Ever since celebrities like Ellen Degeneres and Elton John became the symbol of the gay rights movement and have come out as being gay, it has become more usual to see one celebrity or another coming out.
When Degeneres came out on a Time magazine cover in Feb. 1997, she had no idea that she would become a representation of a much larger movement. “I didn’t think it was going to be that much of a surprise,” Degeneres said. “What hurt was this: Does that label, that word, change my talent, my kindness, my heart, my intention for entertaining other people?”
According to Rolling Stone, Elton John came out in their magazine in 1976. Since then, he has spoken up as well for the gay community. When Russia started to take actions against what they called “gay propaganda,” John responded. “It’s not gay propaganda,” John said. “It’s how I express life.”
Other well-known names that have come out include Raven Symone from “That’s So Raven,” who came out on Twitter in 2013, according to People Magazine. “I can finally get married!” Symone tweeted after the Supreme Court decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.
Victor Garber, well known for his roles in Titanic and Alias, came out more subtly. “I don’t really talk about it, but everyone knows,” Garber said to The Huffington Post. Garber never “came out,” but simply began talking more openly about his partner, Rainer Andreesen.
Sir Ian McKellan, affectionately referred to as “Gandalf,” came out at age 49 during a BBC radio interview in 1988 and has been a high-profile gay rights activist ever since. “When people are worrying about coming out, they’re worried about what other people will think, they’re worried about whether they’ll lose the love of their family,” McKellan said, according to HuffPost.
More recently, Jason Collins came out in April 2013 in Sports Illustrated, according to ESPN. Collins plays as a center in the NBA and is the first athlete playing in a major American team sport to come out as openly gay, taking a huge step.
Thanks to these high profile celebrities coming out, changes are being instated and people are beginning to change their views. “Contact with actual gay people,” Lisa Wade, a professor of sociology at Occidental College, said, “and probably lovable gay and lesbian celebrities like Ellen and Neil Patrick Harris — appears to be changing minds.”
Alex Houdeshell, Staff Writer
Alex Houdeshell is a staff writer for the 2014-2015 Colonel. She is the Design Editor of Ledyard’s Horizons Yearbook, plays JV soccer, runs distance in indoor and outdoor track, and is President of Operation Smile.