Out and Proud: Famous Queer People and Their Stories
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.”
Ellen DeGeneres is one of the most beloved television hosts in Hollywood, and actually first came out to another beloved TV host, Oprah Winfrey. DeGeneres had been appearing on a TV sitcom based on her own life and had filmed an episode in which her character came out to a therapist played by Winfrey. It was then that DeGeneres herself decided to come out for real on Oprah’s talk show right before the episode aired.
She said it took going on a meditation retreat and facing her own insecurities before she could muster the courage to come out on live TV. Now she lives happily with her wife, Portia De Rossi.
It was only a few years ago that music mogul Clive Davis revealed that he is bisexual. The 80-year-old producer finally admitted to the public via his memoirs that he has been in relationships with both men and women in the past — something he says that his family and close friends knew about. Davis still maintains his privacy by refusing to reveal the name of his current partner, but he has spoken at length about the misunderstandings he feels that bisexual people face in the world today.