In terms of representation, queer women have had a fantastic year. From the many queer female characters in our movie theatres (e.g Life Partners) and in our TV shows (e.g Orange is the New Black) to the monumental human rights decisions that have taken place this year (e.g the many US states that now have same-sex marriage), things are on the up.
We’ve also seen many queer women come out – or, if they were already out, they’ve been kicking ass and taking names all year round. And so, to celebrate these out and proud ladies, we’ve put together this list!
1. Ellen Page
Possibly the biggest coming out story of the year was when Oscar nominated actress Ellen Page came out.
After years of rumours and speculation the tiny Canadian actress put them all to bed, telling the crowd at the HRCF Time to Thrive Conference she was ‘tired of lying’ about who she is. The moving speech brought many to tears and plenty of credited it with being the reason that they themselves have come out.
And, as if her amazing speech wasn’t enough, Page also spent the year being wonderful on Twitter, most preciously by renaming people’s pets!
2. Brittney Griner
A trailblazer by many accounts, Brittney Griner made headlines last year when she came out ahead of the 2013 WNBA draft (where she was the number 1 pick). Then, with the Phoenix Mercury she broke the WNBA dunk record in her very first game. With her phenomenal talent she also won over fans when she helped take the Phoenix Mercury to a championship title in September.
As for other records she became the first out athlete to get a Nike campaign, showing that no, being gay does not harm your marketing potential.
Furthermore, Griner also got engaged to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson in August, which may not have set any records but it was certainly adorable.
3. Mary Lambert
While you know her best for doing the backing vocals of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ track ‘Same Love’, Mary Lambert is also a massively outspoken gay rights activist.
An out and proud lesbian herself, Lambert very often talks about religion and how it relates to sexuality as well as body image and how to appreciate yourself. Earlier this year she also launched the Body Love campaign to encourage people to love themselves.
4. Emily Rios
Emily Rios’ name will be familiar to those who watch cult TV classics Friday Night Lights and Breaking Bad but more recently you may have seen her play a young gay reporter in The Bridge.
While the show was sadly cancelled back in October after two seasons, Rios’ character in The Bridge was significant because we got to see a queer Mexican woman on our TV screens, which doesn’t happen very often. Rios also explained that “I’m gay, personally, so being Mexican and a lesbian — this is why I love the character because I deal with the same type of things with my own family.”
5. Angel Haze
Whilst straight rapper Macklemore may have picked up plenty of awards for Same Love, its this cover by out pansexual rapper Angel Haze that feels like a more honest rendition.
This year, Haze has made headlines not just with her discography of fantastic, hard hitting lyrics but due to her love life too. Earlier this year Haze confirmed that she’s dating model Ireland Baldwin and the couple both flirt on Twitter and hilariously take down those who dismiss their relationship as ‘gal pals’.
6. Djuan Trent
When we think of the beauty pageant scene, few people would ever refer to it as a ‘progressive industry’ yet surprisingly, at least one former contestant is outspoken about equality.
Djuan Trent, Miss Kentucky 2010, came out as ‘queer’ earlier this year explaining that she needed to hit back against those who thought that she agreed with their anti-equality views.
Trent says that she chose ‘queer ‘ because it’s a more inclusive term and that she hopes to open up the conversation about sexuality being fluid and she also wants to foster more visibility and representation of young women of colour.
7. Samira Wiley
Samira Wiley is familiar to us as the funny and emotional inmate Poussey Washington in Orange is the New Black. Her amazing performances this season as Poussey dealt with her feelings for her best friend Taystee and as we saw flashbacks to Poussey’s difficult life as the child of an overseas soldier garnered praise and interest, but plenty were talking about Wiley this year for an altogether different reason.
It became public in September that Orange is the New Black writer Lauren Morelli would be divorcing her husband, after striking up a romance with Wiley. The pair had been acting cute together on Instagram for the past year (they were also seen looking close at the Emmys) and the fact that the couple was now out was just the previous icing on the cake.
Wiley also took to New York City’s Pride Parade with the rest of the OITNB cast, making her a bit of an advocate too.
8. Joanna Lohman
Also garnering headline for dating a colleague is Joanna Lohman. A professional football (soccer) player for the Boston Breakers, she became engaged to fellow Breakers player Lianne Sanderson earlier this year.
Whilst players dating each other is not a total rarity in the world of women’s football (current USWNT player Abby Wambach is married to now retired player Sarah Huffman) they are the first to date a teammate.
In an interview earlier this year Lohman told a reporter that “When someone comes up to you and says, ‘Thank you for being who you are,’ it has much more of a profound impact than, ‘Good game.’”
9. Vicky Beeching
Like the aforementioned beauty pageant scene, the world of Contemporary Christian Music is also an unlikely source of progressive opinion yet that’s exactly what gay Christian singer Vicky Beeching delivered when she came out earlier this year.
Beeching told The Independent: “What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love. I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people.” helping to foster a more accepting viewpoint in the religion.
10. Anna Paquin
Finally, we have bisexual actress Anna Paquin.
Paquin came out as bisexual several years ago, following her marriage to her True Blood co-star Stephen Moyer. But does the fact that she’s married to a man make her bisexual identity any less legitimate? Of course not. however, she was forced to explain this to TV host Larry King earlier this year when he was baffled by the concept of bisexuality. Her explanation is an absolute must-see.
Who is your choice for out woman of the year? Leave a comment and let us know!