In a year marked by isolation, anxiety, and political turmoil, LGBTQ people around the world proved that being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely. Numerous actors, singers, and athletes used their platforms to open up about their sexual orientation or gender identity for the first time — and for the most part, their announcements were well-received by fans. For some, coming out was a calculated and formal choice; for others, it was a more casual thing, and evidence of just how far LGBTQ acceptance has come.
Below, read up on 13 celebrities who came out in 2020, and welcome them to the family if you haven’t already.
Nikkie de Jager
The beloved Dutch beauty guru came out as transgender in January after she was blackmailed by someone who threatened to out her.
“I uploaded this tiny video during January titled ’I Am Coming Out,’ and it only shook half the world,” de Jager joked to Logo in June. “I had my coming out, and being welcomed into the community — I feel like I am ready to take on that role and be an inspiration to so many people out there hopefully.”
DJ QuallsJerod Harris/Getty Images for AMC
The Road Trip star also came out in January. “It is 11:20pm. I just came out on stage at a @jimjefferies show in San Diego,” the 42-year-old actor tweeted. “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.”
The Good Place star came out as queer in February after she was slammed with criticism for being cast in HBO Max’s vogueing competition series, Legendary. Later, she said she regretted the timing but still feels better “out [of the closet] than in”: “Thank you for the thousands of messages of kindness and deeply personal letters from strangers and people I know, coming out to me privately. I don’t take it lightly and am happy for you that you felt ready to tell even one person.”
The YouTube star and singer of “Friday” fame spoke about dating women and being queer for the first in an April episode of the podcast Dating Straight. “I made a conscious decision to not, like, come out,” Black revealed. “People started asking, and I just stopped responding. I’m still in the [coming-out] process, it feels like.”
Auli’i CravalhoGregg DeGuire/FilmMagic
Back in April, the 19-year-old Moana star uploaded a cheeky TikTok in which she came out as bi. Cravalho has since deleted the video, but she has no regrets.
“I just lip synced to an Eminem song, it’s not that big of a deal,” she told Refinery29 in August. “But I now have to navigate yet another label, which is really interesting. It’s not that complicated. I’m a young woman who really enjoys film and I’m making a career.”
The Hairspray actress took a page from Cravalho’s book and came out as gay in a TikTok set to Diana Ross’ anthemic hit “I’m Coming Out.” “It’s incredibly true!!!” she wrote in the comments of the post. “Thank you so much for the love and support!”
The Grammy-nominated singer and Spanish heartthrob opened up about being gay for the first time in an IGTV video from June. “I’m here to tell you that I am homosexual and it’s okay,” he told his 5.3 million followers. “Everything will remain the same, but I am going to be a little happier than I already am.”
J. August Richards
The Council of Dads star revealed in an April IGTV that he was inspired by his character on the NBC show — a Black gay dad — to come out himself.
“On television, I don’t take anything I do lightly,” Richards said. “Honestly, [the role] required me to show up fully in a way that I don’t always when I’m working. I knew that I could not portray this gay man honestly without letting you all know that I am a gay man myself. And I’ve never done that with the people that I’ve worked with.”
Queer fans have thirsted over the Teen Wolf alum for years, but Posey only opened up about his sexuality this October, telling his followers on Instagram that he “[loves] everybody” and is “confident in his sexuality.”
Later, he said he didn’t really have a plan for coming out. “I just felt compelled,” he told SiriusXM radio host Jason Ellis. “I know there’s a lot of kids who look up to me, and I just want to get rid of that fucking stigma. You can be whoever you to be, be with whoever you want to be with, and it doesn’t affect you, and it doesn’t affect them. The world’s fucking weird, and it should be. There’s too much stigmas around everything, sexuality especially.”
— Niecy Nash (@NiecyNash) August 31, 2020
In the gay wedding announcement heard ’round the world, Nash revealed in late August that she had wed her girlfriend, musician Jessica Betts. Prior to this, Nash wasn’t publicly out as a member of the LGBTQ community.
François ArnaudJordan Strauss/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images
The Schitt’s Creek actor came out as bisexual ahead of Bisexuality Visibility Day in September. In a series of posts to his Instagram Story, he relayed some of the struggles he grapples with as a bi man.
“Silence has the perverse effect of perpetuating those stereotypes, making bi guys invisible, and leading people to doubt that we even exist,” he wrote. “No wonder it’s still a chore to acknowledge bisexuality without getting into lengthy explanations.”
The Umbrella Academy star came out as trans and unveiled his new name in a heartfelt Twitter announcement from December.
“I can’t even begin express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self,” the 33-year-old actor tweeted. “I’ve been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community.”
Hig RobertsAlexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images
The decorated athlete came out as gay in a December interview with The New York Times, making him the first Alpine skier of his caliber, current or former, to come out publicly.
“I just woke up one morning and I said, ‘Enough is enough,’” Roberts told The Times. “I love this sport more than anything — I’m so lucky and privileged to be doing this — but I can’t go on another day not trying to achieve the person that I am meant to be. Which I think for each and every one of us, one of those main goals needs to be happiness and authenticity.”
Main image: Niecy Nash.