How Sara Ramirez Came To Own Her Truth As A Queer, Bisexual Woman

Broadway and television star Sara Ramirez broke barriers when she played the openly bisexual doctor Callie Torres on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Owning her personal truth as a queer and bisexual woman off-screen, however, was a different matter. 

“I was concerned it would affect my career in a negative way. I was afraid of the discrimination I might face not just outside of Hollywood, but within,” Ramirez says in an interview for “Coming Out Stories,” a new video series produced by People and Entertainment Weekly.  

Witnessing incidents of anti-LGBTQ violence around the world, including the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, made Ramirez feel “an organic, incremental urgency to use my platform to empower those who are a part of these communities that I’m a part of,” and she came out at the 2016 True Colors Fund’s 40 to None Summit

Before the “Madam Secretary” actress made her speech, however, she decided to open up about her sexuality with friends during a movie night. 

Their response, however, was not nearly as dramatic as she’d anticipated.  

“Everyone was very supportive, very happy for me,” she recalled. “The reaction went something like, ‘Huh? Cool. Can we get back to the movie now?’”

These days, Ramirez feels very “lucky and privileged” to have the support of her friends, family and her chosen family. She had a few words, however, for what she’d tell her younger, less-confident self. 

“You’re good enough just the way you are,” she said. “Your voice matters, your feelings matter and you belong here. I love you.” 

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Megan Fox

In a 2011 "Esquire" interview, Megan Fox famously confirmed her bisexuality, stating, "I think people are born bisexual and then make subconscious choices based on the pressures of society. I have no question in my mind about being bisexual. But I'm also a hypocrite: I would never date a girl who was bisexual, because that means they also sleep with men, and men are so dirty that I'd never want to sleep with a girl who had slept with a man."

Billie Joe Armstrong

The Green Day front man reportedly opened up about his sexuality in a 1995 interview with The Advocate: "I think I've always been bisexual. I mean, it's something that I've always been interested in. I think everybody kind of fantasizes about the same sex. I think people are born bisexual, and it's just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of 'Oh, I can't.' They say it's taboo. It's ingrained in our heads that it's bad, when it's not bad at all. It's a very beautiful thing."

Margaret Cho

Comedian Margaret Cho has long been open about her sexuality. In August 2013, Cho discussed the semantics surrounding her open marriage to artist Al Ridenour, saying that she's "technically not able to stay with one person sexually because I’m bisexual,” and joking that she just “can’t stop up that hole.” She also identifies as queer, and opened up about her sexuality in an interview with HuffPost Gay Voices Editor-At-Large Michelangelo Signorile. Cho also blogs for The Huffington Post.

Clive Davis

Twice-married record executive and music mogul Clive Davis came out as bisexual in his 2013 memoir, titled The Soundtrack Of My Life. Davis opened up about two long-term relationships he had with men after his divorce from his second wife.

Anna Paquin

Anna Paquin is adamantly open about her bisexuality. The actress told "Zooey" magazine in a 2009 interview, "For me, it’s not really an issue because I’m someone who believes being bisexual is actually a thing. It’s not made up. It’s not a lack of decision."

Megan Mullally

After telling The Advocate in 2009 that she was bisexual, Mullally clarified her statements in an interview with Queerty, telling the blog: "I said that I thought that everybody is innately bisexual. I think there are different levels of awareness attached to that, so I may believe that everybody is innately bisexual, but somebody who is very homophobic may not see that quality in themselves in any way, shape or form. That’s on a very philosophical or even metaphysical level, you know what I mean? It’s not something that I think people are ready for yet. I think if you ask the average guy on the street if he was innately bisexual, he’d be like, ‘What the fuck are you talking about?’ and then he’d punch you in the face. So, we’re not quite there."

Azealia Banks

The rapper has been openly bisexual since the early days of her career: "I mean, I'm bisexual, so it makes sense. But I don't want to be that girl who says all gays necessarily hang out together, of course! I have people say to me, 'Oh wow, my friend is gay, too,' and I'm like, 'Yeah, so?'"

Andy Dick

Many people mistakenly assume that Andy Dick identifies as gay. However, he told The Washington Post in a 2006 interview that, "just because I've been with guys, and I'm bi, doesn't mean I'm gay."

Bai Ling

Actress Bai Ling is openly bisexuality -- and the identity category has often provided some humorous mix-ups involving her first name. According to GLAAD, she discussed it in-depth in a 2009 interview with Entertainment Weekly: "[A]t first when I was in the United States I didn't always have an interpreter in interviews and I didn't speak English so well. There was some confusion. My name is pronounced 'bi,' so when I was asked, 'Are you bi?' I said, 'Yes, I am Bai.' Do you like men? 'Of course!' Do you like women? 'Why yes!' And later I found out what that means and I said, 'Sure, I am bi!' But I think the interpreters and the reporters thought that I didn't know what I was saying because I was so open about it. They were uncomfortable about it. Such a thing is not important for me."

Carrie Brownstein

This "Portlandia" star and former guitarist and vocalist for Sleater-Kinney is often assumed to identify as gay. However, she told "Willamette Week" in 2012 that, "It’s weird, because no one’s actually ever asked me. People just always assume, like, you’re this or that. It’s like, ‘OK. I’m bisexual.’”

David Bowie

Though David Bowie has historically played coy surrounding his sexuality, he clarified the subject in a 1976 interview with "Playboy." "It's true -- I am a bisexual. But I can't deny that I've used that fact very well. I suppose it's the best thing that ever happened to me."

Snooki

This always-polarizing guidette sat down with The Huffington Post in February 2012 and sought to clarify her sexual preference. "I would consider myself bi. I've done stuff with girls before. But I would never be with a girl because I like... penis. But I've experimented."

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie has ben open about her sexuality for quite some time, having had numerous encounters and relationships with women, including model and actress Jenny Shimizu. She reportedly told OK Magazine that, "I have loved women in the past and slept with them. I think if you love and want to pleasure a woman, particularly if you are a woman yourself, then certainly you know how to do things a certain way."

Evan Rachel Wood

Evan Rachel Wood came out on Twitter in 2012: “I myself am bisexual and have always ‘joked’ about Miley giving me gay vibes. Not a bad thing! Just an observation.”

Amber Heard

Amber Heard has been openly bisexual for quite some time, and discussed this aspect of her identity in "Elle." The model and actress told reporters: "[I] didn't want to look like I was hiding anything."

Sapphire

The author of Push, the book that inspired the critically acclaimed film "Precious," describes herself as bisexual.

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore originally came out in an interview in Contact Magazine in 2003, saying, "Do I like women sexually? Yeah, I do. Totally. I have always considered myself bisexual... I love a woman's body. I think a woman and a woman together are beautiful, just as a man and a woman together are beautiful. Being with a woman is like exploring your own body, but through someone else."

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga has been open for quite some time about her bisexuality, initially coming out in a 2010 interview with Barbara Walters.

Frenchie Davis

This former "American Idol" and "The Voice" contestant came out in 2012, telling her fans that she had been in a relationship with a woman for the past year.

Vanessa Carlton

Musician Vanessa Carlton came out publicly at 2010's Nashville Pride, announcing to a crowd of 18,000 that, "I've never said this before, but I am a proud bisexual woman!"

Kesha

In a bold early 2013 interview, pop star Kesha opened up about her sexuality to reporters, saying that she is not only attracted to men. "I don't love just men," said the singer. "I love people. It's not about a gender. It's just about the spirit that exudes from that other person you're with." She also made a similar claim two years earlier to "Out" magazine: "I wouldn’t say I’m gay or straight -– I don’t like labeling things anyway. I just like people."

Fergie

The Black Eyed Peas front woman confirmed speculation surrounding her sexual identity in 2009 through an interview with The Advocate: "Q: After you discussed past sexual experiences with women in an interview with 'The Sunin May,' headlines everywhere read, 'Fergie Admits She’s Bisexual!' A: The funny thing is that I was very open and honest about that from the very beginning, and everyone was acting like it was some new trend. Go back four or five years, people, and you’ll see the same answer.

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Pete Townshend

In his memoir Who I Am: A Memoir by Pete Townshend, this musician confirmed that he is "probably bisexual" and cited his attraction to Mick Jagger, calling him "the only man I've ever seriously wanted to fuck."

Amber Rose

Kanye West's ex-girlfriend has long been perceived to be openly bisexual without actually addressing the way she identifies. In an interview with Complex magazine, the model sought to clarify the rumors: "They label me a bisexual freak stripper that fucks Kanye on a daily basis. To answer that: I’m extremely open with my sexuality. I can be in love with a woman, I can be in love with a man. I’m not into bestiality, but as far as humans go, I definitely find beauty in everybody, whether they’re heavy-set, super-skinny, if they’re white, black, Indian, Asian, Spanish. I can see beauty in anybody. I’m not into threesomes or orgies and shit like that. If I see a women and I think she’s beautiful and I like her, and she likes me back we can definitely try to be in a relationship together."

Cynthia Nixon

Currently married to wife Christine Marinoni, Nixon confirmed in a January 2012 interview with The Daily Beast that she is bisexual. The "Sex And The City" star stated, "I don’t pull out the 'bisexual' word because nobody likes the bisexuals. Everybody likes to dump on the bisexuals... We get no respect."

Jillian Michaels

The first lady to ever come out in "Lady's Home Journal" as bisexual, "Biggest Loser" coach and personal trainer Jillian Michaels told the magazine in 2010: “Let’s just say I believe in healthy love. If I fall in love with a woman, that’s awesome. If I fall in love with a man, that’s awesome. As long as you fall in love… it’s like organic food. I only eat healthy food, and I only want healthy love!”

Kim Zolciak

"Real Housewives Of Atlanta" star Kim Zolciak was in public relationships with both the mysterious "Big Poppa" and DJ Tracy Young before marrying Kroy Biermann. In a 2010 interview with Life & Style, interviewers posed the following question for the reality queen: "Q: Do you feel you're giving a voice to other bisexual parents? A: I'm among the millions of parents who have been in a gay or lesbian relationship. It hasn't been an easy road lately, but I feel there are no mistakes in my life. Everything happens for a reason. To have the opportunity to speak for myself and to have people understand what I'm going through is really special. I myself was confused and scared at first. Being able to speak from my heart and get this all out, it's a huge relief for me."

Tila Tequila

Tila Tequila is not one to shy away from anything. The former Myspace celebrity did several reality shows centered around identifying as bisexual, beginning with "A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila." She was also the girlfriend of Casey Johnson, the Johnson & Johnson heiress, who passed away in 2010.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.