October 11, marks the 24th anniversary of the first National Coming Out Day (NCOD). NCOD was launched after a march on Washington by more than half a million people in support of lesbian and gay rights on October 11, 1987. The purpose of National Coming Out Day is to promote government and public awareness of gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender rights and to celebrate homosexuality.
When it comes to visibility and impact, it can be argued that celebrities have an especially large role in shaping the way mainstream society views an issue. Until recently, coming out of the closet could trigger the end of a star's career and even now many in Hollywood remain in the closet. But more and more celebrities are opening up about being gay and, thus, changing and broadening understanding about who could potentially be LGBT.
Check out the stories of 15 celebrities who have come out of the closet in 2012 after the jump.
The flamboyant singer-songwriter played coy about his sexuality for many years before finally coming out as gay in the September 2012 issue of Instinct magazine.
Mika told the magazine-
"If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah... Are these songs about my relationship with a man? I say yeah. And it’s only through my music that I’ve found the strength to come to terms with my sexuality beyond the context of just my lyrics. This is my real life."
Frank Ocean has finally found his own personal freedom this Independence Day. The Odd Future rapper and Kanye West's protege came out in a message on July 4, 2012, confessing that his "first love" was with a man. "4 summers ago, I met somebody," he wrote. "I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. The singer's post comes hot on the heels of speculation about his sexuality after a writer from BBC1 Xtra's Max wrote a review pointing out his use of the pronoun "him" instead of "her" on several tracks on his upcoming album "Channel Orange." The confession marks a groundbreaking moment in the hip hop world, as Ocean is one of the first artists to come out about his sexuality.
Matt Bomer has no problem separating his private life from his public one.
But separating and hiding are two very different things, the “White Collar” actor clarified to E! News.
“I never really endeavored to hide anything,” the 34-year-old actor said. “But there were times I chose not to relegate my history to the back page of a magazine, which to me is sort of akin to putting your biography on a bathroom wall.”
Bomer, who subtly came out as a gay man back in February when he thanked longtime partner Simon Halls upon accepting the New Generation Arts and Activism Award, adds that he doesn’t see it as an issue because his sexuality doesn’t define his talents as an actor.
Paul Iacono, the actor who plays RJ Berger in the MTV comedy series, has come out as gay during an interview with Michael Musto.
Musto was interviewing the 23-year-old star for Village Voice about his new MTV show, Kenzie’s Scale, which tells the story of high-school girlfriend–boyfriend sweethearts Kenzie and Cole who move to a New York College together.
Iacono, who plays Cole, explains, “[Cole] has this gay awakening when they get there. So they continue living together more as friends than lovers.”
Off the back of this, Musto said “you’re openly gay now”, to which Iacono replied, “Yes [. . .] I was asked if I was comfortable doing gay press [and] I said, “Of course.” I didn’t think I’d be coming out. But, why not now? I think it’s the right time to say something.”
Anderson Cooper's famously private life just became the latest breaking news. He is, in his own words, "gay, always have been, always will be" and he "couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud." The respected CNN journalist, who has long dodged questions about his sexuality in the public eye, opened up to The Daily Beast columnist Andrew Sullivan in a recent email exchange.
I am gay in real life, so I definitely get it. But it’s not my story — I wasn’t closeted for any amount of time. I never had a girlfriend who I had that experience with. It’s less that Elijah knew he was gay and continued to date Hannah anyway and more that he wasn’t ready to admit to himself that he was gay. I think that’s probably the more common thing, particularly with young homosexuals. Coming out can be super super complicated, especially when it comes to families and friends —and if you already have a girlfriend, what does that mean for her? I hope that changes over time, but coming is very personal and everybody obviously has to do it in their own time. So, no, I don’t think he did anything bad.
"Anne doesn't feel she was outed," Burrell's rep told Page Six. "She has made no secret of her relationship."
The rep went on to note, "Her significant other is a very private woman. They have been together for a couple of years and spend a lot of time together."
The 43-year-old mother of three, who's long enjoyed a sizable lesbian fanbase, told Out that she first had a relationship with a woman while still in high school, after moving from her native England to suburban Michigan.
"If I had thought I was 100 percent gay, would it have been a different experience for me?" Anderson, who was voted "Most Bizarre" and "Most Likely to Be Arrested" in high school, ponders. "Would it have been a bigger deal if shame had been attached to it and all those things that become huge life-altering issues for youngsters in that situation? It's possible that my attitude around it came, on some level, from knowing that I still liked boys."
The New York Times subtly mentioned the news in an article about MSNBC personality Thomas Roberts' recent wedding, where Champion and Robierb were guests.
After his revelation, Champion, 51, discussed about his plans on "GMA" and thanked everyone for their support.
American Idol alum and The Voice semifinalist Frenchie Davis hadn't openly spoken about her dating life until a June 21 profile in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in which revealed that she's in a one-year relationship... with another woman. "I wasn't out before the relationship, but I wasn't in," Davis, who has performed on Broadway in Rent, told the newspaper. "I dated men and women, though lesbians weren't feeling the bisexual thing. Now I'm in love with a woman I think I can be with forever." No word on who that woman is -- but she sounds like a lucky lady.
Tom Gabel/Laura Jane Grace
Against Me! front man Tom Gabel rocked the music world by coming out as a transgender with plans to physically become a woman. The 31-year-old Gabel made the announcement in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, revealing that she has suffered from gender dysphoria, a recognized medical condition involving a person's self-perception of their gender. Before going public, Gabel first broke the news to her wife, Heather, to whom she will remain married. Gabel's announcement marks a first in rock history, especially in the machismo world of punk music.
Larry Wachowski/Lana Wachowski
Director of The Matrix trilogy and the highly anticipated Cloud Atlas, Larry Wachowski, comes out as transgender, making her the first major Hollywood director to do so.
Wachowski introduces herself for the first time as Lana in the latest promo for Cloud Atlas, alongside her brother Andy and director Tom Tykwer.
After years of public speculation, Hong Kong pop star Anthony Wong, a fixture of Hong Kong nightlife and Chinese pop-culture since the 80s, put rumors to rest by coming out as gay in April this year.
The singer, who has handled gay rumors for decades with grace, made his homosexuality official in the most dramatic way possible: coming out at the end of an emotional concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum, a single spotlight shining on his announcement. “People don’t need to guess whether or not I’m a tongzhi [Chinese slang for gay] anymore. I’m saying, I’m gay. I’m a homosexual. G-A-Y.”
“I’m sorry, members of the media. For the next 20 years, I’ll keep singing songs, but you don’t need to ask me this question any longer,” he added to cheers and applause from fans.