October 11 is National Coming Out Day. Founded by LGBTQ+ activists Robert Eichberg and Jean O'Leary back in 1988, the day is all about celebrating coming out. Eichberg and O’Leary chose the date to coincide with the anniversary of the Second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, a 1987 political rally that led to the creation of many LGBTQ+ rights organizations, including the National Latino/a Gay & Lesbian Organization (LLEGÓ).
In a 1993 interview, Eichberg said, "Most people think they don't know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact everybody does.”
He continued, “It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes." Research shows that straight cis people who know out LGBTQ+ folks are more likely to support LGBTQ+ rights.
But remember, you don’t owe it to anyone to come out — your safety and wellbeing is more important than you personally educating straight people. On National Coming Out Day, we celebrate those who have come out — whether publicly, to loved ones, or even to themselves.
When celebrities come out, they reach a wide platform of people — and because it often feels like we know our favourite celebs, their stories can do a lot of good. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lilly Singh talked about the impact of her coming out as bisexual. "The very next meet-and-greet that I did after coming out was in India, and I would say 50% of people in that line came out to me," she said. "To me, that is success."
Here are eight celebrities who came out in 2019.