LGBT people often worry about the ramifications of coming out to their families, friendships, work-places, and in their relationships. However, when you live your life in the spotlight the consequences of coming out can be harder. While coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) in the entertainment world, sports or politics has become increasingly less taboo, these experiences are still extremely personal and not met without backlash.
This year we have seen a number of women celebrities step forward, and tell the world they are queer. So here is a list of prominent individuals who came out publicly this year.
Ellen Page, Actress
Actress Ellen Page, best known for her role as a pregnant teen in Juno, came out as a lesbian during a speech at Human Rights Campaign ‘Time to Thrive’ youth conference in February 2014.
“I am here today because I am gay… and because maybe I can make a difference to help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless for me I feel a personal obligation and a personal responsibility. I also do it selfishly because I’m tired of hiding and I’m tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered, and my relationship suffered. And I’m standing here today with all of you on the other side of that pain.
I am young yes. But what I have learned is that love — the beauty of it, the joy of it and yes even the pain of it — is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being. And we deserve to experience love, fully, equally, without shame and without compromise. There are too many kids out there suffering from bullying, rejection or simply being mistreated for who they are. Too many dropouts. Too much abuse. Too many homeless. Too many suicides. You can change that and you are changing it. But you never needed me to tell you that.”
Zoie Palmer, Actress
Canadian actress Zoie Palmer revealed for the first time publicly that she is gay at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards in March when she thanked her partner Alex Lalonde as she accepted her “Fan Choice Award for Favourite Canadian Screen Star”.
Palmer plays Dr. Lauren Lewis in the Showcase Canadian TV supernatural drama Lost Girl.
Patricia Yurena, Miss Spain
Reigning Miss Spain Patricia Yurena came out of the closet via an intimate photo of her and her girlfriend Vanesa Cortes which she posted to Instagram. She is now the first openly gay national pageant queen in the world.
“I published the picture completely spontaneously and in an impulsive manner. Thank you for all your support.”
Angel Haze and Ireland Baldwin
Ireland and Angel first sparked romance rumours when they posted pictures on Instagram. The rapper then confirmed their relationship in June, but admitted some people were still struggling to accept them as a couple.
“There are still certain limitations for women. If we were two guys, it’d be insane, negatively insane with the attention. With us it’s all being very positive, the media are like, ‘Oh they’re so cute, they’re best friends.’
An interracial gay couple, I mean that’s just weird for America right now. We f**k and friends don’t f**k. I have never f**ked one of my friends. Once I see you in that way, it doesn’t happen. But we do f**k and it’s crazy and that’s weird to say because I think about it in terms of an audience reading it and them thinking, ‘What the hell?’ But it happens.”
Emily Rios, Actress
Actress Emily Rios (The Bridge, Friday Night Lights, Men of a Certain Age and Breaking Bad) has came out as gay in 2014.
“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. Mexican-Americans especially — because this generation, we come into America and your family wants to be proud.
Maria Walsh, the Rose of Tralee
The Rose of Tralee is an international competition started in 1959 and open to women of Irish descent from all over the world. It’s held in Kerry County, Ireland and each year a woman who best matches the attributes “lovely and fair” as described in the nineteenth century ballad. This year, the winner was Philadelphia Rose Maria Walsh, and she’s gay, a fact she revealed shortly after winning in August.
“I’m confident in who I am as a person. The Rose of Tralee is about celebrating women’s intelligence, careers, their volunteer work. The question of sexuality never came up. To me, being gay is normal. It’s natural.”
Casey Stoney, Professional Football and England Captain
It was footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger and Tom Daley who inspired Casey Stoney, a defensive player for both the England women’s football and Arsenal Ladies teams, to say she is gay after years of speculation by fans.
“I’ve never hidden it within football circles because it is accepted. But to the outside world, I’ve never spoken about my sexuality I feel it’s really important for me to speak out as a gay player because there are so many young people struggling with being gay.
You hear about people taking their own lives because they’re homosexual, now that should never happen. They should never feel those pressures. How can I expect other people to come out and speak about themselves if I’m not willing to do that myself?”
Djuan Trent, Former Miss Kentucky
Djuan Trent, Miss Kentucky 2010, came out of the closet in March shortly after a federal judge ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
“For months, I have been contemplating how I would write this post, how I would position it, when would be the right time to post it. Should I make it funny? Should I make it mysterious? Should I make it serious? Should I pick a special date to do it? Should I build some kind of anticipation around it? Hmmm…ain’t nobody got time for that. I have written and re-written and deleted and restarted this post more times than I care to share, and after all of that I have finally realized: “There ain’t nothin’ to it, but to do it.” So, here we go folks… I am queer.”
Monica Raymund, who plays paramedic/firefighter-in-training ‘Gabriela Dawson’ on Chicago Fire, came out publicly as bisexual via a tweet in January in support of efforts to protest Russia’s anti-gay laws during the Olympic Games.
When Vicky Beeching was diagnosed by with an auto-immune disease triggered by the years of stress, caused by being in the closet, she decided to reject the years of desolation the church, and decided to live her own truth. Beeching, the UK star of the American Christian rock scene, whose music is sung at mega-churches across the heartland, had had enough. In August she choose to come out.
“I increasingly began to feel like I was living behind an invisible wall. The inner secrecy of holding that inside was divorcing me from reality – I was living in my own head. Anybody I was in a friendship with, or anything I was doing in the church, was accompanied by an internal mantra: ‘What if they knew?’ It felt like all of my relationships were built on this ice that would break if I stepped out on to it.
When I [told a priest] that I had feelings for the same sex he prayed the prayer of absolution, for me to be forgiven. And that was it….I felt there was something really wrong with me, that maybe I was so sinful and awful I couldn’t be healed.
I felt like it was ripping me in half. I knew I couldn’t carry on. I was trying to align the loving God I knew and believed in with this horrendous reality of what was going on inside me….I remember kneeling down and absolutely sobbing into the carpet. I said to God, ‘You have to either take my life or take this attraction away because I cannot do both.'”
Lauren Morelli and Samira Wiley, Orange is the New Black’s Lead Writer and Actress
In one of the best revelations of the year, was ‘Orange is the New Black’ lead writer Lauren Morelli, who back in May wrote an article for Policy Mic describing how working on the Netflix series helped her come to terms with her sexual orientation.
In September, Morelli appeared hand-in-hand at the Emmy Awards with Samira Wiley, who plays Poussey Washington on the show.
“I went through it all on set: I fell in love with a woman, and I watched my life play out on screen….And now, as we are gearing up for the release of season 2, it feels liberating and appropriate to live my life in front of you.”