘I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you.’
4. Wentworth Miller
The American actor came out in declining an invitation to a Russian film festival. He wrote a letter expressing his concern over Russian anti-gay laws and how the country treats its LGBTI citizens.
‘I am deeply troubled by the current attitude and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government,” he wrote on his letter.
Miller revealed how he struggled accepting his sexuality and how he tried to committ suicide as a teenager.
5. Chelsea Manning
She came under the global spotlight this year as the US army soldier who revealed hundreds of state secrets to the media.
During the difficult process of finding asylum, the whistleblower came out as transgender, announcing her name was Chelsea and was undergoing assessment before starting hormone therapy.
She was sentenced to 35 years in prison by the US Supreme Court just a few days after admitting her gender identity.
6. Tom Daley
British Olympic diver Tom Daley posted a video to his 2.4 million Youtube followers where he spoke about his relationship with a man. The video caption read: ‘This has been a hard decision to make, but I wanted you to hear from me.’
The 19-year-old said he was very happy with the guy he was dating and thought it was the best decision to make.
‘Of course, I still fancy girls, but right now I’m dating a guy, and I couldn’t be happier,’ he said.
Check out Tom Daley’s coming out video below:
7. Maria Bello
The Coyote Ugly star publicly came out by writing an article titled Coming Out As a Modern Family for The New York Times.
The piece recalls when she first told her son about her love life. ‘I was with someone romantically and I hadn’t told him,’ she said. ‘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.’
Her son and family supported her decision to which her 12 year-old son replied: ‘Mom, love is love, whatever you are.’
8. Victor Garber
The Argo and Titanic actor confirmed he was gay after he said last year he and his companion Rainer Andreesen have lived together for a long time in New York City.
The handsome couple have been together for almost 14 years. ‘I don’t really talk about it but everybody knows,’ he said.
9. Jason Collins
When NBA star Jason Collins admitted he was gay, he became the first male US athlete in a professional sport to come out.
He said the deaths of three people at the Boston Marathon bombing persuaded him to come out, as things can change in a moment so everyone should be honest about their lives, he wrote.
‘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,’ he said in an interview for Sports Illustrated.
Filipina pop star and Glee actress came out as gay in her interview she gave in the Philippines back in June.
She now feels free and with no fear to be herself. During the interview she apologized if she disappointed her friends and family. Her conservative family didn’t react well with her mom asking her to change her sexuality.
However, Charice has no plans for that.
11. Jimmy Hales
Hales is a Mormon who decided to document his family and friend’s reactions when he came out as gay. He recorded his mom, sister, roommate and long-time friends. He claims he made the video to help himself and others to deal with their sexual orientation. He hopes the video will also improve the Church and make progress on the way Mormons see LGBTI community.
Watch Jimmy’s coming out video below: