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LGBTQ visibility has notably increased in recent years, including and especially in Hollywood.
A variety of celebrities — like Troye Sivan, Ellen DeGeneres, and Billy Eichner — identify as gay.
Others — like Miley Cyrus, Tessa Thompson, Demi Lovato, and Ezra Miller — prefer not to use strict labels to describe their sexual orientations.
Elliot Page and Laverne Cox are two of the most visible transgender actors in history, while stars like Asia Kate Dillon and Sam Smith identify as non-binary.
Here are 31 prominent celebrities who are out, proud, and advocate for LGBTQ rights.
A variety of stars, from Ellen DeGeneres to Troye Sivan, came out as gay early in their careers. Others claim more fluid identities and advocate for a more open-minded society. But all 31 celebrities on this list are out, proud, and actively fight for LGBTQ rights.
Elliot Page described himself as trans and queer in a letter to fans.
The "Umbrella Academy" star, who was nominated for an Academy Award for the 2007 film "Juno," clarified his name and pronouns in a letter shared on Twitter.
"I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life," he wrote. "I feel overwhelming gratitude for the incredible people who have supported me along this journey. I can't begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self."
In the letter, Page denounced politicians "who work to criminalize trans health care and deny our right to exist," and "all of those with a massive platform who continue to spew hostility towards the trans community."
He added: "I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive."
"I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission," the actor said. "I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I'm standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain."
Lil Nas X made waves when he came out at the height of his "Old Town Road" fame.
The rapper and bonafide country star opened up about overcoming his internalized homophobia on HBO's "The Shop."
"For me, the cool dude with the song on top of everything to say this — any other time, 'I'm doing this for attention,' in my eyes. But if you're doing this while you're at the top, you know it's for real and it's showing it doesn't really matter, I guess," he said.
Halsey actively fights against bisexual erasure.
Halsey is also vocal about the challenges that come with being bisexual, including erasure and misconceptions about it being a "phase."
"I'm a young, bisexual woman, and I've spent a large part of my life trying to validate myself — to my friends, to my family, to myself — trying to prove that who I love and how I feel is not a phase. It's not part of some confusion that's going to change or could be manipulated," she said in a GLAAD Media Awards speech in 2018.
Fans of Brendon Urie have always seen him as a queer icon.
As the front man of Panic! at the Disco, Brendon Urie became known for rejecting stereotypical masculinity, toying with androgyny, and embracing sexuality.
"I'm married to a woman and I'm very much in love with her but I'm not opposed to a man because to me, I like a person," he told Paper magazine in 2018. "Yeah, I guess you could qualify me as pansexual because I really don't care. If a person is great, then a person is great. I just like good people, if your heart's in the right place. I'm definitely attracted to men. It's just people that I am attracted to."
Janelle Monáe has opened up about her "free" sexuality.
"Being a queer black woman in America, someone who has been in relationships with both men and women — I consider myself to be a free-ass motherf---er," Monae said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
As the article makes clear, Monae first identified as bisexual.
"But then later I read about pansexuality and was like, 'Oh, these are things that I identify with too,'" Monae said. "I'm open to learning more about who I am."
Tessa Thompson revealed that she's "attracted to men and also to women" in 2018.
"I don't think any artist has the responsibility to be the ambassador, especially when it comes to who you love," she recently told Time. "I don't begrudge anyone who wants to keep that separate from their professional life. There's not just a perceived risk of coming out in Hollywood. There's a real one."
Laverne Cox is one of the most recognizable trans actors of all time.
"I think it's important to be able to be like, 'Yes, your shoulders are broad, yes your hands are big and your voice is deep and you're really tall and people notice you, and that makes you noticeably trans, but that doesn't make you any less beautiful,'" she told Self magazine. "You're not beautiful despite those things, you're beautiful because of those things, and [believing] that has to be an active conscious process."
"I'm sexy and I'm going to own that because I think trans women are sexy," she continued. "A lot of us are sexy not despite our transness, but because of our transness. That's just the truth."
Ellen DeGeneres has long been a pioneer for the LGBTQ community.
On a 1997 episode of her ABC sitcom "Ellen" — one week after her famous "Yep, I'm Gay" Time magazine cover — DeGeneres' titular character came out onscreen.
As Kevin Fallon wrote for the Daily Beast, "It's easy to forget, given DeGeneres' status as daytime talk show queen and America's resident BFF, how controversial, brave, and even damaging the decision to come out on an ABC sitcom was in 1997, the first time a character ever did so."
The episode won a Peabody Award and an Emmy, but DeGeneres' career suffered for years as a result of her public sexuality.
"It was surprising how many people I upset. I was a comedian, I was funny, and I just also happened to be gay, and I just got tired of hiding it," she said on her talk show in 2017, reflecting on the 20th anniversary of her "coming out" episode.
We are all individual, we are all unique, and we are supposed to be that exact person," she continued. "We're not supposed to conform, we're not supposed to be like somebody else, we're not supposed to act like somebody else — and as long as you stay true to exactly who you are, you will be rewarded in ways that you can't imagine."
Jim Parsons has taken roles that amplify and explore the experiences of gay men.
Parsons publicly came out as gay in a 2012 New York Times feature, which explored his role as a young gay activist onstage in "The Normal Heart," a Broadway show that grapples with AIDS.
"Once it was out in the public, I was like, 'Well, f--- you! If you still have a problem with gay people, you directly have a problem with me,'" he recently told Variety. "Being a full-fledged member of it and claiming it, there was just an elation there, and there still is! I still feel it. It's a huge relief, and it's also really nice to sometimes be able to feel righteous anger."
The actor is set to star in a Netflix adaptation of the drama "The Boys in the Band" alongside fellow gay actors Matt Bomer and Zachary Quinto. The story follows group of gay men who find solace in each other, amidst their struggles in a close-minded society.
Hayley Kiyoko is known by her fans as "Lesbian Jesus."
Kiyoko hopes that, by singing about her own experiences and featuring same-sex love stories in her videos, she can help queer fans accept themselves.
"That's the whole reason for doing pop music and being in the mainstream and being bold: trying to showcase not [being] scared. I don't want people to be like, 'Well, my life's gonna suck for the next 10 years.' No! Your life can be amazing now," she told The Guardian.
Kehlani has written songs about loving both men and women.
Kehlani clarified that she's "queer, not bi, not straight," in a series of tweets in 2018 — but the singer has long been a visible member of the LGBTQ community, particularly after the release of her 2017 love song "Honey."
"I mean, I've been making music about women my whole career, but I never felt the need to write 'she,' necessarily. It wasn't in the forefront of my mind," she later said in an interview with The Fader. "But now I've seen how people reacted to my song 'Honey,' or when I've used the correct pronouns and put women in my music videos. Just seeing how much people felt like they needed that representation or how much it inspired them definitely encouraged me to step into this new phase of making music."
Asia Kate Dillon is the first non-binary actor with a starring role on American TV.
"I would have never wanted to play Taylor if it had been a one-off episode and in that episode it would have been all about their gender identity," Dillon told NBC News. "If it hadn't been a fully fleshed-out character, I wouldn't have wanted to do it, because that representation is old hat, frankly, and not interesting. Non-binary people are multi-dimensional human beings."
Demi Lovato says she's "very fluid."
"I think love is love," Lovato told InStyle. "You can find it in any gender. I like the freedom of being able to flirt with whoever I want."
Billy Porter advocates for better roles for gay actors.
"None of this was easy," he wrote. "I lost high-profile roles I knew I could have gotten, and the paychecks that went with them. Homelessness and bankruptcy were part of this journey as well."
He reflected on his evolution as a gay man in theater, his recent success on Broadway, and FX's "Pose," and his refusal to keep playing stereotypes.
"The world has caught up with me," he concluded, "and I'm a living witness that dreams do come true, even if they aren't the ones you start out with."
Lauren Jauregui has invoked her bisexuality to make a political statement.
"I am a bisexual Cuban-American woman and I am so proud of it," Jauregui wrote in an open letter to Trump voters. "I am proud to be part of a community that only projects love and education and the support of one another."
Kim Petras has spoken candidly about embracing her trans identity at a young age.
Petras, who came out as trans at a young age, opened up about feeling "suicidal" in the wrong body in a 2018 video for MTV. The German pop star began hormone therapy at age 12 and has never shied away from discussing her identity since her rise to fame. She was nominated this year for GLAAD's Outstanding Music Artist award.
"I want to be a role model for young trans kids," Petras told the Washington Post. "My whole teen life was dedicated to saying, 'Look, I'm transgender, I'm a normal person.' I always want to keep fighting for the LGBTQ community because that's been my home."
Lucas Hedges says he exists on the LGBTQ spectrum.
"I owe it to this part to speak as honestly as possible," Hedges told Vulture about his film "Boy Erased," which deals with conversion therapy.
"In the early stages of my life, some of the people I was most infatuated with were my closest male friends," he continued. "That was the case through high school, and I think I was always aware that while for the most part I was attracted to women, I existed on a spectrum. Not totally straight, but also not gay and not necessarily bisexual."
Evan Rachel Wood says "labels are tricky," but has historically fought for bisexual visibility.
"I prefer 'queer,'" Wood wrote on Twitter in 2013. "Bisexual works too except I don't exclude transgender people. This is why labels are tricky."
The "Westworld" actress then addressed a variety of biphobic assumptions in a series of tweets in 2015.
"I can assure you that whatever 'straight privilege' I sometimes get accused of having, gets erased by #biphobia," she wrote. "Remember, bisexuality doesn't mean halfway between gay or straight. It is its own identity."
Miley Cyrus has spoken openly about the roles of gender and sexuality in her career - and, more recently, her relationships.
"We're redefining, to be f---ing frank, what it looks like for someone that's a queer person like myself to be in a hetero relationship," she told Vanity Fair after marrying her longtime love, Liam Hemsworth.
"A big part of my pride and my identity is being a queer person," she continued. "What I preach is: People fall in love with people, not gender, not looks, not whatever. What I'm in love with exists on almost a spiritual level. It has nothing to do with sexuality."
Before he found success in the music industry, Troye Sivan came out as a YouTuber in 2013.
Sivan addressed his sexuality in a 2013 video on his popular YouTube channel, titled "Coming Out."
"This is not something that I'm ashamed of, and it's not something that anyone should have to be ashamed of," he said.
He followed he candid video with a "Part 2" in 2015 and now, as a pop star and actor, Sivan has continued to openly discuss his experiences as a gay man. He's also a vocal advocate for intersectional support of the LGBTQ community.
"The first step and the hardest step is coming out to yourself," he told Dazed in 2016. "Realizing who you are and your identity — once you've gotten past that process — make sure you're in a safe environment. And if you feel it is a safe environment, I would highly, highly recommend coming out. I can speak from personal experience and say it's been the best thing I've ever done in my entire life."
Kristen Stewart, who identifies as bisexual, famously joked about being "so gay" on "Saturday Night Live."
"You're not confused if you're bisexual," she told The Guardian in 2017. "It's not confusing at all. For me, it's quite the opposite."
Stewart also spoke to the complexity that comes with having her sexuality in the spotlight.
"I mean, it's hard to talk about," Steward said. "I don't want to seem presumptuous, because everyone has their own experience. The whole issue of sexuality is so grey. I'm just trying to acknowledge that fluidity, that grayness, which has always existed. But maybe only now are we allowed to start talking about it."
Billy Eichner uses his platform to support pro-LGBTQ political candidates and increase representation in Hollywood.
As Brent Lang wrote in a profile of Eichner for Variety, "On social media, he's become one of the most vocal gay voices of the resistance" and frequently urges his fans to get involved politically.
Notably, the comedian recently confirmed his role in "an R-rated romantic comedy about two men with commitment problems" from Judd Apatow's production company. According to Variety, this makes Eichner the first openly gay man to write and star in a major studio movie.
"I'm honored that it's me, but it should have been someone else 30 or 40 years ago," he told Variety. "I hear people talking about diversity and inclusion, but I often see gay people left out of those conversations. The comedy community, which has always been such a straight man's game, has not been kind to openly gay men, and I still see so much homophobia when it comes to casting."
Sia revealed she identifies as queer in 2013.
In 2017, for Billboard's "Love Letter to the LGBTQ Community" series, Sia wrote that she "decided to dedicate myself to the queer community in a more meaningful way."
The singer largely used her brief letter to spotlight the struggles and many-varied faces within the LGBTQ community.
"I am so very grateful for my queer community and would have withered away long ago without them," she wrote. "Specifically my manager David, who has held my hand now for 12 years, through light and dark. He recently came out publicly as HIV positive, and the transformation of his shame into self acceptance has been magic to watch. I am so happy and proud of him."
Ezra Miller has publicly embraced gender fluidity, polyamory, and queerness.
"The way I would choose to identify myself wouldn't be gay," Miller told The Daily Beast in 2012. "I've been attracted mostly to 'shes,' but I've been with many people and I'm open to love wherever it can be found."
Miller told GQ in 2018 that his gender identity is fluid and he's "comfortable with all the pronouns."
In a more recent interview with Playboy, Miller called himself a "sexual being" and said he's been exploring polyamorous relationships: "I'm trying to find queer beings who understand me as a queer being off the bat."
When Kesha falls in love, she says it's "not about a gender."
"I don't love just men. I love people," Kesha told Seventeen Magazine. "It's not about a gender. It's just about the spirit that exudes from that other person you're with."
Sara Ramirez, who played the longest-running queer series regular in TV history, came out as bisexual in 2018.
Ramirez told Huffpost that she waited to come out because she was worried it would negatively affect her career. In the time since, she's become a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community.
"Because of the intersections that exist in my own life: woman, multi-racial woman, woman of color, queer, bisexual, Mexican-Irish American, immigrant, and raised by families heavily rooted in Catholicism on both my Mexican and Irish sides, I am deeply invested in projects that allow our youth's voices to be heard," Ramirez said during a speech at True Colors Fund's 40 to None Summit.
Cara Delevingne doesn't hesitate to respond to bigotry about her bisexuality.
"Why should I have to explain who I am to you?" the supermodel-turned-actress added in 2017. "You should know that. If you have a question, ask me and I'll tell you what you want to know. People should be allowed to just be who they are and others need to stop putting others in a box."
Amandla Stenberg identifies as gender non-binary and pansexual.
"Gender and sexuality are so fluid. It's OK to change your mind a million times and figure out what works for you. It's OK to take your time," Stenberg told Seventeen magazine in 2018. "I love that we have this umbrella term of 'queer,' and so many things can exist underneath it, but I realized that part of my journey was hiding underneath that umbrella, because I was scared — on a personal and a public level — to confront what I was."
"It was easier for me to say 'I'm bi' or "I'm pan' as I was figuring it out," they continued. "But I came to a place where I felt really proud of my sexuality, and I decided I wanted to share that pride."
Frank Ocean's celebrated music often explores his relationships with men.
Just before the release of his debut album, "Channel Orange," Ocean posted an intimate note on his Tumblr that clarified its inspiration.
"Four summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too," Ocean wrote. "It was my first love, it changed my life."
"I don't have any secrets I need kept anymore," he continued. "I feel like a free man."
While Ocean has largely avoided any specific label, many fans interpret his 2017 single "Chanel" as an exploration of bisexuality.
Neil Patrick Harris came out as gay in 2006.
In his 2014 memoir, "Choose Your Own Autobiography," Harris reflected on his experience with coming to terms with his sexuality.
"After a long internal journey, you now embrace being gay, recognizing it as a wonderful and integrally important component part of the totality that is you," he wrote.
Sam Smith, who identifies as non-binary and genderqueer, recently said they "decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out."
In September, the "Stay With Me" singer began using "they/them" pronouns: "After a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out," they wrote on Instagram.
"I am at no stage just yet to eloquently speak at length about what it means to be non binary," they continued, "but I can't wait for the day that I am. So for now I just want to be VISIBLE and open."
Smith had previously opened up about their fluid approach to sexuality and how they "float somewhere in between" male and female during an interview with Jameela Jamil.
"Non-binary, genderqueer is that you do not identify in a gender," Smith said. "You are a mixture of all different things. You are your own special creation. That's how I take it. I'm not male or female, I think I float somewhere in between. It's all on a spectrum. I think the same with sexuality."
Read the original article on Insider