National Coming Out Day was created in 1988 to commemorate the 1987 March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, which reportedly drew over 200,000 protesters to the nation’s capital that Oct. 11.
Over three decades later, the day has turned into an annual celebration to acknowledge LGBTQ people and to raise awareness for their ongoing fight for equality.
To honor National Coming Out Day 2021, here are 21 notable coming-out stories so far this year.
Jojo Siwa, the 18-year-old reality star turned singer, actor and YouTube sensation, broke the internet in January when she came out as a member of LGBTQ community in a series of posts on social media.
Fans first started to speculate about Siwa’s identity when she posted a video on TikTok dancing to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” largely considered a gay anthem. Several days later, Siwa then confirmed that she was LGBTQ when she posted a picture of herself wearing a shirt that said “Best. Gay. Cousin. It was a gift from her cousin.
In a September interview with TODAY.com, Siwa said she’s still figuring out how she identifies.
” I’m currently dating a girl, which can make me a leo. I have never been in love or attracted to anyone, except Kylie. So it could be bisexual. She said that she didn’t mind who I would be with, whether it was a girl or a boy. “But then I also think, so that could be pansexual. Although the l-word is not my favourite word, I do like the q-word. Queer is my favorite word. I’m who I am. But I’m not like ‘Oh my god. No, I’m not this’, you know what I mean?”
The former “Dance Moms” star is currently a history-making contestant on “Dancing With the Stars,” as the first contestant in 30 seasons to dance with a person of the same sex.
Actor and singer Demi Lovato came out as nonbinary in May and said they would be changing their pronouns to they/them.
“Not only has my life been a journey for myself, I was also living for those on the other side of the cameras,” Lovato, who got their start on “Barney & Friends” and has had roles on shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Prison Break,” wrote on Twitter.
“Today is a day I’m so happy to share more of my life with you all — I am proud to let you know that I identify as nonbinary & will officially be changing my pronouns to they/them moving forward,” Lovato, 28, told fans. Lovato stated that this best reflects the fluidity in my gender expression. It allows me to feel authentic and true to who I am.
In a February interview with Time magazine, Brothers Osborne singer-guitarist TJ Osborne came out as gay, becoming the first openly gay man signed to a major country music label and one of the first mainstream country artists to come out at the prime of their career.
“I’m very comfortable being gay,” Osborne told Time. “I feel guarded because I don’t want to talk about something with which I have no problem. That feels so strange.”
While fans were largely supportive, a measure in Tennessee to honor Osborne was blocked by the state’s House of Representatives. Although the state’s House Republicans claimed a procedural objection, many believe that the House Republicans were more likely to block the honor due to its history of supporting antiLGBTQ legislation.
Former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Gabbi Tuft announced on social media in February that she is transgender. In a photo posted on Instagram, Tuft posed next to an image of herself prior to her transition.
“This was me,” she wrote in her caption. “Unashamed, unabashedly me. This is the side of me that has hidden in the shadows, afraid and fearful of what the world would think; afraid of what my family, friends, and followers would say or do.”
Tuft wrestled professionally from 2007 to 2014 and appeared in WWE shows “Superstars,” “Raw,” “SmackDown” and “WrestleMania.” Since then, she began a career as a fitness coach and has gotten to spend more time with her wife and daughter, according to a press release announcing Tuft’s coming out.
“I never expected to have an ear-to-ear smile for the last 24 hours, but I can’t get the smile off my face,” she told NBC News shortly after coming out. “It’s from the heart, and it’s from the soul, and I never expected to feel this elated.”
R&B singer-songwriter Kehlani revealed that she identifies as a lesbian in April after formerly coming out as queer in 2018.
“I am gay, gay, gay. … I finally know I’m a lesbian,” she said in the now-deleted video, captured by Pop Crave.
Actor Ronen Rubenstein, who plays gay character T.K. Strand on Fox’s “9-1-1: Lone Star,” told Variety in April that he identifies as bisexual.
The 27-year-old actor, who was born in Israel and raised on New York’s Staten Island, told Variety that he struggled to reveal his sexuality because LGBTQ people were “not welcomed” where he came from. You would either be subject to a lot of profanity, such as the F-word being used all the time, or you’d get your a– kicked for being gay. There was definitely a fear that I would embrace how I felt. It was more evident in high school. I was aware of my feelings and how I started looking at men, but I couldn’t talk to anybody about it.”
Former “Bachelor” star and NFL player Colton Underwood shocked fans when he revealed that he is gay in a taped interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in April. I have been running from myself for a while, and I hate myself for a while. And I’m gay, and I came to terms with that earlier this year, and I’ve been processing it and the next step in all of this was sort of letting people know,” Underwood, 29, told anchor Robin Roberts. Underwood said that although he was aware of his homosexuality in high school, his Catholic upbringing and love for sports led him to suppress it.
Shortly after coming out, Underwood was reported to be filming a Netflix documentary on his coming out experience, which the media behemoth has not publicly commented on.
YouTube star Gigi Gorgeous came out as pansexual in April in a video posted to her YouTube account titled “coming out for the last time … ” In her video, the blonde bombshell opened up about coming out for the fourth time. I came out as gay before my transition. She said that she came out as transgender, and then came out again as gay. “Those are some of my favorite memories, if they weren’t the best. She described pansexualism as “falling in Love with the Soul of Someone” by
Gigi. I think that this is one of the most beautiful and profound things that has ever happened. It’s amazing and profound to me. When I finally clicked with it and felt it … it was definitely a lightbulb moment.”
WWE’s “Friday Night SmackDown” correspondent and interviewer Kayla Braxton came out as bisexual on her now-deleted Twitter account.
” I have had to make a choice all my life. Are you black? Are you black? What bubble did you fill in on your SATs? Braxton wrote that I always filled out ‘other’ as nothing applied to my situation. “Tonight, tonight, I chose to stop having to choose. Hallo, world! Hello, I’m Kayla. Oh. And yeah — I’m Bi.”
“American Idol” runner-up David Archuleta revealed in June that he is part of the LGBTQ community.
“I like to keep to myself but also thought this was important to share because I know so many other people from religious upbringings feel the same way,” Archuleta, 30, said in an Instagram post. “I’ve been open to myself and my close family for some years now that I am not sure about my own sexuality.”
Archuleta, who finished second in the seventh season of “American Idol,” said at the time that he originally came out to his family as gay in 2014, but that he is not sure how he identifies today.
In an August interview with TODAY.com, Archuleta said that a conversation he had with God pushed him to come out publicly. After I said that prayer, God simply said to me, “David, I trust you.” It was clear to me what I had to say. But I was unsure what to say. I prefer to keep it to myself, especially when dealing with this type of stuff. But I just knew I had to.”
Michaela Kennedy Cuomo
Michaela Kennedy Cuomo, the youngest daughter of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Kerry Kennedy, came out as queer during Pride Month.
“To those who are contending with the compulsive heterosexuality our society force feeds us and innate attraction beyond cis het folks, please know that you are not alone,” Kennedy Cuomo, 24, wrote on Instagram, accompanied with two photos.
“To those who have yet to claim their sexual identity due to fear of physical, psychological, or financial safety, please know that you are unconditionally worthy of love and support.”
In June, the former three-term governor, who resigned in August after a slew of sexual harassment allegations, told NBC News via email, “I love, support and couldn’t have more pride in Michaela.”
Las Vegas Raiders’ defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay in June making him the first active NFL player to come out publicly.
“I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” Nassib, 28, said in a video he posted on Instagram. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.”
He added, “I hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary.”
In his first official interview since coming out, Nassib revealed last month that he wanted to establish himself in the league prior to coming out and that the decision wasn’t rooted in a desire to make history in the league. He said that he didn’t do it to break down barriers. “I did it because I felt an obligation to the LGBTQ community to bring representation and bring visibility to a very, very popular entertainment business, to a very very popular industry that doesn’t have a lot of representation.”
Queen of Halloween, Elvira, also known as actor Cassandra Peterson, revealed in her September memoir that she’s been in a nearly two-decade relationship with a woman. In a September interview, Peterson said that she was concerned about her LGBTQ fans being disappointed by her coming out.
“I was worried that people would think she’s a hypocrite.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” breakout star Laganja Estranja came out as a transgender woman in June, during an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“There are so many other women around me who’ve inspired me to come forward today, and it’s because of their fight and their struggle that I’m able to really do this and say that I’m nervous, but I’m not scared,” the 32-year-old told EW. “I’m not going to live my life in fear anymore.”
Lio Tipton, best known for 2011’s “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and for competing in “America’s Next Top Model,” came out as queer and nonbinary in June.
“I am proud to announce I am queer and I identify as non binary,” Tipton shared with their over 140,000 followers on Instagram. “I hope to give as much love and support back to those who continue to show love and support for the Pride community at large.”
Canadian figure skater Kaitlyn Weaver announced in a June post on Instagram that she is queer.
“I’m shaking writing this message, but knowing that I’m moving in a loving, authentic, and compassionate way feels right,” the 32-year-old said. You all know me. I follow my heart and it always leads me to where I want. I’m ready to move forward living, loving, and being honest with all of my identity.”
Several days later, Weaver explained in an interview with media outlet them.us that her stepmother’s passing in 2020 had a strong influence on her decision to come out. “It was unexpected and it reminded us that the world is moving rapidly and changing, but I’m still afraid of what people will say or how that might change my trajectory or what people might think about me,” Weaver stated. “I’ve dreamed about telling her, but unfortunately, she passed away, and I knew something had to change.”
Tommy Dorfman, who stars in the show “13 Reasons Why,” came out as transgender in an interview with Time in July. Dorfman, 29, told the magazine that she sees the concept of “coming out” as funny, because “I haven’t gone anywhere.”
“I view today as a reintroduction to me as a woman, having made a transition medically. Although coming out is often viewed as a grand reveal, I was never out. Today is all about clarity. I am transgender,” she said.
Dorfman plays the role of Ryan Shaver on the Netflix series. She told the magazine she is excited to play female roles in the future.
Nashville Predators’ Luke Prokop announced he is gay in July, making him the first openly gay active NHL player when the season began this month.
“It has been quite the journey to get to this point in my life, but I cannot be happier with my decision to come out,” Prokop, a 19-year-old Canadian, said in a post on Twitter at the time.
“From a young age I have dreamed of being an NHL player, and I believe that living my authentic life will allow me to bring my whole self to the rink and improve my chances of fulfilling my dreams.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman thanked Prokop at the time “for sharing his truth and for being so brave.”
“I share his hope that these announcements can become more common in the hockey community,” Bettman said. We don’t take the significance and importance of this announcement lightly.”
Emmy-winning actor Emma Corrin, best known for her role as Princess Diana in Netflix’s “The Crown,” came out as queer in April. In a post on Instagram, Corrin captioned an image of her wearing a Miu Miu wedding gown: “ur fave queer bride.”
Corrin said in an August interview with ITV’s Granada Reports that she’s “still not sure” how she identifies. “There is no fixed identity, especially among queer people,” she stated. “It’s going to be an ongoing journey, but yeah, I hope that sharing (my truth) helps people.”
Cunningham, best known for her viral “Leave Britney Alone!” video, in which she tearfully defended pop singer Britney Spears in 2007, came out as transgender in August. Tomorrow I have my appointment for hormone replacement therapy. It’s been 33 years coming and I’m happy to be in a place where I can embrace who I am,” Cunningham said on Instagram. “I have put my identity and personal happiness aside for so long, out of fear of rejection or me not wanting to embarrass my family.”
Professional wrestler Chris Lewis, better known by his wrestling stage name, Mr. Grim, told fans on Twitter in January that he is pansexual. Grim wrote that he had struggled for years with his identity and was worried about what others might think. “I’ve finally gained the courage to openly express that I’m pansexual.”