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22 celebrities who came out and changed the world in 2015

22 celebrities who came out and changed the world in 2015

1. Caitlyn Jenner (Olympian/TV personality)


‘If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, “You just blew your entire life. You never dealt with yourself,” and I don’t want that to happen,’ Caitlyn Jenner said in her Vanity Fair interview.

The brave Olympian has arguably become one of the most famous trans women in the world since that issue. She has documented her transition in her E! show I Am Cait, and received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs in July.

2. Tim Cook (CEO of Apple)


‘Growing up, I was taught that you distinguish yourself in life by what you do, not by what you say or by how loudly you say it,’ Tim Cook said in his acceptance speech for the Visibility Award given by the Human Rights Campaign.

‘But sometimes you just have to be loud. People need to hear that being gay is not a limitation. People need to hear that being gay doesn’t restrict your options in life. People need to hear that you can be gay or transgender and be whatever else you want to in life.’

3. Miley Cyrus (Singer)

Miley Cyrus/Facebook

Miley Cyrus came out as pansexual in July.

‘I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age,’ she told Paper magazine. ‘Everything that’s legal, I’m down with. Yo, I’m down with any adult — anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me. I don’t relate to being boy or girl, and I don’t have to have my partner relate to boy or girl.’

4. Keegan Hirst (Rugby league player)

Batley Bulldogs Calendar

Keegan Hirst became the first British rugby league player to come out in August.

‘At first I couldn’t even say “I’m gay” in my head, let alone out loud. Now I feel like I’m letting out a long breath that I’ve held in for a long time,’ he told the Sunday Mirror.

‘I had a wife and kids. I’ve been a builder, doorman, worked in factories – I play rugby. I tick every macho box. How could I be gay? I’m from Batley for goodness sake. No one is gay in Batley.’

He added: ‘The only time I felt free of the torment was when I stepped on the rugby pitch. Now I feel free.’

5. Sam Stanley (Rugby union player)

Sam Stanley/Instagram

Sam Stanley followed in September by becoming the first English rugby union player to come out. And not only that, he revealed he was dating a much older guy.

‘I remember standing over a bridge and just contemplating whether or not to jump, but now looking back you don’t see anything else to this,’ he said afterwards. ‘You get so down about it you think if you came out you’d be outcasted anyway and hated for it, so why not let that whole feeling of loneliness and anger and hurt just disappear just like that, in the blink of an eye.

‘Looking back, it’s a ridiculous decision but I know at the same time there are people who do take that leap, and if that’s something I can stop and help people avoid, that’s a great feeling for me.’

6. David Denson (Baseball player)


David Denson is the first baseball player affiliated with the MLB to come out as gay.

‘Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them,’ Denson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said to the newspaper. ‘They said, “You’re still our teammate. You’re still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You’re still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don’t treat you any different. We’ve got your back.”’

7. Ramona Bachmann (Soccer player)


Swiss football star Ramona Bachmann came out shortly after her team won 10-1 against Ecuador in the Women’s World Cup in Canada, announcing she was in a relationship with student Camille Lara.

She said: ‘When I hold hands with Camille on the street in Switzerland, people turn. This is not the case in Sweden, and not here in Canada.’

8. Ty Herndon (Country singer)

Valeisha Kelly-Pedigo

Ty Herndon came out at the age of 51 following years of struggle. He first hit the charts in 1995 with the single What Mattered Most.

He came out late in 2014, saying it was time for him to finally be open about who he is.

‘I get to finally sing about every bit of my life,’ he told Gay Star News. ‘ I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to replace the he’s with she’s in the lyrics.’

9. Billy Gilman (Country singer)

Billy Gilman/Facebook

Another country star, Billy Gilman came out at 27 nearly at the very same time as Ty Herndon.

‘The purpose of [coming out] was to explain to my fans who I really am and that I have finally found pure happiness and hopefully you’re along with me for the ride,’ he told Gay Star News.

‘It’s not about selling records no matter what people may think. It’s about touching lives.’

10. Lily Rose-Depp (Johnny Depp’s daughter)

Lily Rose-Depp/Instagram

Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily came out by posing for the Self Evident Project – ‘a photographic document of 10,000 people in the USA that identify as anything other than 100% straight.’

Project founder iO Tillett Wright said: ‘I couldn’t be happier to welcome her to the family. She’s a tiny gem of a good human.’

11. Jonathan Rachel Clynch (TV news reporter)


Jonathan Clynch, an Irish TV news reporter, came out as genderfluid in September. He said he sometimes identifies as male, sometimes as female, and will now go by Jonathan Rachel Clynch.

[‘We], both as an employer and broadcaster, value the uniqueness of individuals and encourage diversity and equality,’ RTÉ said.

‘We are 100% supportive of Jonathan Rachel who is a valued member of staff and a highly respected journalist.’

12. Leo Varadkar (Minister for Health)


Leo Varadkar became the first gay cabinet member in Ireland. He came out in order to support same-sex marriage.

‘It’s not something that defines me. I’m not a half-Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter,’ he told RTÉ.

‘It’s just part of who I am, it doesn’t define me, it is part of my character I suppose’.

13. Jess Glynne (Singer)

Jess Glynne Official

Jess Glynne is one of the most successful British female solo artists, tying with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini to have five number-one singles in the UK. She came out as bisexual in May revealing she was still reeling after being broken up with by a girl.

‘It was the first girl I’d ever fallen in love with. I’ve never said that to anyone. It was a relationship that was so new to me. Someone I met working,’ she told ES magazine.

‘I don’t know what I want now – to be with a guy, with a girl, be with anyone. I’m so content with just doing this and seeing where it all takes me.’

14. Matt Cage (Wrestler)

Matt Cage/Facebook

Pro wrestler ‘Money’ Matt Cage came out by apologising to women everywhere.

‘Sorry, ladies. I’m officially pulling myself off of the market. Don’t hate me too bad,’ he said in a Facebook page.

‘I truly have nothing to hide anymore. I spent the majority of my life lying, hiding and depressed because I felt like I couldn’t truly be who I wanted to be and live freely as I saw fit. I had to act and that’s not me. I, nor anyone else, should have to do that.’

15. Adam Rippon (Figure skater)

Adam Rippon/Twitter

US figure skater Adam Rippon came out as gay at the age of 25.

‘‘I want to be a relatable example,’ the skater told US Figure Skating’s official magazine.

‘And I want to say something to the dad out there who might be concerned that his son is a figure skater. I mean look at me; I’m just a normal son from small-town Pennsylvania. Nothing changed. I’d just like to be a good role model. I’ve been honest with myself the whole time. I worked hard and loved what I did.’

16. Cara Delevingne (Model-Actress)

Cara Delevingne/Instagram

Cara Delevingne, as one of the most famous British supermodels in the world, chose a good way of coming out; Vogue.

‘It took me a long time to accept the idea, until I first fell in love with a girl at 20 and recognized that I had to accept it,’ she said.

‘I think that being in love with my girlfriend [St Vincent] is a big part of why I’m feeling so happy with who I am these days. And for those words to come out of my mouth is actually a miracle.’

17. Jussie Smollett (Actor)


Jussie Smollett, who plays gay singer-songwriter Jamal on the hit Fox show Empire, came out as gay in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres.

‘I say that I don’t talk about my personal life, I’m saying that. But it is in no way to hide or deny who God made me. Ya know?’ he said.

‘My mama knows. My mama likes me a lot,’ Smollett added. ‘And yes I take her to the Sound of Music sing-along every, single year.’

18. Joel Grey (Actor)

Joel Grey/Twitter

Actor Joel Grey came out as gay at the age of 82.

The father of actress Jennifer Grey, who was married to actress Jo Wilder for 24 years, has said he now feels comfortable being known in public as a gay man.

‘I don’t like labels,’ Grey told People magazine. ‘But if you have to put a label on it, I’m a gay man.’

19. Patricia Velásquez (Model-Actress)

Patricia Velasquez Official

Patricia Valásquez, the world’s first Latina supermodel, came out as gay after keeping it a secret for decades.

‘The reaction and support has been phenomenal,’ Velasquez told Gay Star News. ‘There’s never really been a Hispanic woman from my side say, “Yes, I am gay.”‘

‘I’ve had a great career and I fight for so many causes but somebody wrote after the book came out that probably my biggest contribution to humankind has been this book and my coming out.’

20. Father Krzysztof Olaf Charamsa (Priest)


Before the Synod, the meeting of 300 church leaders at the Vatican to discuss sexuality, Poland priest Krzysztof Charamsa came out as gay and was immediately fired from his position.

‘It’s time for the church to open its eyes about gay Catholics and to understand that the solution it proposes to them – total abstinence from a life of love – is inhuman,’ he told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, saying he wanted to challenge the Church’s ‘paranoia’.

‘I know that I will have to give up my ministry which is my whole life,’ he added.

21. Stein Erik Hagen (Billionaire)


Norwegian businessman Stein Erik Hagen is now the richest openly gay man in the world.

He’s worth $4.3 billion.

Coming out to NRK, he said: ‘I realized that I was gay in adulthood. When I was in my 20s we did not know what it was. We had heard about it, but it was not something we associated ourselves with.’

22. Nyle DiMarco (Model/Deaf activist)

America’s Next Top Model

America’s Next Top Model contestant Nyle DiMarco has become the latest celebrity to come out.

When asked if he is more into ‘boys or girls’, the series’ first deaf model simply responded ‘fluid’.

He also added a link to an Everyday Feminism article about fluid sexuality to make clear any ambiguity.