It can be hard these days to feel any kind of hope about the future. We open any news website and are faced with the horrible policies enacted by a half-wit President, rampant terror attacks, and widespread civil unrest. It’s time to try and focus on the positive, and recently the silver lining has been the sheer magnitude of people who’ve stood up and protested the horrifying way that their fellow citizens have been treated, regardless of their religion, race, gender, or orientation.
Here are the stories of a few brave men and women who have stood up and refused to be bullied for who they are. Their coming out stories are inspiring to those of us who feel that we still can’t live completely truthful. From actors and anchors to comedians, and musicians, these amazing queer people have fought adversity in the public eye, and we celebrate along side them.
Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen is undoubtedly the oldest person on this list. Born in a time when being gay was not only frowned upon — it was still illegal. He came to realize that he was gay when he was in his teens and had relationships with other men in college, even as he kept his homosexuality a secret from everyone except his most intimate friends.
Sir Ian McKellen remained in the closet while he was starting out his career in theater since he was too afraid that coming out would change his prospects for roles. He finally decided to come out in 1988, in order to protest Prime Minister Thatcher’s proposed law which would make it illegal to “promote homosexuality.”