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12 People We Are Grateful Came Out in 2012

12 People We Are Grateful Came Out in 2012

The past year has been a bumper one for high profiled and influential people coming out publicly.

Below are 12 people to whom we are grateful to for coming out in 2012 because it is through their public affirmation of their identity that they can inspire others who may need the courage to also come out.

annainaustin/flickr

1) Lana Wachowski — Matrix and Cloud Atlas director Lana Wachowski, one of the famous Wachowski siblings, shared with the world this year that she was living gender aligned as a woman, publicly affirming her trans identity and delivering a moving and unmissable speech at a Human Rights Campaign event where she said that she came out in order to give trans kids a reason to think they too can live their lives openly and with the support of their friends and family.

Local to Global Justice/flickr

2) Kyrsten Sinema — A former Arizona state senator, Sinema became the first openly bisexual lawmaker to be elected to Congress this year, making no secret of her sexuality or her strong secular views during her campaign.

efcso/flickr

3) Megan Rapinoe — US soccer player and Olympic squad member Megan Rapinoe revealed that she is a lesbian in an interview with Out Magazine just before the London Olympics. In so doing she became one of only a handful of out players throughout the world. Rapinoe’s team went on to win gold.

activioslo/flickr

4) Frank Ocean — Musician and producer Frank Ocean came out as a bisexual this year in an open letter published on his blog, a move that was hailed as a game-changer in hip-hop circles where a notorious anti-gay sentiment has, until now, been the dominant trend. Ocean received a great deal of support from his peers and from his fans.

starbright31/flickr

5) Matt Bomer — Star of White Collar and Magic Mike acknowledged in February that he was gay when he thanked his partner and talked about their children in an awards speech. Since then Bomer, whose sexuality had been an open secret for years, has talked about how at high school he was forced to “cover his tracks” in order to feel safe.

Verity/Wikimedia Commons

6) Denise Ho — Global star Denise Ho became the first female pop singer in Hong Kong to openly affirm she is a lesbian when she declared in November, “For many years, when I faced questions from the media, I always felt that sexual orientation is a personal matter, that there is no need to label yourself or tell the public. But in 2012 when one would expect more acceptance and progress (in terms of gay equality), I find that there is still discrimination and prejudice. I feel that silence is no longer an option.”

minds-eye/Wikimedia Commons

7) Anderson Cooper — Everyone’s favorite CNN show host confirmed in a July email to Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Beast what many already knew, saying,  ”The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.” Cooper’s coming out was hailed by GLAAD and other LGBT interest groups.

Kmeron/flickr

8 ) Laura Jane Grace – Grace, previously known as Tom Gabel of the band Against Me!, came out publicly in May as a transgender woman, telling the Rolling Stone that her battle with gender dysphoria had been a lifelong struggle but that she is now transitioning with the love and support of her wife and children.

pokervt.com

9) Jason Somerville — Professional poker player Jason Somerville, winner of the 2011 No-Limit, Hold’em event at the World Series of Poker, chose Valentine’s Day this year to officially come out, making him the first male pro-poker player to ever acknowledge being gay, saying in part, “I became more empowered by the growing personal freedoms I felt as I increasingly was just myself by default, less and less often censoring my thoughts, desires, and feelings. The small personal ‘victories’ piled up, I gained a lot of forward momentum, and the positive changes started to snowball.”

wisaflcio/flickr (JoCasta is on the right)

10) JoCasta Zamarripa — Democratic State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa became the first openly bisexual member of the Wisconsin Legislature this year, adding to her status as the state’s only Hispanic lawmaker. “It has always been my goal in office to be transparent and honest with my constituents but before the primary in 2010, I didn’t have the valor and courage to come out,”  she told JS Online. “I feel remiss that I didn’t come out then.”

NBCLatino

11) Orlando Cruz — Professional boxer Orlando Cruz became the first openly gay boxer still active in the sport when he came out in early October, acknowledging his sexuality and saying in an interview, “I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.”

(U.S. Army)

12)  Tammy Smith — This year Tammy Smith became the US military’s first openly lesbian brigadier general when she was promoted in August and at the same time acknowledged she is in a same-sex marriage. This also made her the first general officer to come out while serving.

 

Why Coming Out Still Matters

Coming out still remains important for LGBTs as we work toward equality because it is only in publicly affirming our identities in a climate that still assumes heterosexuality and birth-gender alignment that visibility and therein impetus for equality under the law can be achieved.

It is also vital that those LGBTs in the public eye come out because they are uniquely placed to set an example for LGBT and questioning youth that being LGBT need not be a barrier, either to a successful career or a life of fulfilling relationships.

 

Related Reading:

10 Notable People Who Died in 2012

5 Offensive Christmas Songs You Should Stop Singing

5 Ways Christmas and Hanukkah Co-Opted Paganism

 

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Image credit: Thinkstock.

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8:17PM PDT on Apr 14, 2013

The above mentioned are very courageous for coming out and hopefully they can inspire others who are afraid to do so.

9:41AM PST on Jan 15, 2013

Applause and my admiration to them!

12:10PM PST on Jan 3, 2013

Thank you very much Pam. Something else just occurred to me a little while ago.
I looked at Dion's profile and see he's from Africa. When we wrote off most of the Evangelicals in the early 1980's, I just remembered what happened. They went to AFRICA!

That's why we're signing so many petitions trying to reverse some of the sentences proscribed for homosexuality over there. It all started to come back to me how they were going to "save the heathen natives souls with Good, Ole'-fashioned Gawwd and after we teaches thems about Gawwd, then we'll learns thems right!" And thus, laws popped up all over the place, but especially about homosexuality.
I remember this because, at the time, well - actually a few years before, I was a disenfranchised kid of 14 who saw Jesus Christ Superstar with a church group I was joined up for by my parents and fell in love of a sort. I was enchanted and it was just what I was looking for at the time.
But later? When they started forbidding me certain friends, books, films, etc. it got to be too much. When they started telling me my questioning was heretical, I said "Screw that" and went on my merry way to a happier, less neurotic life.
So it's not Christianity, per se, that makes certain people act and behave in such ways; it's the way it's interpretted and taught. Poor Dion needs to be de-programmed. He's too gone for nebbishes like we here. I know I'm no professional.
I was lucky that the group I was affiliated with tried too h

11:09AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

A shower of green stars to Kimberlee! Beautifully said!

I doubt that the proselytizers will listen, of course....you're just a spoil-sport, Kimberlee...stealing their ever-so-righteous thunder and smoke! :-)

9:41AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

You know something Dion? Maybe if your numbers were a little closer to reality, perhaps if your education was a bit more complete, I could even debate you.

But you are SO,SO, SO off any of those marks, that it just doesn't matter.
BTW, the population of the planet around 1900, was approx. 1 billion people so you're assuming EVERYone was a priest then.
And after many, many studies, YES - people are Born Gay. yes, yes, this is true. It is not something someone "learns", anymore than anyone "learns" to become hetero.
And in the U.S., there is only a very small segment of the GLTBT community that is calling on churches to change their policies. The majority will either go to their own church to wed or a justice of the peace.

And for all those who complain or whine about "why do they have to shove it in our faces?" - -Hey! I've got the answer for you!
Just get rid of the laws that can get you thrown out of your job or home, prevent you from marrying the one you love, keep you from getting insurance policies, etc. IF YOU ARE GAY, ETC.
Then that community will just shut up because they will have the same rights as you or I.

Until then, expect us to keep fighting. And winning.
You don't have to get chummy with your neighbor or workmate or child's teacher if you don't want to. But you can't deny them the same rights as you either.
Oh, - for a world where it just doesn't matter.

8:36AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

Live for the day when no one will care about this anymore. That we simply respect one another because people are people. I know, I'm simplistic but what sex you fancy shouldn't be a big deal anymore.

8:16AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

It takes so much courage for coming out, applause to these people.

7:01PM PST on Jan 2, 2013

I applaud these people's bravery and showing the world that us gay people are normal and as diverse as all people.

11:57AM PST on Jan 2, 2013

Way to go, guys :) thanks for being brave, because every LGBTQ person we have in the spotlight puts us one step closer to equality.

11:08AM PST on Jan 2, 2013

Dion, go somewhere else, preferably a verrrrrrry warm place. Thanks.

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