- Celebrities have been turning to social media to tell their fans that they identify as LGBTQ.
- Actors like Elliot Page from “Juno,” Lili Reinhart from “Riverdale,” Nikki Blonsky from “Hairspray,” and Niecy Nash from “Claws” came out in 2020.
- YouTube stars like Tana Mongeau and Nikkie de Jager also made their big announcements this year.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Since they live in the public eye, some celebrities feel they not only have to come out to their friends and family but also to their fans.
To do so, they often turn to social media or news outlets to announce they identify as LGBTQ â€” this year, stars like Lili Reinhart, Elliot Page, and Jameela Jamil have done just that.
From famous actors to YouTube celebrities, here are 17 celebrities who have come out so far this year.
“Real Housewives of Orange County” star Braunwyn Windham-Burke came out as a lesbian in December.
In an interview with GLAAD, Windham-Burke announced the news publicly for the first time.
“I like women. I’m gay,” she said in the interview. “I’m a member of the LGBTQ+ community. It has taken me 42 years to say that but I am so proud of where I am right now. I’m so happy where I am. To be able to be comfortable in my own skin after so long is just so nice.”
The “Real Housewives” star added, “I’m just now starting to feel like I’m becoming the woman I’m supposed to be. I’ve always known it, but it took me, personally, 42 years to be comfortable in my own skin to say that.”
Windham-Burke also revealed that she has a girlfriend, but she plans to remain married to her husband, Sean Burke, with whom she shares seven children.
Also in December, Elliot Page, the actor formerly known as Ellen Page, announced he is transgender.
Page, who is known for his Oscar-nominated performance in “Juno” and his part in Netflix’s “Umbrella Academy,” announced in a tweet in December that he is transgender.
“Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot,” he wrote. “I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life.”
The actor continued, “The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared. I’m scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the ‘jokes’ and of violence.”
But he ended on a positive note.
“I love that I am trans,” he wrote. “And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive. To all trans people who deal with harassment, self-loathing, abuse, and the threat of violence every day: I see you, I love you and I will do everything I can to change this world for the better.”
Netflix’s “Tiger King” star Carole Baskin came out as bisexual in an interview in October.
In an interview with Pink News, Baskin revealed she is bisexual and that she hid it for 30 years.
“I have always considered myself to be bisexual, even though I’ve never had a wife. I could just as easily have a wife as a husband, as far as the way I feel about us,” Baskin told Pink News. “I just don’t see us as being different genders or different colours or different anything.”
Baskin became a celebrity overnight when the docuseries “Tiger King” premiered on Netflix earlier this year, chronicling the world of big cat rescues and zookeeper Joe Exotic.
In September, Niecy Nash introduced the world to her new wife, Jessica Betts.
Nash surprised her fans when she announced she married Jessica Betts a few months after divorcing her ex-husband, Jay Tucker. Nash and Betts met on social media five years ago and became friends. Nash told People that after her divorce, their relationship transformed into something else.
“I don’t feel like my marriage is my coming out of anywhere, but rather a going into myself and being honest about who I love,” the “Claws” actress told People. “And I’m not limiting myself on what that love is supposed to look like.”
In August, Tinashe announced she is bisexual for the first time.
Back in 2011, Tinashe tweeted, “I like boys and I like girls.” A few years later, she told HuffPost that she doesn’t like labels.
“I feel, like, nowadays, people are a little bit more understanding of the fact that other people don’t necessarily want to assign themselves one particular thing or another,”Tinashe told the publication in 2016. “That’s all a part of how we’re growing and progressing as a society. I think it’s exciting that we don’t have to be so black and white, because the world isn’t black and white.”
In August 2020, however, the musician put a label on her sexuality for the first time, announcing she is bisexual.
“It’s not that I don’t like putting a label on it, but when you say you’re bisexual, a lot of people think…they just have a lack of understanding about what it is,” Tinashe told Gay Times in 2020. “And I tend to shy away from terms (I guess this is the theme of my life!) that make people want to categorise me or put me in a box…But I can still give you a general sense of yeah, I’m bisexual. I’m somewhere on the spectrum. You know?”
After parting ways with her “Riverdale” co-star, Lili Reinhart came out as bisexual in June.
Reinhart took to social media to show her support for the Black Lives Matter movement and announced she was bisexual.
“Although I’ve never announced it publicly before, I am a proud bisexual woman,” she wrote on her Instagram story, just after breaking up with Cole Sprouse, according to E! News.
The actress told Flaunt magazine in August that she was initially hesitant to come out because she worried people would think she did it for attention.
“I knew full well that I was attracted to women from a young age,” Reinhart told the publication. “I felt that since I’ve exclusively been in heteronormative relationships, it would be too easy for any outsider, especially the media, to vilify me and accuse me of faking it to get attention. That’s not something I wanted to deal with. But to my close friends, and those in my life, my bisexuality has been no secret.”
“Hairspray” actress Nikki Blonsky also came out as gay in June.
Blonsky took to TikTok to announce her coming out. The video she uploaded shows her lying on the grass, while Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out” plays in the background. The video ends with the actress dancing around in the grass.
She captioned the video, “Hi, it’s Nikki Blonsky from the movie I’m Gay.”
A few days later, she told The Hollywood Reporter, “The LGBTQIA community has embraced me since the moment I got ‘Hairspray.’ They welcomed me with open arms and I felt so a part of the community already. For me, it was a long time coming. I was wanting to date women and it just was a moment in my life where I was finally just really ready to be myself.”
During Pride Month in June, YouTube star Tana Mongeau said she is pansexual.
To honour Pride Month, Mongeau took to Instagram to talk about her sexuality amid rumours that she was dating Noah Cyrus, according to Seventeen.
“I never thought I’d be brave enough to publicly share my sexuality in the way I do now,” she wrote on Instagram. “I still struggle with it. I hate the boxes, I hate people telling me I’m straight or discrediting my relationship if I’m with a girl, but I’m proud to be not only a member but an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, and I’m proud to say I will live my life based on loving people, not for their gender but their soul. Some people call that pansexuality, everyone calls me bi, I personally don’t find a need to label it all. Love and sexuality is [sic] genderless to me.”
“Grey’s Anatomy” actress Chyler Leigh announced she is part of the LGBTQ community during Pride Month.
When Leigh’s character on “Supergirl” came out as a lesbian, it sparked a similar journey of self-discovery within the actress.
“When I was told that my character was to come out in season two, a flurry of thoughts and emotions flew through and around me because of the responsibility I personally felt to authentically represent Alex’s journey,” Leigh wrote in a post on Create Change, according to Out. “What I didn’t realise was how the scene where she finally confessed her truth would leap off the pages of the script and genuinely become a variation of my own.”
The actress went on to write, “From the director, the press, the media, the cast, and the fans, I’m still told that it was the most realistic coming out scene they’d ever witnessed. And to steal from Alex’s words, that’s because there’s some truth to what she said about me.”
Leigh, who is married to actor Nathan West, didn’t choose a specific label in the post.
“Jurassic World” actor Justice Smith came out as queer amid the Black Lives Matter protests.
After peacefully protesting in New Orleans, Smith took to Instagram to talk about the importance of fighting for black queer people, coming out in the process.
“As a Black queer man myself, I was disappointed to see certain people eager to say Black Lives Matter, but hold their tongue when Trans/Queer was added,” Smith wrote in the post from June. “I want to reiterate this sentiment. If your revolution does not include Black Queer voices, it is anti-Black.”
Accompanying the message, the “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” actor also included pictures of his boyfriend, fellow actor Nicholas Ashe.
The voice actor behind Disney’s “Moana,” Auli’i Cravalho, came out as bisexual in April.
Cravalho posted a video of herself on TikTok, lip-syncing to Eminem’s “Those Kinda Nights.” In the video, you can see the voice actress say, “Seriously though, jokes aside, how you doin? You straight?/ She said, ‘No, I’m bi.'”
Following the video, a Twitter user asked, “Do you like girls,” and the actress wrote, “If I may escort you to my TikTok,” according to E! News.
Viral internet sensation Rebecca Black revealed she is queer while on a podcast in April.
Most people remember Black from her viral music video “Friday” in 2011, but now she is rebranding as a social media star with new music. She made headlines this year when she went on the “Dating Straight” podcast back in April and revealed that she identifies as queer.
“To me, the word ‘queer’ feels really nice,” she told the hosts, Page Six reported. “I’ve dated a lot of different types of people, and I just don’t really know what the future holds. Some days I feel little more on the gay side than others.”
This year, she followed the announcement up with an interview with Gay Times where she explained the relief she felt after coming out.
“I wouldn’t call it tough, but I think for me the hardest part was probably that I was always trying to find the right time, and what I realised is that there’s never really a right time, and I would never have thought that this would even happen now, but I am really happy that it is happening,” the singer told Gay Times. “Everybody talks about that sense of relief and I had no idea what that would feel like, but they’re right, and I’m so happy to be finally able to talk about it.”
In February, Rosario Dawson came out during a media interview.
During an interview with Bustle, Dawson was asked about a video from 2018 where she called out “fellow LGBTQ+ homies.”
“People kept saying that I [came out] … I didn’t do that,” she told Bustle. “I mean, it’s not inaccurate, but I never did come out come out. I mean, I guess I am now.”
Dawson did not explain how she identifies, but she is in a relationship with Senator Cory Booker.
Jameela Jamil came out as queer in February after she received backlash over her new show.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Jamil would judge a voguing competition show. Voguing is a dance art form that is popular among the LGBTQ community. The announcement was met with outrage, with some people saying she had no ties to the dance or the community, so she shouldn’t be allowed to judge.
Jamil responded with a statement in which she came out as queer.
“I was scared of the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping, over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear, and turmoil when I was a kid,” she said, according to The Guardian. “I know that my being queer doesn’t qualify me as ballroom. But I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show … sometimes it takes those with more power to help a show get off the ground so we can elevate marginalised stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance.”
“The Flash’s” Rick Cosnett announced he is gay in an Instagram video in February.
Known for his roles in “The Flash,” “The Vampire Diaries,” and “Quantico,” Cosnett uploaded a short and sweet video to Instagram, making his big announcement.
“Hi everyone,” he said in the video. “Dramatic pause. Um, I’m gay and I just wanted everyone to know because I’ve made a promise to myself to live my truth every day and sometimes that is a really hard thing to do when you have all these subconscious things that you don’t even know about from childhood and society and from just life. There you go. I’m sure most of you probably knew anyway. And … um yeah. That’s actually all I wanted to say.”
Beauty YouTuber Nikkie de Jager revealed she is transgender in January after she was blackmailed.
After 11 years on YouTube, de Jager built a large following and collaborated with a number of big-name celebrities. But earlier this year, the beauty blogger uploaded a video titled “I’m Coming Out.”
“I’m saying this today to all of you for the entire world to see, but damn, it feels good to finally do it. It is time to let go and be truly free,” she says in the video. “When I was younger, I was born in the wrong body, which means that I am transgender.”
Later in the video, she says that people were trying to blackmail her and planned to reveal the news to the media.
“So to the people who tried to blackmail me and thought they could really mess up my life with that, this one’s for you,” she says.
Comedic actor DJ Qualls took to Twitter in January to tell his fans he is gay.
Best known for his comedic roles in 2000’s “Road Trip” and 2002’s “The New Guy,” Qualls made headlines again in 2020 when he announced he is gay.
“It is 11:20 p.m.,” he wrote in a Tweet. “I just came out on stage at a @jimjefferies show in San Diego. Yep, I’m gay. Been gay this whole time. Tired of worrying about what people would think of me. Tired of worrying about what it would do to my career.”