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18 coming outs that changed the world in 2014

18 coming outs that changed the world in 2014

Thousands of people have come out since the last National Coming Out Day. Some bad, some amazing, and some so heartwarming you will cry.

We’d might like to live in a world where coming out doesn’t make the news. But as long as anyone alive has a bad coming out, disowned by their families or thrown out onto the streets, then celebrities coming out can still change lives.

It’s all about breaking barriers and being who you are, and all 18 people on this list epitomise this.

1. Ellen Page

Sexy, cool and quirky, Canadian actress Ellen Page came out on Valentine’s Day this year at a gay youth conference.

In her speech, Page spoke to the audience about her personal struggle with coming out.

‘I’m here today because I am gay. And because… maybe I can make a difference. To help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility,’ she said.

‘I also do it selfishly, because I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out.

‘My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain.’

2. Kristian Nairn

Irish actor Kristian Nairn may not get a lot of lines in Game of Thrones (‘Hodor!’), but we wanted to hear a lot more from him as soon as he came out in March.

He wanted to challenge stereotypes of what a gay man is supposed to look like.

‘I just think it’s important to show the world that we are varied people, as everybody else. You don’t have to be any way,’ he told The Wall Street Journal. ‘I think that’s really important, and people said that to me. And that’s when I started to realize it’s not a small thing. It’s kind of a big thing.’

3. Vicky Beeching

British Christian singer Vicky Beeching, a darling of the American Bible Belt, risked everything by coming out in August.

She said she wanted to become an advocate for gay rights within the church.

And in one of her first missions, she made headlines by coming to blows with US pastor Scott Lively, currently on trial for crimes against humanity for his alleged anti-gay actions in Uganda.

When he asked her whether she cared what ‘God thinks’, she said: ‘I do and that actually why I am taking this step today so young people don’t have to listen to the kind of teaching you peddle, because it damages people.’

4. Daniel Franzese

Daniel Franzeze, the actor who played Damian in the hit film Mean Girls, chose an interesting way to come out.

He wrote a letter to his alter ego, the character that made him famous.

‘You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor. You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger. It might’ve been easier to be gay growing up.’

5. Tyler Glenn

Tyler Glenn, the lead vocalist and keyboardist of the American alternative rock band Neon Trees, had to struggle with being both gay and Mormon.

In his coming out interview with Rolling Stone, he said he was always taught tolerance growing up – unless it was to do with being gay.

But in a tweet after it all came out, he said: ‘Yes. I am a happy and healthy Mormon gay pop star. I don’t know what it all means, but I’m ok with it.’

6. Andreja Pejic

She’s appeared in Elle and French Vogue, Andreja Pejic stunned the fashion world when she came out as a transgender woman. 

‘To all trans youth out there, I would like to say respect yourself and be proud of who you are,’ she said in a statement to GLAAD.

‘All human beings deserve equal treatment no matter their gender identity or sexuality. To be perceived as what you say you are is a basic human right.’

Andreja Pejic

7. Mark McAdam

Mark McAdam has come out in the hypo-macho world of sportscasting.

The Sky Sports presenter, who revealed his sexuality in September, said he wanted to make it clear that he was still very similar to his straight colleagues.

‘I love football, just the same as any straight guy,’ he told Gay Times.

‘I watch football, I watch the darts, I sit around and scratch my bollocks and piss on the toilet seat. And I’m gay.’

8. Maria Walsh

In August, Philadelphia-born Maria Walsh won the Rose of Tralee – a contest to find the ‘ultimate Irish woman’.

‘I’m confident in who I am as a person,’ she told The Irish Times a week later.

‘To me, being gay is normal. I told my parents and they were supportive, as I knew they would be.

‘The Rose of Tralee is about celebrating women’s intelligence, careers, and their volunteer work. The question of sexuality never came up. To me, being gay is normal; it’s natural.’

9. Michael Sam

US football player Michael Sam had undeniably one of the most important, and most reported on, coming outs of the year.

In a New York Times article, the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year announced his wishes to become the first openly gay player of the NFL.

‘Once I became official to my teammates, I knew who I was. I knew that I was gay. And I knew that I was Michael Sam, who’s a Mizzou football player who happens to be gay,’ he said.

After his coming out, he was picked up and dropped by the St Louis Rams. He then became part of the Dallas Cowboys practice squad.

10. Derrick Gordon

But it wasn’t just Michael Sam that changed US sport, basketball player Derrick Gordon came out in April.

He has become the first openly gay National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 basketball player.

‘I just didn’t want to hide anymore, in any way,’ Gordon told ESPN.

‘I didn’t want to have to lie or sneak. I’ve been waiting and watching for the last few months, wondering when a Division I player would come out, and finally I just said, “Why not me?”’

11. Thomas Hitzlsperger

Thomas Hitzlsperger is the highest profile soccer player to come out as gay.

Having represented Germany 52 times, the former Aston Villa came out four months after he retired.

‘It’s been a long and difficult process [of becoming aware of being gay],’ he told Die Zeit.

‘Only in the last few years have I realised that I preferred living together with a man.’

‘I was never ashamed of being who I am but it was not always easy to sit on a table with 20 young men and listen to jokes about gays,’ he added.

12. Wang Ann-Jiun