Look Who Came Out in 2020

Friday January 8, 2021

The truly terrible year that just ended had one positive trend: More and more individuals — celebrities, sports figures, reality stars, everyday people, a very well-known cartoon character, and Nikki Blonsky from the movie "Hairspray" — came out in public about their sexuality. Here's a sample of them:

January 7: The reality star known as Rodrigo Alves, a.k.a. "The Human Ken Doll," came out as transgender in an interview with the British tabloid The Mirror. Alves said she wants to be called Roddy.

January 13: Actor DJ Qualls, best known for his early 00s films like "Road Trip" and "The Core," came out as gay. Qualls, 41, first revealed the news while appearing on the Comedy Central program "The Jim Jeffries Show," before taking to Twitter to share his story there. Tweeting to his 210,000 fans, Qualls wrote, "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."

February 7: A British morning show host came out on Instagram and then followed up with an on-air interview on ITV chat show "This Morning," the very same program where he had been a presenter for the past 18 years. CNN reported that 57-year-old Phillip Schofield — who had been married for 27 years and has two daughters — came out on Instagram.

February 8: "Good Place" star Jameela Jamill came out as queer after being hit with backlash for hosting the HBO Max voguing competition series "Legendary." In a lengthy post to Instagram, she said she was "scared" to come out: "Twitter is brutal. This is why I never officially came out as queer. I added a rainbow to my name when I felt ready a few years ago, as it's not easy within the south Asian community to be accepted, and I always answered honestly if ever straight-up asked about it on Twitter."

February 14: Australian actor Rick Cosnett, who stars in "The Flash" and "The Vampire Diaries," came out as gay in a video post to Instagram. In the clip, captioned "Just me Hello," Cosnett, 36, greeted his fans and came out: "Hi everyone. Dramatic pause...I'm gay... I just wanted everyone to know because I 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 you don't even know about from childhood and from society and from being...just life."

March 6: In a lengthy Instagram post, former Republican Congressman Aaron Schock came out. "I am gay," he wrote. "For those who know me and for many who only know of me, this will come as no surprise. For the past year, I have been working through a list of people who I felt should finally hear the news directly from me before I made a public statement. I wanted my mother, my father, my sisters, my brother, and my closest friends to hear it from me first... The fact that I am gay is just one of those things in my life in need of explicit affirmation, to remove any doubt and to finally validate who I am as a person, In many ways, I regret the time wasted in not having done so sooner."

March 7: Curdin Orlik is a star wrestler in Switzerland, and he proved it by breaking a chokehold many gay men never do: That of the closet. In coming out, the 27-year-old also broke down a wall of silence in becoming the first non-retired pro male openly gay athlete in Switzerland, media sources noted.

March 20: A Polish actor came out... at 100. "Witold Sadowy has come out as gay," reported the British website GayTimes. "The star, who has been a renowned theatre actor and journalist in Poland since the 1940s, came out to his country in a celebratory interview about his life and career to mark his milestone 100th birthday," continued GayTimes.

March 20: Argentine basketball star Sebastián Vega kicked down the closet door in a social media post he titled "The truth sets us free!" In the post, Vega recalled the first time he had a sexual experience with another man — it was a moment that exploded his world. "I had just been with a man for the first time and could not accept it. That night was one of the worst I can remember. Not only because I could not enjoy it, but because it meant a definitive change in my life."

March 24: Ten-time Irish track & field champ Denis Finnegan came out of the closet during an appearance on the "Five Rings to Rule Them All" podcast, which is hosted by Cyd Zeigler. During his discussion with Zeigler, Finnegan sounded a familiar refrain of athletes who have increasingly started to emerge into the light, publicly embracing authenticity. "There are still people who are scared or unsure of what's happening, so I hope just telling my story might help one person notice there's more acceptance out there," Finnegan said.

April 9: Rebecca Black, best known for her 2011 viral hit "Friday," came out as queer on the "Dating Straight" podcast, revealing she recently broke up with a woman: "I made a conscious decision to not, like, 'come out,' " she explained. "People started asking and I stopped not responding. I'm still in the process, it feels like." She added: "Every day is different, it's something that over the past few years I've obviously been having a lot of conversations with myself about," Black said. "To me, the word 'queer' feels really nice. I have dated a lot of different types of people, and I just don't really know what the future holds. Some days, I feel a little more on the 'gay' side than others."

April 20: Athletes in different sports and at different levels — from pro sports to college teams — continued to pour out of the closet. The latest: A college hockey player who decided to brave coming out — and his teammates — with a moving letter. As several other athletes have done, 25-year-old Marian University player and Saskatchewan native Brock Weston came out to a wide audience in a piece published at Outsports. Where some other athletes have authored op-eds at the site — which covers LGBTQ news relevant to athletics — Weston shared the letter he read aloud to his teammates last year.

April 24: "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." alum J. August Richards plays a gay man on TV's "Council of Dads." Now he's come out as a gay man in real life, as well. Richards discussed his personal truth while talking about his groundbreaking character, who is a married gay Black man, with his co-star Sarah Wayne Callies on Instagram Live. The show airs on NBC and concerns a man living with cancer who fears he might not survive the disease. He has asked close friends to step in and help raise his children if he dies. Richards' character, Dr. Oliver Post, is part of the so-called "Council of Dads."

June 4: "Riverdale" star Lili Reinhart took to Instagram to come out as bisexual. Her announcement came in part of a post to support the Black Lives Matter movement. "Although I've never announced it publicly before, I am a proud bisexual woman," the "Hustlers" actor wrote in her Instagram Stories post, which includes a photo for the West Hollywood LGBTQ for #BlackLiveMatter protest taking place Wednesday. "I will be joining this protest," Reinhart, 23, added. "Come join." Her announcement comes after Page Six reported that she and her "Riverdale" costar Cole Sprouce, 23, broke up after three years of dating.

June 6: "Jurassic World" star Justice Smith took to Instagram and shared a moving post about the Black Lives Matter movement while coming out as queer. In his post, he tagged actor Nicholas Ashe ("Queen of Sugar"), and wrote to his 357,000 followers that they attended a Black Lives Matter protest in New Orleans, adding, "We chanted 'Black Trans Lives Matter,' 'Black Queer Lives Matter,' 'All Black Lives Matter.' "

"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 went on to write. "I want to reiterate this sentiment: if your revolution does not include Black Queer voices, it is anti-black. If your revolution is okay with letting black trans people like #TonyMcDade slip through the cracks in order to solely liberate black cishet men, it is anti-black."

June 19: A 90-year-old man from Colorado came out as gay, saying he decided to share his truth thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking with The Denver Post's The Know, Kenneth Felt opened up about his decision to live as an out and proud gay man in his 90s. Having recently told his friends and family, Felts was ready to finally be himself. "I've been in the closet all my life — deep in the closet, behind rows and rows of clothing. I'm way back there," he said.

June 23: In a heartfelt Instagram post, Pablo Alborán came out as gay. "Captioning his video, 'Tengo algo que deciros,' which translates to, 'I have something to tell you,' the 31-year old singer gets candid about his life and who he is," Entertainment Weekly reported. "I think that we often forget about the love that unites us, that makes us stronger," he explained. "Today, from that love, I have the need to share something very personal." Saying that he has always fought against racism, sexism, xenophobia, transphobia, homophobia and other types of hatred, the Grammy-nominated singer said: "I'm here to tell you that I am homosexual and it's OK."

June 26: Thomas Beattie, a professional soccer player from England, came out as gay in an emotional post published on ESPN. "My name is Thomas Beattie. I'm a brother, son, friend, former professional footballer, entrepreneur and annoyingly competitive lad," he writes. "I'm a lot of things, and one of them is gay." Beattie played professional soccer from 2008 to 2015, ESPN wrote. "A native of England, he came up through the Hull City youth academy, but his career took him across three continents as he searched for his true identity. This is his story, as told to Emily Kaplan," the site added.

June 28: Nikki Blonsky from the movie "Hairspray" came out as gay in a TikTok video with a little help from Diana Ross. "Hi, it's Nikki Blonsky and I'm coming out! #pride," Blonsky captioned her clip, which found the actor dancing to Ross's hit "I'm Coming Out." Just Jared pointed out how Blonsky responded to someone in the comments section of her video when asked if she really is coming out as gay. "It's incredibly true!!! Thank you so much for the love and support!" Blonsky wrote. Blonsky is best known for starring in the 2007 remake of the Broadway musical "Hairspray," based on John Waters' 1988 film, where she played the iconic role of Tracy Turnblad.

July 1: DJ Spencer Brown, the 26-year-old techno music producer who started his career under the auspices of England's electronic music group Above & Beyond and toured with the late Avicii, came out of the closet with a moving essay he contributed to Billboard. The essay, published June 29, recalled Brown's struggles as a teenager: "Imagine waking up daily with unshakable self-hate without knowing why.... crippling anxiety keeps you under your sheets... You try to suppress your natural feelings and emotions; you tell yourself that love is an idiotic fairytale."

July 8: Walk The Moon singer Nicholas Petricca came out as bisexual in an Instagram video on the last day of Pride, the Daily Mail reported. "I'm here to say I'm bisexual and I have feelings for, am attracted to, both and women, and I have had experiences with both men and women and I'm proud of it," the 33-year-old singer said. "My whole life I have passed for a 'normal person,' a cisgender straight guy, and this has afforded me a life of privilege, virtually no name-calling or bullying or hardship around my sexuality really at all."

July 20: Avery Wilson, who rose to fame when he appeared on the third season of "The Voice" when he was just 16, went viral with a tweet where he came out as bisexual on his birthday. "Entertainment Tonight" reported that Wilson simply tweeted, "I'm bisexual. Ok bye," adding a waving emoji, on July 18. That tweet has gone on to earn over 350,000 likes.

July 23: A best-selling Christian author took to social media to come out as gay and say that he would be divorcing his wife after 16 years of marriage. Matthew Paul Turner told his fans and followers that he would be splitting from his wife Jessica Turner in a lengthy post shared to Facebook and Instagram. The Daily Mail noted that the couple had three children together.

July 28: Luke Strong, a top-level British gymnast, burst out of the closet as bisexual in an appearance at "The LGBT Sport Podcast," which is produced by the BBC. Strong's Twitter profile notes that he is a "5x British Champion" and a "European & World Medalist!" A little more than 18 minutes into the podcast episode — titled "The One with Luke Strong" — the topic of conversation turned to the 26-year-old gymnast's bisexuality. Strong answered the question, "What's it been like for you, being an LGBT person in sports?" "Honestly," Strong replied, "it's not been too bad, really. I think like most people in the LGBTQ community, like, growing up is always a little bit difficult." Strong added that much of the harassment that came his way as a youth had to do with his sport, with the comments coming from people who thought that "gymnastics is a girls' sport."

July 28: There are many surprises in Mary Trump's book about her uncle, President Donald Trump, but what was likely the biggest to members of the LGBTQ community was that she is gay herself. It was a detail about her life that didn't emerge in the build-up to the book being released due, in part, to the litigation that all but put a gag order on her to do interviews beforehand. But if the book, which hit #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List, offers an informed and personal look at who is likely the most divisive President in history, it has also been criticized for lacking much personal insight into its author.

August 3: Swedish pop star Darin Zanyar came out as gay, reported Swedish news source Swensk Dam. Darin made the announcement at Instagram, on the occasion of gay pride in Sweden. "Everyone in the world should be able to be proud and accepted for who they are. I know how difficult it can be," Darin posted on Aug. 3. "Took me a while, but I am proud to be gay," Darin added. "Happy pride!" The Stockholm native became famous overnight in 2004 after appearing on the TV program "Idol" at the age of 16. Since then, Darin has become Sweden's biggest pop star, with seven No. 1 albums.

August 31: Sara Ramirez, who starred at Dr. Callie Torres on the hit television series "Grey's Anatomy," came out as gender nonbinary, NBC News reported.

This followed the coming out as bisexual of Ramirez's "Grey's Anatomy" character in 2009, and then Ramirez coming out as bisexual seven years later, in 2016, after the Pulse Nightclub shootings in Orlando. Ramirez explained to People: "Coming out publicly was something that I was afraid of because I was concerned that it would affect my career in a negative way... I was afraid of the discrimination I might face, not just outside Hollywood, but inside."

September 3: After receiving criticism from authors, fans, and trolls for being an allegedly straight woman cashing in on the LGBTQ community, "Love, Simon" author Becky Albertalli came out as bisexual, Metro Weekly reported. In "I Know I'm Late," an essay for Medium, Albertalli told her story, including talking about writing and promoting her young adult novels "Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda" (which was turned into the film "Love, Simon") and "Leah on the Offbeat."

September 9: Niecy Nash opened up about her marriage to singer Jessica Betts in an interview with People magazine. The "Claws" star shocked fans in August when she took to social media to share that she tied the knot, which also marked her first public relationship with a woman.

September 9: Rebecca Quinn, a member of Canada's national women's soccer team, publicly came out as trans in an Instagram post, Yahoo News reported. In addition to coming out, Quinn offered some tips for cisgender allies. In a June 30 post, Quinn had announced that they would be participating in Playing for Pride, which they described as "a soccer campaign that happens in the month of June to help support Athlete Allies," an advocacy group for LGBTQ equality.

September 14: 17-year-old Canadian hockey player Yanic Duplessis had recently shared his experience of coming out in an interview with Craig Eagles on the podcast "Out in the Open." As Outsports contended, "his story is familiar to any young person dealing with their sexuality, with the added pressure of being a talented hockey player drafted by two junior leagues, stepping stones to playing higher-level hockey, including the NHL."

September 17: Professional rugby star and boy band member Levi Davis came out as bisexual after years of battling a 'sense of shame' and feeling that he wasn't 'normal' reported the British website Metro. "The Bath rugby club winger, 22, told his teammates about his sexuality in their group Whatsapp and praised them for their support. Levi wrote: 'Hi guys. I just want to tell you something that's been eating away at me for four years now. I want to be open and honest with you boys, as friends and team-mates. I'm bisexual. It's something I have known since I was 18.' He ended the message by joking that, because of their appearance, "none of you lot are on my radar so it's OK."

September 27: Canadian actor François Arnaud came out on his Instagram stories account as bisexual in anticipation of Bivisibility Day (September 23). The 35-year old actor, best-known for playing Cesare Borgia on three seasons of Showtime's "The Borgias," did so via Instagram stories, reported the French website TÊTU.

"I'm sure a lot of guys feel the same bisexuals and made like me by letting people assume I was straight without ever correcting," he wrote on Instagram. "Maybe by afraid to say too much. Maybe in a sense of privacy. Probably because 'masculinity' is a fragile currency, ready to attack at the first signs of vulnerability or difference. And because it's fucking scary to say goodbye to your privilege, and without a doubt because bisexuality is still too attached to ideas of indecision, infidelity, deception and trendiness are still clinging to bisexuality."

October 19: Dalton Harris, winner of the U.K.'s "The X Factor" season 15 in 2008, appeared to have come out as pansexual, ET Canada reported. In a series of emotionally-charged Tweets, the Jamaican singer opened up about his turmoil following an apparent breakup of a relationship and subsequently struggling with suicidal thoughts:

On October 20: Matt Morton described himself as "a typical alpha-male footballer" in an interview with the British sports site SkySports. But two years earlier, the 30-year old player/manager of the non-league team Thetford Town had a revelation: He discovered he was sexually attracted to men. "It felt very surreal to me, but at the same time it felt very natural," he said.

October 20: Carole Baskin, one of the subjects of the popular true-crime Netflix series "Tiger King," came out as bisexual. "I have always considered myself to be bisexual," Baskin, 59, told PinkNews in an interview. "Even though I've never had a wife, I could just as easily have a wife as a husband ... I just don't see us as being different genders or different colors, or different anything." The "Dancing with the Stars" contestant went on to say that she came to the revelation while engaged to a psychologist involved in the LGBTQ community during the AIDS crisis in the '80s.

October 29: Top Norwegian soccer referee Tom Harald Hagen came out in an interview following a game in which a player hurled an anti-LGBTQ epithet at the opposition's coach, media sources reported. The news was celebrated at FIFA.com, which sketched in Hagen's career. "Hagen is a former FIFA referee, who officiated at the international level, particularly in European competitions and FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and is currently active in the Norwegian league," the site noted.

November 1: Dan Palmer, a former Australian rugby player, came out as gay, The Guardian reported. Aside from out Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas, Palmer is the only Australian rugby player to have come out so far. The former Wallabies player penned an emotional column for the Sydney Morning Herald in which he confided that hiding his sexual orientation while playing rugby led to a downward spiral, with him consuming "a heavy cocktail of opioids."

November 19: During the 19th and most recent season of "Family Guy," popular character Bruce finally came out as gay and married his boyfriend, NME reported. For years, Bruce's sexuality was the basis for many of the show's jokes — particularly in the most recent season, where he faced pressure to settle down with a woman and began dating Meg, even though the Griffins insisted that he was "obviously gay." Calling off their planned wedding, Meg encouraged him to come out, which led to Bruce and his boyfriend, Jeffrey, getting married in a ceremony officiated by lead character Peter Griffin.

December 2: Braunwyn Windham-Burke came out as gay, Page Six reported. The "Real Housewives of Orange County" star said in a new interview with GLAAD, "I like women. I'm gay. 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."

December 2: "Juno" and "The Umbrella Academy" star Elliot Page, formerly known as Ellen Page, took to social media to announce they are transgender, adding that he would be using he/they pronouns. "Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot," the actor, 33, wrote in the moving post. "I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life."

December 10: Clément Beaune, France's Minister for European Affairs, revealed in an interview published Dec. 9 that, "I am gay, and I have no problem saying it," Politico reported. Beaune was speaking to French magazine Têtu when he came out, media outlets said. France 24 noted that "Beaune, who has taken a prominent role in the Brexit negotiations, has not previously mentioned his sexual orientation in media interviews." However, Beaune said his silence had not been motivated by internalized homophobia. "I'm gay, and I'm happy with that," he told Têtu.

December 12: "Big Brother 16" star Zach Rance came out as bisexual and opened up about his relationship with Frankie Grande, who played on the same season as Rance in 2014. During a virtual chat with the Mental Health Collection and With Love, Alexa, which also included "Big Brother 21" star Tommy Bracco (who is openly gay), Rance, 30, opened up about his sexuality and said he hooked up with Grande, 37, who is Ariana Grande's older brother, People magazine reported. "I've been straight my entire life," he said. "I've only liked women, but on 'Big Brother,' Frankie and I got super, super close. I fell in love with who he was as a person. Super funny, super smart, good-looking guy, and as time went on we got so close I wasn't sure if I had feelings for him or not. I've always been straight, so it was never a thing to like guys."

December 14: Elite Alpine skier Hig Roberts came out, in part to encourage younger professional skiers to be comfortable with their sexuality. "Across men's sports in general, there are few openly gay athletes. In the four North American major leagues — the N.F.L., the N.B.A., the N.H.L. and M.L.B. — there are no active players who publicly identify as L.G.B.T.Q., though a handful of former athletes have come out in recent years," reported the New York Times in a story about one willing to come out. "Not being able to be who I am and not be able to be openly gay as a professional athlete was truly hindering my performance," Roberts said in an interview this month with The New York Times in which he came out publicly.

December 30: German actor Jannik Schümann came out in the sweetest way possible: With a monochromatic Instagram of himself in an embrace with his boyfriend, yoga instructor Félix Kruck, and a simple black heart emoji.

He posted the pic on Boxing Day (December 26), and was immediately swamped with heartwarming support. MEP Rasmus Andresen said in a tweet that the "coming out of actors still deserves to be in the news because there are many people in our society who are afraid to open up about their sexuality," reported the French website TÊTU.

December 30: A young man who came out to his grandparents found instant love and acceptance, and decided to share the inspiring moment. Good Morning America posted a heartwarming video about 22-year-old Anthony Tobiasz's journey to authenticity with his family.

"It's just you guys care a lot about me, so I just wanted you to know that I am gay," Tobiasz said in the video, which showed him speaking into his phone.

Without hesitation, his grandmother's voice came back to tell him: "Anthony, it makes absolutely no difference to me." As the young man began sobbing quietly in relief she added: "You are my grandson in spite of everything — I love you as you are."

December 31: Ending a year marked by numerous sports personalities coming out, professional rugby player Devin Ibañez came out with an empowering message and the sweetest pic. Outsports reported that Ibañez, who played with the New England Free Jacks in 2019, announced he is gay on social media.