Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, originally founded in the United States in 1988.
Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary founded the day as a way of promoting celebration and positivity within the community and living authentically.
In 1993, Eichberg said: ‘Most people think they don’t know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact everybody does. It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes.’
The date was chosen to coincide with the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
In honor of this day and anniversary, here are 30 people — from celebrities to athletes and beyond — who have come out this year.
Actor Lee Pace initially came out in an interview with W Magazine — and he wasn’t happy about it.
Following the numerous headlines about the interview, he eventually took to Twitter and clarified his comments. This time, he came out happily, writing he was a ‘member of the queer community’.
‘I understand the importance of living openly, being counted, and happily owning who I am.’
After igniting several assumptions with her music videos like Pynk and Make Me Feel, singer Janelle Monáe came out as pansexual in an interview with Rolling Stone.
‘Being a queer black woman in America… someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker,’ she said.
She initially identified as bisexual, before reading about pansexuality and saying she identified with it.
Many thought — or dreamt — Janelle Monáe and Tessa Thompson were dating. The pair are close friends, and Thompson appeared in several of Monáe’s music videos, as well as her visual album.
While they’ve never definitively spoken about their relationship, Thompson did come out as bisexual during this year’s Pride Month.
‘We love each other deeply,’ she said about her relationship with Monáe. ‘We’re so close, we vibrate on the same frequency.’
Journalist Ronan Farrow is known for many things — being the son of Mia Farrow (and either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra, jury’s still out on that one), and the person who has helped bring #MeToo stories to light.
He is also a member of the LGBTI community, which he spoke about in a speech for the Point Foundation. It was his first time coming out publicly, though Vice had initially outed him in 2013.
Over the course of her journey, actor Amandla Stenberg identifies as bisexual, queer, and gender fluid.
This past June, however, she came out as gay in an interview.
‘I’m grateful for how being gay has afforded me this ability to experience and understand love and sex, and therefore life, in an expansive and infinite way,’ she said.
Canadian hockey player Jessica Platt came out as transgender at the beginning of the year.
On Instagram, she wrote she is ‘fortunate enough to be able to live my life as who I am meant to be as well as follow my passion and play the game I love’.
The Canadian Women’s Hockey League also released a statement of support.
In May, Mike Jacobs, a Georgia judge and former Republican state representative, came out as bisexual.
‘My wife Evan and I have made a mutual decision that it would be a positive step for me to come out, and she proudly stood with me at the Stonewall Bar event,’ he said about the decision on when and where to come out.
He added that he sees several LGBTI citizens as a judge.
Panic! At the Disco lead singer officially came out as pansexual over the summer.
Urie has been a long supporter of the LGBTI community, both in his music and his life outside of entertainment.
Though he’s married to a woman, he said gender doesn’t affect who he’s attracted to or finds interesting.
‘If a person is great, then a person is great. I just like good people, if your heart’s in the right place. I’m definitely attracted to men. It’s just people that I am attracted to,’ he ultimately said.
Last month, professional golfer Tadd Fujikawa came out, going on to become of the first pro golfers to ever come out publicly.
He came out via an Instagram post: ‘My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another.’
Young actor Josie Totah, who has appeared in projects like Champions and Other People, came out as transgender in August.
‘On the playground, I was the type of kid who wanted to sing with the girls, not play soccer with the boys,’ she wrote in an essay.
‘My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah.’
Broad City star Abbi Jacobson opened up about her sexuality in a spring interview.
‘I kind of go both ways; I date men and women,’ she said, coming out as bisexual. ‘They have to be funny, doing something they love.’
People in the community wondered about Jacobson after it was rumored she had dated Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein.
Making a big statement for Singapore, Li Huanwu came out as gay in July.
He is the grandson of Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, and the nephew of current prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong.
He has long supported Pink Dot, the country’s Pride, even before coming out.
Prior to coming out, Garrett Clayton was best known for being in the Disney Channel’s Teen Beach Movie, as well as starring in the gay porn film King Cobra.
Model Reece King came out earlier this year in an interview with Gay Times.
He said he decided to come out as bisexual after people kept asking him about it on social media.
‘I realized that whatever I said, it became a distraction. Anything I did or post online, people would just ask about who I’m interested in.
‘So I just built up this defense of saying “that’s not important.” But I guess it’s stuck with me because it really isn’t important so – now I just say “yeah, I am bisexual.”‘
Steven Universe is an animated show known for its inclusivity and queer representation.
Turns out, this is both in the show and behind the scenes.
Creator Rebecca Sugar came out as non-binary in July, talking about how good it was to express herself through the show’s characters.
In June, US professional soccer player Collin Martin came out as gay.
This made him the first male US athlete to come out from any of the major leagues since Michael Sam came out before the NFL draft. It also made him the only professional male soccer player to be currently out and continuing to play.
French Digital Minister Mounir Mahjoubi came out as gay earlier this year in an effort to combat homophobia with visibility.
‘Homophobia is an ill that eats away at society, invades schools, and poisons families and lost friends,’ he said on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
In April, Todd Harrity became the first male professional squash player to come out as gay.
‘I have decided to come out because I am convinced that having everyone know this about me is the only way that I can truly be content,’ he wrote in a letter.
Singer Rita Ora came out as bisexual earlier this year — after facing backlash from other queer artists for a new song.
‘I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey,’ she said in response to the backlash. ‘I have strived to be a contributor to the LGBTQ+ community throughout my entire career and always will be.’
‘No more hiding, no more lies, no more fannying around!’ wrote British gravity bike race on Facebook.
‘To some of you this won’t be news or anything new but to a lot of you, I imagine it won’t have even crossed your mind. Some of you may have thought about it I imagine. What I’m trying to do is come out and say I’m gay.’
Actor Jake Choi, who co-stars in ABC’s new sitcom Single Parents, came out as sexually fluid recently.
‘Ever since I was young, all the images you saw around you, or at least for me, was catered towards heterosexuals, he said. ‘Very cis, very heterosexual. I was an athlete. When you’re an athlete everything is hypermasculine and hetero.’
Now he’s comfortable being himself and being attracted to everything.
‘I came out as trans non-binary in a room full of people today. Guess it’s time for me to do that on here, too…’ Scream actor Bex Taylor-Klaus wrote on Twitter. ‘Hi. I’m Bex, and the rumors are true. I’m v enby.’
In 2016, they also came out as ‘v gay’.
Big Brother contestant Cameron Cole had a very public coming out.
He came out after finding out fellow contestant Cian had a crush on him. Eventually, Cian backtracked the comments, but Cole still came out to Lewis, another person in the house.
Okkar Min Maung
Burmese actor and model Okkar Min Maung came out publicly in a Facebook video. His American boyfriend was also in it.
In Myanmar, same-sex sexual activity has a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Maung and his boyfriend both live in New York together.
Queer actor Nico Tortorella, who is polyamorous and married to Bethany Meyers, came out as gender fluid with the help of a drag queen.
‘I just pretty recently have come to terms with the fact that maybe I am not fully cisgender,’ they said. ‘This isn’t something I’ve actually talked about on a public level quite yet.’
Another former Disney star also came out this year.
Alyson Stoner wrote in an essay for Teen Vogue that she is ‘men, women, and people who identify in other ways’.
She finished: ‘If you’re questioning or struggling with your sexuality, gender identity, or anything else, know that I and so many who’ve gone before us are with you. Whatever your identity, you are lovable and wonderful and enough…’
Another athlete, this time a swimmer, also came out as gay this year.
American swimmer, Abrahm DeVine, a medley specialist, shared his truth with Swimming World Magazine in September.
‘Growing up gay in any sport is definitely tough,’ he said, and added that coming out to his college team was hard.
Model and Scream Queens actor Derek Chadwick was another person to come out this year.
In an interview, he said: ‘I would identify now as gay… I think I realised vaguely at school that I was gay, like officially. There was a point that I just knew.
‘If I can just inspire one person, whoever that is, to be their true self or do something they were scared to do or didn’t feel 100% confident in, that would be the most rewarding part of all this.’
In 1996, Sandra Forgues was part of France’s Gold winning kayaking team in Atlanta. She then won Bronze in Barcelona.
This year, she came out as transgender.
‘My intimate life was in a prison. I always thought it would be one or the other,’ she said.
After decades in the public eye as a professional race car driver, Hurley Haywood came out this year at 69.
‘In the book, Hurley! From the Beginning, he discusses his sexuality, and that it was known in the racing community.
‘The racing community has been extremely supportive,’ he said. ‘I’ve never not gotten a ride because I was gay.’
Coming out is different for everyone, and can happen numerous times throughout one’s life. Remember your coming out is valid, no matter when or how you do it.