Another year of pandemic-related chaos didn’t stop LGBTQ+ celebrities from living their lives authentically. 2021 saw a number of public figures speak publicly for the first time about how they identify and why it matters to them.
From the NFL’s first out active player to country music’s biggest openly gay recording artist, here are 12 celebrities who opened up about being a member of the LGBTQ+ community in 2021.
T.J. OsborneTim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
Adelaide KaneRandy Shropshire/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly
The Reign alum came out as bisexual on TikTok. She follows in the footsteps of bi actresses Auli’i Cravalho and Nikki Blonsky, who also used the platform to open up about their queerness.
HalseyRosalind O'Connor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Ahead of releasing her Grammy-nominated album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, Halsey quietly changed their pronouns to “she/they” on Instagram in March.
The former Bachelor opened up about his sexual orientation in April, making for one of the year’s most explosive and talked-about coming out stories. In early December, he sat down with Logo Live host Johnny Sibilly to reflect on what he has learned about himself and his privilege from the critiques he’s received.
JoJo SiwaDavid Livingston/Getty Images
The Nickelodeon alum revealed she had a girlfriend and is pansexual back in April. “I’ve never gotten this much support from the world,” the 19-year-old actress, dancer, and social-media star told People. “I think this is the first time that I’ve felt so personally happy.”
Since then, Siwa made a splash as the first contestant to dance in a same-sex duo on the most recent season of Dancing With the Stars.
Demi LovatoRich Fury/Getty Images for Global Citizen
The singer, actor, and UFO enthusiast spoke publicly about identifying as nonbinary in May.
“I feel that this best represents the fluidity I feel in my gender expression and allows me to feel most authentic and true to the person I both know I am, and am still discovering,” Lovato explained in the inaugural episode of their podcast, 4D With Demi Lovato.
Tommy DorfmanSean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
In a soul-baring July interview with transgender author Torrey Peters for Time, the 29-year-old actress opened up about privately “transitioning and living as a woman” during quarantine.
“It’s funny to think about coming out, because I haven’t gone anywhere,” Dorfman said. “I view today as a reintroduction to me as a woman, having made a transition medically. Coming out is always viewed as this grand reveal, but I was never not out. Today is about clarity: I am a trans woman.”
Laganja EstranjaAlexander Fost
The RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 alum has always been a sickening performer, but this Pride Month, she was more vulnerable than ever, revealing she is transgender in an intimate interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“I do want to be able to express this at all times,” she told the magazine. “I just got my haircut — a very feminine cut — and in one week already, my life has changed. I’m able to come off stage and take my makeup off and still see a beautiful woman in the mirror. It’s powerful.”
Joshua BassettRich Fury/KCA2021/Getty Images for Nickelodeon
After a video of him thirsting over Harry Styles went viral, the 20-year-old Disney star confirmed he is a member of the LGBTQ+ community…and “anti-coming out.”
“I am anti-coming out in the sense that there’s no need to,” he told GQ. “People are welcome to have boxes if they want them.”
Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. ElviraRodin Eckenroth/Getty Images
In a win for gay goths everywhere, the Mistress of the Dark star revealed she has been in a relationship with another woman for almost 20 years. She dropped the bombshell in Yours Cruelly, Elvira, her memoir published in September.
Although Elvira kept the relationship under wraps for so long, she said she finally feels “safe, blessed, and truly loved.”
Carl NassibEthan Miller/Getty Images
Football history was made in September when Nassib, a defensive lineman for the Las Vegas Raiders, became the first openly gay active NFL player. He buttoned his coming-out announcement on Instagram with a $100,000 donation to The Trevor Project.
“I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary,” he said, “but until then I’m going to do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate.”
Kehlani came out as a lesbian in early 2021, and as of December, the R&B singer uses they/she pronouns.