14 Jocks, Rappers and Drag Queens Who Burst Out of the Closet in 2017
In honor of National Coming Out Day 2017, we look back some coming out stories that inspired us from this past year.
From a famous drag queen coming out as trans to a rapper revealing he’s had relationships with other men, our list features 14 notable additions to our community.
Here are 14 celebs who came out this year:
In April, Olympic pole vaulter and world champion Shawn Barber came out publicly as gay.
He wrote on Facebook: “Gay and proud! Thank you to my parents for being such a great support. I continue to grow as a person and have a great support group. My parents are my greatest support and have helped me through a lot recently. To my friends, you are always my friends and I love you too!”
Since lyrics on his new album were released earlier this year, Tyler, the Creator’s sexuality has been questioned, many assuming the 26-year-old rapper is gay or bisexual.
In an episode of the podcast Koopz Tunes, Tyler opened up about his sexuality a little bit more, revealing that when he was younger he had a boyfriend.
In the first few minutes of the podcast, the host Know Waves says that Tyler is more open-minded now, hence why he is agreeing to do his podcast.
Tyler pushes back, and says: “I had a boyfriend when I was fifteen in fucking Hawthorne. If that’s not open minded, I don’t know what is.”
Brandon Flynn, the 23-year-old American actor who played Justin Foley in the Netflix teen suicide drama series 13 Reasons Why, recently came out in an Instagram post about Australia’s same-sex marriage vote.
While he didn’t specify his exact sexual orientation, he repeatedly referred to the LGBTQ community as “Us”, writing: “We’ve been scared shitless our whole lives thanks to all the stigmas that surround Us.”
Since then, Flynn has been seen out and about the streets of New York City smooching songbird Sam Smith.
Earlier this year, Aaron Carter came out as bisexual in a personal note posted on Twitter. Carter is the younger brother of Backstreet Boys alum Nick Carter and has previously dated two famous actresses and singers: Hillary Duff and Lindsay Lohan.
He then says that he grew up in the entertainment industry at a very young age — he started performing at the age of seven — and at age 13, “I started to find boys and girls attractive.” He started dating girls at age 17, but after a few relationships, he says he had “an experience with a male that I had an attraction to who I also worked with and grew up with.”
Even though he came out as bisexual, Aaron Carter revealed to TMZ later he’s not interested in dating men.
Dan Amboyer, the 31-year-old actor who plays the twin characters of Thad and Chad Weber in the TV Land dramedy series Younger, married a 37-year-old financial planner named Eric P. Berger in New York City this last Saturday.
Professional wrestler Anthony Bowens wasn’t expecting to come out as bisexual. He then found himself on camera filming a silly video when his boyfriend accidentally outed him. Instead of deleting, they decided to post, beginning his journey of coming out as a bisexual man in professional wrestling.
In commemoration of the Trans Day of Visibility, the gorgeous Gia Gunn from Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race came out as transgender via Instagram making her the seventh Drag Race competitor to come out as trans.
In her video, she said: “Hey everyone! Happy Trans Visibility Day. I thought I would dedicate today in the spirit of being visible to share my transition with all of you.”
“I have been in hormone replacement therapy now for almost about a year and I identify as female and I indeed am transgender. Thank you all so much to each and every single one of you who has continuously supported me on my journey and I can only hope the best for each and every single one of my trans brothers and sisters.”
“So if you are in transition or struggling with your gender identity or just anything in general, I wanna hear from you … and let’s be visible.”
Brooklyn-based electro-rock band LCD Soundsystem has made a lot of news this year by reuniting after a nearly five-year break, planning a world tour, playing some of their new music on Saturday Night Live and announcing the September 2017 release of their fourth studio album, American Dream. But Gavin Russom, the musician who provides synths and other electronic sounds for the electro-dance group, has made news of her own this year by coming out as a transgender woman.
In an interview with Pitchfork, Russom said that she spent time over the last year growing more comfortable outwardly expressing herself as female and using feminine pronouns. Working with New York City’s large community of trans women, she said she committed to self-care and plans on continuing to use her first name, possibly because it has clout in the electronic music community.
She told Pitchfork, “Over the last year and a half, I went from my trans identity being something I was in touch with and worked through in one way or another, to suddenly this shift where it’s on the front burner. Now it’s time to become a whole person.”
Rap star iLoveMakonnen came out in January with a series of tweets explaining his sexuality.
“As a fashion icon, I can’t tell u about everybody else’s closet, I can only tell u about mine, and it’s time I’ve come out,” he tweeted. “And since y’all love breaking news, here’s some old news to break: I’m gay. And now I’ve told u about my life, maybe u can go life yours.”
In August, Haaz Sleiman posted a Facebook video that not only declared his homosexuality but also that his being a total bottom who will “fuck you up” if you’re a homophobe trying to murder him.
After mentioning a study showing that more LGBTQ Americans have been murdered in 2017 than in 2016, Sleiman says to the camera: “As my response to this study, I am a gay, Muslim, Arab-American man.” He repeats, “I am a gay, Muslim, Arab-American man. And I’m going to take it even further: Not only am I gay, but I’m also a bottom. Not only am I a bottom, but I’m also a total bottom which means I like it up you know where.”
“Well, the best way I can put it — I have always wanted to come out,” Sleiman told us. “Something has been brewing in my mind … all my life. I knew I was gay when I was 7 years old. I know I was born that way. I spent my whole life hiding. I’m a Lebanese Muslim, growing up in an Arab country. It was not easy for me. I had a very tough childhood.”
“Let’s just say the tone of my life was very dark and very gray,” he says. “It took life to beat the hell out of me to make me want to come out. I finally realized I am going to either live and thrive or disappear and die.”
Cody Alan, the host of a popular weekly TV show called Hot 20 Countdown and of two radio shows, CMT After MidNite and CMT Radio Live came out in January.
In a Facebook post, Alan wrote: “2017. As we start a new year, there is something I want to share with you. You see, I’m gay. This is not a choice I made, but something I’ve known about myself my whole life. Through life’s twists and turns, marriage, divorce, fatherhood, successes, failures – I’ve landed on this day, a day when I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. And I’m finally comfortable enough for everyone to know this truth about me.”
Zeke Smith’s coming out wasn’t on his own terms. An episode of Survivor ended with a disgusting twist when Smith’s fellow tribe member Jeff Varner outed him in a desperate attempt to stay in the game.
Smith, who identified as a gay man in both seasons he’s appeared on Survivor, had not come out as trans because he didn’t want to be boxed in by that label.
“I’m not ashamed of being trans, but I didn’t want that to be my story,” Zeke Smith told People. “I just wanted to go out on an adventure and play a great game. I just wanted to be known for my game.”
Keiynan Lonsdale — a 25-year-old, Australian-born actor who appeared in the Divergent film series and plays Wally West (a.k.a. Kid Flash) in the CW’s superhero series, The Flash — came out as bisexual in May on Instagram.
He wrote, “I like to change my hair, I like to take risks with how I dress, I like girls, & I like guys (yes), I like growing, I like learning, I like who I am and I really like who I’m becoming. Spent way too many years hating myself, thinking I was less valuable because I was different.. which is just untrue.”
29-year-old actor Thomas Dekker came out as gay in an emotional essay posted on social media in July. He also revealed he married his husband in April. Dekker is best known for his roles as John Connor in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Adam Conant on The Secret Circle and Zach on Heroes.
In the note, Dekker says his coming out is because he was recently outed by a “prominent gay man:”
“My sexual orientation once again came into question this week when a prominent gay man used an awards acceptance speech to ‘out’ me,” he revealed “While he did not mention me by name, the explicit details of his reference made it easy for the public and media to connect the dots.”
Dekker reportedly was referring to Heroes writer Bryan Fuller, screenwriter and producer who has worked on Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal and American Gods.