In 2015, coming out still matters.
The more people who share their true and authentic identities, the more chances to erase outdated and false stereotypes about what it means to be queer.
When celebrities and public figures open up about who they are, their visibility can be especially useful in changing hearts and minds. Still, coming out today often isn’t the dramatic affair it has been for many people in the past. More and more stars now choose to make declarations about their sexual or gender identities in understated ways, like discussing a partner in an interview, rather than opting for splashy cover stories.
In fact, of the 19 notable people below, we’re willing to bet that you probably didn’t even know a good handful of them had come out. Check out our list below and add any other important coming out stories from the last 12 months you think people should know about in the comments section.
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Michael Angelakos, the lead singer of the band Passion Pit, came out as gay
in November during an interview on author Bret Easton Ellis’s podcast
Angelakos told Ellis, “I don’t really know what happened, but it’s just one of those gut feelings. It’s the same gut feeling I had when I said, OK, I kind of just need to talk to people about the fact that I am. I’m gay. And that’s it. It just has to happen. This was exactly the type of situation where I don’t feel like I’m being threatened.”
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The model and daughter of Johnny Depp came out as sexually fluid in August via a friend’s post on Instagram
In November, Johnny Depp opened up about his daughter
saying, “I already knew because she tells me everything — she’s not afraid to say anything to me. We’re super-tight and I’m very proud of our relationship. Lily’s really together — she’s a sharp kid and one of the smartest human beings I have ever met.”
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The actor, singer and star of the hit series “Empire” came out as part of the queer community
in March. Smollett stopped short of using a label to define his sexuality, instead stating, “It was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet.” He added, “There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet, I got a dresser, but I don’t have a closet, but I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home.”
Miley Cyrus came out as pansexual in August while speaking with Elle UK.
The pop star, who has long been an advocate for the queer community, said, “”I’m very open about it – I’m pansexual
... But I’m not in a relationship. I’m 22, I’m going on dates, but I change my style every two weeks, let alone who I’m with.”
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“America’s Next Top Model” winner Nyle DiMarco came out as sexually fluid in October.
He made the announcement
on Twitter after a fan asked him whether he was into “boys or girls.”
DiMarco is the show’s first openly sexually fluid winner and also its first deaf winner.
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The “Modern Family” star announced he is gay
After a fan on Twitter asked if he “just came out” in a previous Tweet, Ewing responded, “I was never in.”
While Ewing may have been out to his family and friends and coworkers, it was the first time he publicly addressed his sexuality.
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WNBA star Angel McCoughtry came out via Instagram in April saying: “Yes we been discriminated against! We lost friends ! Family members are upset! They said i disgraced my religion! One thing i do know is that LOVE is a great feeling! My last overseas team threatened my job if i didn't write a fake letter on social media saying my relationship was a lie. But all i know, Love is a great feeling!”
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The “Cabaret” star came out as gay
in January at the age of 82.
Grey, who was married to actress Jo Wilder
for 24 years, and is father to “Dirty Dancing” star Jennifer Grey
, said his sexuality was not a secret to friends and family, but that “it took time to embrace that other part of who I always was.”
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The world champion freeskier and Olympic silver medalist came out in October on Twitter
, telling followers of his sexual orientation in a straight-to-the-point message which read simply, “I am gay.”
Chelsea Lauren via Getty Images
YouTube star and former “X-Factor” hopeful Trevor Moran
came out as gay in October.
Moran, 17, released a music video for his new song, “I Wanna Fly
,” in September that hinted at his sexuality, but he opted to make a more formal announcement in a clip which hit YouTube Oct. 9
“Basically — if it’s a shocker to any of you — I’m gay,” Moran told his nearly one million subscribers in the six-minute video. He then clarified, “I don’t feel like I was ever in the closet. I feel like I was in a glass closet.”
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YouTube sensation Ingrid Nilsen made a huge reveal in June, telling fans in an emotion-filled video
posted to YouTube, “I’m gay. It feels so good to say that!”
“I’m shaking right now because this moment is real and it’s here. And I’ve been waiting for this.”
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JOHANNES EISELE via Getty Images
The figure skater came out as gay in 2015 in Skating magazine.
“I want to be a relatable example,” Rippon said. “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.”
The world champion and world record holding powerlifter came out as transgender
Kroc, who is also the first transgender person to be featured in Muscle & Fitness magazine
, told The Huffington Post: “What’s important here is that this isn’t about being a boy or a girl or something in between — it’s about being who you are, your true authentic self and there are a lot of people in this world that feel like I do and they’re afraid to be themselves for fear of hate and discrimination.”
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The child of Sting and Trudie Styler came out as non-gendered
in December 2015.
“I think forever I was trying to figure out maybe … what I am,” Sumner said in an interview with The Evening Standard
. “But I don’t think anyone should feel pressured to have any kind of label or tag on them ... Me, I don’t like to be put down to a specific thing. We’re all human beings.”
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The star of “Two and a Half Men” and “Legally Blonde” opened up about her sexuality in November.
The 72-year-old actress, who got a 2013 Tony Award nomination
for her solo Broadway play, “Ann,” revealed she’s in a longterm relationship with a woman, who sources have said is “American Horror Story” star Sarah Paulson, when WNYC’s Anna Sale
asked her if she’d ever consider marrying.
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