These are the celebs that came out in 2021
With 2021 approaching its conclusion, many people are naturally reflecting on journeys of self-discovery over the last twelve months. Some have made amazing new discoveries, and others have decided to let go of secrets long-held. We’re taking a moment to celebrate and congratulate these celebrities that have chosen to live their truth openly by coming out as LGBTQIA+ this year.
Singer Lovato, a two-time Grammy nominee, revealed in May that they identify as non-binary and use the pronouns they/them. Lovato said the identity “best represents the fluidity I feel in my gender expression and allows me to feel most authentic and true to the person I both know I am and am still discovering,” in a video posted on their Twitter account in May. Earlier in the year, the singer revealed they are pansexual during an interview with Joe Rogan.
The former Dance Moms star and YouTuber came out as pansexual in January and one month later revealed she was currently in a relationship with her best friend, Kylie Prew. Prew urged the star to open up to her fans regarding her identity. Siwa would go on to tell People magazine: “Technically I would say that I am pansexual because that’s how I have always been my whole life is just like, my human is my human.” Siwa recently revealed that she and Prew split up in November.
TJ, lead vocalist and half of the beloved country music duo The Brothers Osborne, came out as gay in February. Osborne said he had known he was gay for quite some time but had been hesitant to live openly due to fears of backlash from conservative country music fans. In an interview with Time, the musician said, “For me to show up at an awards show with a man would be jaw-dropping to people. It wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh, cool!'” The singer is the first openly gay country musician to be signed to a major label.
The Queen star casually identified themself as queer in an Instagram post earlier this year, when they posted images from a bridal-themed photoshoot with the caption “ur fave queer bride.” Corrin, who uses she/they pronouns, then posted several photos wearing a chest binder, writing, “It’s all a journey right. Lots of twists and turns and change and that’s ok! Embrace it.”
R&B singer Kehlani came out twice this year, first revealing that they identified as non-binary and preferred they/them pronouns in an interview with Byrdie magazine. Kehlani says they prefer those pronouns because “something feels really affirming when people say ‘they’. It feels like you really see me.” The singer, who has identified as queer and pansexual in the past, later revealed in a TikTok post this April that “I finally know I’m a lesbian. I am gay gay gay gay gay.”
Japanese-American singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada came out as non-binary this June. Utada, who is a massive superstar in her native Japan, made the announcement on their Instagram during Pride month. The artist wrote in the post, “I’m sick of being asked if I’m ‘Miss or Missus’ or choosing between ‘Miss/Mrs/Ms’ for everyday things. It makes me uncomfortable to be identified so markedly by my marital status or sex, and I don’t relate to any of those prefixes. Every time, I feel like I’m forced to misrepresent myself. I long for an alternative option, one that anybody of any gender or social standing could use.” Utada signed the post as “Mys. Utada.”
The Canadian-born, UK-based stand-up released the second season of their Netflix series Feel Good this year. They also came out as non-binary on an Instagram post discussing their evolving understanding of gender. Martin wrote, “The way I feel about my gender identity is ongoing and evolving, and it’s personal, but I thought it might be good to say for clarity and in case anyone finds it helpful – I’m non-binary, my pronouns are they/them and she/her (I love it when people say ‘they’ and I really don’t mind ‘she’ at ALL, truly).” The comedian went on to express frustration that they are often referred to a being a “lesbian comedian” or a “female comedian” and wanted to be clear in her gender expression as a non-binary bisexual.
On July 22, actor Tommy Dorfman came out as a transgender woman who uses the pronouns she/her. In an interview with Torrey Peters in Time, Dorfman stated, “For a year now, I have been privately identifying and living as a woman—a trans woman.” The 13 Reasons Why actor went on to tell Peters, “It’s funny to think about coming out, because I haven’t gone anywhere. I view today as a reintroduction to me as a woman, having made a transition medically. Coming out is always viewed as this grand reveal, but I was never not out. Today is about clarity: I am a trans woman. My pronouns are she/her. My name is Tommy.”
In one of the most groundbreaking coming out stories of the year, Carl Nassib, defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, became the first openly gay player while currently active in the NFL. In a post to his Instagram during Pride month, Nassib stated, “I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” Nassib said in the video. “I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that, like, one day videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary, but until then I’m going to do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate.”
Another door in pro sports was knocked down in July when 19-year old Luke Prokop became the first openly gay NHL player under contract. Prokop was selected by the Nashville Predators as a third-round pick in 2020’s draft. In a post on his Twitter account, Prokop stated, “Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone I am gay. 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.” Moments after Prokop’s post, the NHLs Twitter account issued a statement supporting the defenceman. “On behalf of the National Hockey League, we are proud of Luke Prokop for today’s announcement and I would like to thank him for sharing his truth and being so brave,” wrote NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman.
When the Mistress of the Dark aka Cassandra Peterson released Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark in September, she dropped a major bombshell. She’s been in a relationship with a woman for nearly two decades. The horror hostess doesn’t particularly care to identify as one way or another however. “I fell in love with a particular person who I had been friends with for many years. And then the relationship just got deeper, and then we’ve been together for 19 years and it’s fantastic,” Peterson said in a recent Yahoo interview. She went on to explain, “I don’t think I’m gay. I don’t know what the hell I am! And even people have said, ‘Oh, you’re bi.’ And I said, ‘Well, I guess I am now! It wasn’t until I turned 50!’ I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s been great.”
Elvira wasn’t the only person to come out via memoir this year. In his new memoir, You Can’t Be Serious, the Harold and Kumar actor revealed that he was gay and engaged to his partner of several years. Penn revealed that while he has always been fairly open to a certain extent, he hesitated to fully disclose his sexuality for years due to concerns for his partner’s and his partner’s family’s privacy. In a People magazine interview, Penn stated, “I’m really excited to share our relationship with readers. But Josh, my partner, my parents, and my brother, four people who I’m closest to in the family, are fairly quiet. They don’t love attention and shy away from the limelight.”
After previously denying rumors about his sexuality, the former NFL player and Bachelor star finally revealed he is gay on Good Morning America. In the exclusive interview, Underwood said, “I’ve ran from myself for a long time. I’ve hated myself for a long time.” He went on to say, “I’m gay. And I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it. And the next step in all of this was sort of letting people know.” When asked if he had any advice for others struggling to come to terms with their sexuality, the reality star stated, “If I had to go back and give anybody advice, I mean, you’re gonna get through it is what I would tell myself. Keep fighting for you. Keep choosing you every morning. And when the time’s ready or when the time’s right and you’re ready, do it on your own time.”