On October 11, LGBT people around the world are encouraged to share their truth in whatever way feels right: it might be in person, in an Instagram, or even a joyful YouTube video.
In celebration of National Coming Out Day, we’re looking back at 24 major personalities who have come out since last Coming Out Day. Hopefully there will be even more next year!
Brandon FlynnMARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images
In September, the 13 Reasons Why actor identified himself as part of the LGBT community in an Instagram post.
Addressing a pilot who had written “Vote No” in skywriting over Sydney during the survey on marriage equality in Australia, Flynn wrote, “Too many of my friends have been kicked out of their homes, kept in the closet, beat up, killed, ridiculed by church and state, institutionalized. And you are scared that if we vote YES, you won’t be able to show your hate for us. Fuck that.”
“We’ve fought, we’ve come out bravely even in our fear, and you wrote a message in the sky because you’re scared,” he added. “Equality takes courage, it worries me that too many people in this world lack the balls to stand up for what is right.”
Since then, the 23-year-old has been seen getting close with Grammy-winning singer Sam Smith.
Alia ShawkatLev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
The Arrested Development star came out casually in a May interview with Out magazine.
“I was a tomboy growing up, and I remember my mom asking me when I was 10, ’Are you attracted to boys or girls?’ I said I don’t know,” . Now I consider myself bisexual, and I think balancing my male and female energies has been a big part of me growing as an actor.”
She admits that she used to more reserved, “but as a woman, an Arab-American, and a member of the LGBTQ community, I have to use whatever voice I have. There’s no more delicacy in being quiet.”
Aaron CarterJB Lacroix/WireImage
In August, the former child star came out as bi in an emotional message on Twitter.
“I grew up in this entertainment industry at a very young age and when I was around 13-years-old I started to find boys and girls attractive,” he wrote. “There were years that went by that I thought about, but it wasn’t until I was 17-years-old, after a few relationships with girls, I had an experience with a male that I had an attraction to who I also worked with and grew up with.”
Carter insisted his sexuality wasn’t a source of shame for him, but the secret it was “a burden I have held onto for a long time that I would like lifted off me.”
The Heroes actor came out in July in an Instagram post where he declared, “I am indeed a man who proudly loves other men. In fact, this April, I married my husband and I could not be happier.”
But in the same post, Dekker blamed “a prominent gay man” for trying to out him.
“My sexual orientation once again came into question this week when a prominent gay man used an awards acceptance speech to ‘out’ me,” he wrote. “While he did not mention me by name, the explicit details of his reference made it easy for the public and media to connect the dots.”
It’s believed Dekker was referring to Heroes producer Bryan Fuller, who had recently discussed the difficulty he had in introducing a gay character on the show.
As recently as 2011, Dekker told Out, “I’ve only really had relationships with women.”
Dan AmboyerBenjo Arwas
The hunky Younger actor came out to People magazine in October, explaining it was his recent marriage to boyfriend Eric Beric that fueled his desire to be more open.
“I want to live my life moving forward with integrity and pride,” the 31-year-old said. “We might start a family one day and I would feel so strangely if I didn’t celebrate that with all of my family and friends and share that with the fans. This is just the beginning of a wonderful future.”
Amboyer admitted that he got a lot of advice from industry insiders to stay closeted. “That was hard to live with,” he said. “But I’ve never played a gay role before and I didn’t want to be limited by some strange perception.”
Anthony BowenFacebook/Anthony Bowens
Pro wrestler Anthony Bowens came out as bisexual in March, crediting a YouTube video for giving him the courage to be his authentic self.
Several months into dating boyfriend Michael Pavano, the two participated in YouTube’s “laughing challenge,” in participants take a big swig of water before watching funny clips and trying not to do a spit-take. At the beginning of the video, Pavano casually introduced Bowens as “my boyfriend.”
“The video was a blast to do, but I worried that someone from the wrestling world would stumble across it and learn my secret,” Bowens said. “I decided to let it be posted anyway. I couldn’t help but cry as I let loose all of the years of stress, anxiety and fear of judgment. It was the best decision I had ever made.”
Several months later, in an interview on Party Foul Radio with Pollo & Pearl, he admitted he was fed up with bi stigma.
“I thought there would be more negativity around the stigma of [a pro wrestler] being part of the LGBT community,” Bowens revealed, but most of the negative comments were from people assuming he was too scared to admit he was gay. “You can date a dude or marry a dude and be with him the rest of your life, and that doesn’t change the attraction,” he said. “The LGBTQ community comes in all shapes and sizes.”
Jordan GavarisSteve Zak Photography/FilmMagic via Getty Images
Gavaris plays gay BFF Felix on Orphan Black, but it wasn’t until June that the 27-year-old came out as gay in real life. “Nobody ever asks me,” he revealed. “I’ve never been asked. Like, the whole course of the series.”
“This is a tricky thing to say and I’ve never actually said it out loud before,” he added. “But I do believe that jobs will be lost and I do believe jobs will be gained. Maybe not even for the right reasons.”
Gavin RussomMark Horton/Getty Images
LCD Soundsystem’s resident electronics whiz came out as trans in July, explaining that over the past year-and-a-half, “I went from my trans identity being something I was in touch with and worked through in one way or another, to suddenly this shift where it’s on the front burner.
She added, “Now it’s time to become a whole person.”
Greydon ChanceGabriel Olsen/FilmMagic
Now 19, Chance became a viral sensation with his performance of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at a school talent show when he was just 12.
In an Instagram from July, the singer said he had come to terms with being gay when he was 16 but “decided not to publicize my sexuality largely due to a matter of privacy, as I was still trying to find comfort and confidence within my own skin.”
While he maintained he was less interested in talking about “what type of guy I was into” than talking about politics, music or art, he “figured now was the time to let a few more friends know that I am happy, I am here for you, and I am proud of who I am.”
After his Internet fame, Chance signed to Ellen DeGeneres’ ElevenEleven label and released a debut EP, Somewhere Over My Head, in May 2016.
Brian Michael SmithBen Esner
Smith, who played cis male roles on shows like Blue Bloods, Girls, Person of Interest, and Gossip Girl, came out as transgender when he appeared on an episode of OWN’s Queen Sugar in July, playing police officer Toine Wilkins, a trans man.
“When I saw the breakdown for Toine, I felt this was the role I was looking for,” said Smith, 34. “It was a dream come true in so many ways.”
Sue BirdSean M. Haffey/Getty Images
This veteran NBA player didn’t just come out in a July ESPN profile, she revealed she was dating soccer star Megan Rapinoe.
“I’m gay. Megan’s my girlfriend,” said the Seattle Storm point guard matter-of-factly. “These aren’t secrets to people who know me. I don’t feel like I’ve not lived my life. I think people have this assumption that if you’re not talking about it, you must be hiding it, like it’s this secret. That was never the case for me.”
The longtime Fox News anchor came out in a subtle way just days after National Coming Out Day 2016.
As the Roger Ailes scandal swirled, Smith denied that the embattled network head forced him to stay in the close. ’That’s not true. He was as nice as he could be to me. I loved him like a father,’ said the 52-year-old newscaster.
Back in 2014, Gawker reported Shepard wanted to come out publicly but Ailes stopped him. Smith denied the claim, as well as reports that Ailes made homophobic remarks in his presence.
“He treated me with respect, just respect. He gave me every opportunity in the world and he never asked anything of me but that we try to get it right every day.”
Jake ZyrusMike Coppola/Getty Images
Before coming out as trans on Twitter, Jake was best known as Sunshise Corazon, Rachel Berry’s golden-voiced nemesis on Glee.
“My first tweet as Jake,” he tweeted on June 19. “Overwhelmed. Saw all your love comments and I’m so happy. Finally. I love you, everyone, and see you soon.”
A powerhouse vocalist from the Philippines, Zyrus rose to Youtube stardom in 2007. Three years later he became the first Asian solo singer to hit Billboard 200’s Top 10, with the album Charice.
Zyrus first acknowledged his gender identity in a 2014 interview with Oprah, in which he said his “soul was male,” though at the time he still identified as a lesbian.
Natalie MoralesTara Ziemba/Getty Images
Morales, best known for playing Tom Haverford’s girlfriend Lucy on Parks and Recreation, came out as queer in July.
In an essay on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls website, the 32-year-old explained she has dated both women and men.
“I don’t like labeling myself, or anyone else,” she wrote. “But if it’s easier for you to understand me, what I’m saying is that I’m queer. What queer means to me is just simply that I’m not straight. That’s all. It’s not scary, even though that word used to be really, really scary to me.”
Keiynan LonsdaleSteve Granitz/WireImage
Lonsdale, who plays Kid Flash on the CW’s The Flash, came out as bisexual in a heartfelt Instagram post back in May.
“I like to change my hair, I like to take risks with how I dress, I like girls, & I like guys (yes),” wrote the 25-year-old Australian actor—who’s also appeared in ABC’s Dance Academy, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, and The Finest Hours. “I like growing, I like learning, I like who I am and I really like who I’m becoming.”
“I’m tire of being insecure, ashamed and scared,” he added. “No one should feel like that about themselves, especially when there is so much good life to live.”
On Twitter, Lonsdale thanked his fans for their support. “Nothing better than happy tears,” he tweeted. “The love is beyond measurable, thank you. Don’t forget to give that same love back to yourselves.”
Barry ManilowAstrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
Manilow addressed his long-rumored sexuality in April, three years after quietly marrying longtime partner and manager Garry Kief.
“I thought I would be disappointing [the fans] if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything,” the 73-year-old singer told People. “When they found out that Garry and I were together, they were so happy. The reaction was so beautiful. Strangers commenting, ’Great for you!’ I’m just so grateful for it.”Steve Granitz/Getty Images
The couple first met in 1978, an encounter the “Copacabana” singer said changed his life forever. “I knew that this was it,” he said. “I was one of the lucky ones. I was pretty lonely before that.”
The couple finally tied the knot after nearly 35 years in a private ceremony in April 2014 at the singer’s Palm Springs estate.
This rising hip-hop star came out as gay in January in a series of tweets.
The “Club Goin Up On A Tuesday” singer seemed to be addressing a personal situation, writing, “Someone said to me next time they see me, they was gonna fuck me, I said next time I see me, I’m gonna love me up.”
“I can’t tell u about everybody else’s closet, I can only tell u about mine, and it’s time I’ve come out,” he added in followup tweets. “Since y’all love breaking news, here’s some old news to break: I’m gay. And now I’ve told u about my life, maybe u can go life yours”
The Atlanta rapper finished his coming-out social media blitz with an Instagram reading “Thank you for letting me be myself.”
The brother of Chance the Rapper, Bennett came out as bisexual in January just days before iLoveMakonnen.
“My birthday is tomorrow and moving into next year I’d like to be more open about myself to help others that struggle with the same issues,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Growing up I’ve always felt indifferent about my sexuality and being attracted to one sex. And today I would like to openly come out to my fans. I do recognize myself as a bisexual male and I do and have always openly supported the gay community and will keep doing so in 2017.”
Steve LacyFrédéric Ragot/Redferns
The 19-year-old member of the Internet has produced tracks for Kendrick Lamar and Vampire Weekend, and launched his debut solo record, Steve Lacy’s Demo this year.
Lacy opened up about his sexuality this summer in a series of Tumblr posts: Asked if he was straight or bisexual, he replied “I’m human.” In a followup asking if he’d date a guy, Lacy replied “Sure, why not.” But he sparked controversy when he revealed that he has no interest in black men as romantic partners.
“The reason for it all isn’t anti-black at all,” he replied. “Growing up around black males, they were always my competitors ya know? I never viewed or saw myself doing anything sexual with my neighbors. I literally, like I said, see them as brothers.”
Lacy clarified that he didn’t “dislike” black people, “I’m just not attracted to black boys, that is it.”
On Twitter, he suggested, “let’s delete the whole closet concept and just let kids be themselves without having to announce what/who they’re into sexually.”
Tyler, the CreatorScott Dudelson/WireImage
Though he’s been accused of homophobia throughout his career—2011’s Goblin had 213 instances of the word “fag” and other anti-gay slurs—Tyler has also dabbled with gay innuendo.
His album Flower Boy leaked two weeks before its official July 21 release, and the song “I Ain’t Got Time!” includes the lines, “Next line will have ’em like ‘Whoa’/I been kissing white boys since 2004.”
Just a few weeks later he told Koopz Tunes, “I had a boyfriend when I was 15 in fucking Hawthorne. If that’s not open-minded, I don’t know what the fuck that is.”
Tyler has insisted that his gay fans don’t take offense at his language, and he even put out a line of Pride T-shirts in 2015 as part of his crew Odd Future’s merchandise. When Frank Ocean came out publicly, Tyler was among the first to congratulate him.
“My big brother finally fucking did that,” he tweeted. “Proud of that n*gga cause I know that shit is difficult.”
Gordon ThomsonPaul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Though best known for the 1980s nighttime soap Dynasty, Thomson didn’t come out until September, opening up about his struggle with his sexuality to the Daily Beast.
“It was not until I was nearly 30 that [homosexuality] stopped being classified as a mental illness in the U.S. So you’re dealing with that. And the shame, the breathtaking lack of self-esteem, has only just begun to seep out of my soul.”
Haaz SleimanPaul Zimmerman/WireImage
In August Sleiman (Nurse Jackie, The Ski Trip) came out rather bluntly on social media.
“I am a gay, Muslim, Arab-American man,” he said in a video. “And I’m going to take it even further: Not only am I gay, but I’m also a bottom. Not only am I a bottom, but I’m also a total bottom—which means I like it up you-know-where.”
“And I say this to all the homophobes living in the United States of America and across the globe,” Sleiman, 41, continued. “If you ever come to me, to kill me just because I’m gay, I will destroy you. I might be gay and I might be a nice guy, but don’t get it twisted because I will fuck you up.”
Gia GunnGabriel Olsen/FilmMagic
The former Drag Race contestant came out as trans in March on International Transgender Day of Visibility.
“I thought I would dedicate today in the spirit of being visible to share my transition with all of you,” Gunn revealed in an Instagram video. “I have been on hormone replacement therapy for about a year and I identify as female and I am indeed transgender.”
Gunn joins fellow transgender Drag Race contestants Sonique, Carmen Carrera, Jiggly Caliente and Peppermint.
Cody AlanRick Diamond/Getty Images for Pepsi's Rock The South
The CMT host came out as gay in January, telling People, “once I realized it was okay to accept the truth, that it wasn’t my choice, it was a lot easier to start figuring out where to go with my life next.”
The 44-year-old South Carolinian hosts a variety of CMT radio shows, including CMT After MidNite and CMT All Access, as well as CMT’s signature music show, Hot 20 Countdown. Alan was previously married to a woman and has teenage children.
“It’s awesome now because I have a partner, my ex has a boyfriend,” he explained. “And with our kids, we have this really beautiful, blended, loving, modern family that works for us.”