So much happened in 2014 aside from Ellen taking that super epic selfie at the Oscars ceremony. Lena Dunham landed the cover of Vogue and broke barriers with Photoshopping when she came out about the severely photoshopped images. It was also the year that Shia LaBeouf officially started acting like a cuckoo banana and wore a paper bag over his face to an awards show that was clearly labeled “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE”. This was even the year that little Justin Bieber was arrested for a driving under the influence which produced that baby faced little mugshot that we all know and love.
Something else that happened in 2014 was that these fifteen people came out to the public and in some cases even their friends & families. From the music industry to the professional athletic industry to the acting community; there are LGBTQ people in every aspect of the world. The more people that are able to exist while being themselves makes life easier for the younger generation of LGBTQ people growing up in the world. Being accepting and understanding of the journey that each person has makes it simple to agree with gay rights issues and each of these celebrities has done their part to raise awareness for LGBTQ struggles with coming out.
15. Billy Gilman
This young man got his big break at the ripe age of 11 when his first album went platinum in 2000. Since then he has put out five country albums that have performed pretty well on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart. He was actually the youngest artist to ever break into the Top 20 songs of that very chart which made him well known in the country world. This year the artist came back and tried out to compete on the hit television singing show The Voice where his parents revealed that he had come out two years before in 2014. They were supportive and constructive and the family unit seems to be functioning quite well as a whole.
When he performed on The Voice Gilman got praise from all four judges and two of them actually remembered him from his childhood fame. Adam Levine was the first to turn around and then Miley, and Shelton remembered Gilman’s hit song “One Voice” on the show as well. The artist continued to the Knockout Round, we’ll see how he performs in his future endeavors.
14. Jim Ferlo
From 2003-2013 Jim Ferlo represented the 38th Senatorial District as a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate. Born in Rome, New York to Italian immigrants Ferlo was one of 10 children. He credits much of his legislative abilities to dealing with the constant sibling quarrels spouting off around him growing up. Before he was elected Ferlo was a very liberal activist in the community of Pittsburgh which is how he got involved in politics to begin with. In 1987 he was elected to the Pittsburgh City Council and served there for 15 diligent years before he was elected to the State Senate in 2002.
The Democratic Senator came out publicly as gay in September of 2014 which served as his last year elected since he did not run again in 2015. For those last months that he served as senator for the counties of Allegheny, Westmoreland and Armstrong he was the first openly gay senator of Pennsylvania.
13. Tyler Glenn
Glenn is the lead singer for hit Indie band Neon Trees and grew up in Temecula, California and Utah. Growing up the young man was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and even went on his mission after high school to spread the word of the Mormon faith. The band got their start in Utah and became big in the Provo and Salt Lake City crowd before they made it big. Their first album had a number one hit on the Billboard Alternative Charts and Glenn had officially made it big, so he didn’t feel like he had to hide from himself any longer.
In a Spring interview with Rolling Stone magazine Tyler Glenn came out as gay and spoke about how hard it was to hide his sexuality throughout his very religious life. The young man said that he knew he was gay when he was a very young boy, citing growing up and dating girls while he was in love with his straight friend, that is no way to live. The artist is working on a controversial new album entitled Excommunication that will surely continue these themes.
12. Ty Herndon
In the mid ‘90s American country singer Ty Herndon came out with his first country album entitled What Mattered Most and followed it up with another country album only a year later. Born in Mississippi and raised in Alabama, Herndon had country coursing through his veins from birth and grew up playing the piano and singing gospel music. He got his start playing theme parks and small venues until finally hitting it big in 1995. By 2000 the radio was no longer playing his tunes and the artist had hit a big wall in the industry with his last two singles failing to breach Top 40.
The actor made headlines in 2014 for exposing himself to a police officer in a park in Fort Worth which led the country world to ask about his sexuality in 2014. When he came out the singer said that his marriages were only for show since he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to be in country music and openly gay.
11. Andreja Pejic
Breaking barriers as a trans woman and Australian model, Pejic voices out to everyone questioning who they are to stay strong and just be themselves. It was in 2014 that Pejic made the move from androgynous male model to openly trans woman. Pejic is a Bosnian Serb born in Tuzla, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and has one older brother named Igor. The whole family fled during the Bosnian War to Serbia and after spending some time in the refugee camp settled in a small village near Svilajnac. After the NATO bomb in Yugoslavia Pejic’s mother decided they must flee again and began the process of immigration to Australian. It was there that Pejic was discovered for modeling. The story is either that just before her 17th birthday Pejic was scouted as a model while working at McDonald’s or it also goes that she was discovered while still in high school when swimming at the local pool. Either way, this fierce model has booked tons of high fashion and remains a young pillar in the LGBTQ community.
10. Daniel Franzese
Best known for his role in hit movie Mean Girls as ‘too gay to function’ Damien Franzese often says he doesn’t get parts because he is gay. In 2014 the actor came out as gay to the public although his friends and family had known for some time. Since Mean Girls he has starred in multiple television series, shows, and movies. He has even leaped into curating art and held his first show entitled Halloween which examined money, vanity, celebrity and Halloween itself. A year later in 2008 the young man hosted depARTed a show that was inspired by those that died before their time. The art was inspired by the famous icons Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland along with Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. The artists featured included KRK Ryden and Jessicka among others. In an adorable story, Franzese recently proposed to his now fiance with a public display of affection in the Starbucks where they met.
9. Samira Wiley
This is one of those great stories where there was no big coming out moment, the actress just got to be who she was from day one. That is possibly because of her openly gay role on Orange is the New Black. Samira Wiley was named OUT100 Magazine’s Ingenue of the Year in 2014 which was the actress’s first notoriety in the public eye. Wiley was born in Washington D.C. to two Baptist Minister parents who openly and lovingly accepted her for who she was. The actress and activist attributes much of her success to this accepting space that she had the opportunity to grow up in. For speaking out about this beautiful aspect of her life Wiley was given the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award. In 2015 the entire ensemble of Orange is the New Black was awarded the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
8. Ian Thorpe
This Australian swimmer specializes in Freestyle but also likes to compete in the individual medley and backstroke competitions. Ian Thorpe was born in Sydney, Australia to a sporting family that lived in the suburbs. He first began to swim when he was only 5. His sister Christina was told to start swimming to stay in shape despite a broken wrist and young Ian followed her to the pool. He was exceptionally large for his age and despite an allergy to chlorine that forced him to swim with an awful form, he still won his races. Thorpe eventually got over his allergy and first started getting awards and captaincies in 1994 at the age of 12. He competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics but hasn’t been able to qualify since then, due to a combination of other talent, sickness, and injury. Try not to feel too bad for him though as Thrope has won five Olympic gold medals, which is more than any other Australian. Thorpe came out publicly on British television in 2014 after denying his sexuality to the media for ages.
7. Kristian Nairn
Nairn is an Irish actor and DJ who we all know and love as Hodor from the popular HBO television show Game of Thrones. The actor is almost 7’ tall at 6’11’’ and played the beloved and maybe deceased character that accompanied Bran for most of the series. On a Game of Thrones fan site Nairn came out as gay but did make sure to say that his personality is a billion things more than just his sexuality but he thinks there’s something to be said for “standing up and being counted.” In his off time from Game of Thrones Nairn is a progressive house DJ, he’s actually the resident house DJ of a gay club in Belfast named Kremlin. Hodor went on a tour entitled Rave of Thrones across the US and Australia in the Fall and Winter of 2014. He currently has more than 25,000 followers on Soundcloud and 25 tracks so we can check out what he does besides “hold the door.”
6. Ellen Page
Small in stature but huge in hilarity, Ellen Page got her start acting in such slapstick comedy as Trailer Park Boys. Her breakthrough role was as pregnant teen opposite Michael Cera in the 2007 comedy Juno. Juno earned the young actress countless nominations and some awesome awards including an Independent Spirit Award and an MTV Movie Award. She is somewhat controversial as a pro-choice feminist, atheist and vegan but it took her some time to come out as a lesbian.
On Valentine’s Day in 2014, the actress came out while giving a speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s “Time to Thrive” conference in Las Vegas. That same year she was included in The Advocate’s “40 under 40” list. Ellen Page has been in a relationship with artist and surfer Samantha Thomas since Fall of 2015 and has discussed the relationship with none other than the first out lesbian herself Ellen Degeneres on her talk show.
5. Derrick Gordon
Gordon was a shooting guard for Seton Hall University and some other colleges after attending University of Massachusetts-Amherst where he played for two seasons before graduating. Gordon started in all 33 games that he played for the UMass Minutemen. Derrick Gordon is from Plainfield, New Jersey where he grew up with a twin and regular brother. He first started feeling like he might be gay when he was in middle school and waited until April 2014 to come out to his family and teammates at UMass. Later in that same year, he revealed that he was in a relationship with actor Gerald McCullouch. After coming out, Gordon was the first openly gay basketball player to play in the NCAA on a Division 1 team. In 2016, just two years later, Gordon was the first player to compete in three different teams in the NCAA tournament after transferring to Western Kentucky and becoming a Hilltopper.
4. Michael Sam
As a professional defensive end in the National Football League, Michael Sam has fallen a bit more flat than was predicted. He was drafted in the 7th round as the 249th player chosen to the St. Louis Rams; this was a sad occasion since he was predicted as a third or fourth round pick. Before being drafted Michael Sam played at the University of Missouri and won Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year which raised the eyebrows of NFL scouts. Right after his last college season Michael Sam came out as gay, a risky move just before the NFL draft.
The athlete was cut at the end of training camp for the St. Louis Rams and quickly moved on to the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys until he was waived for Troy Davis. He has since moved on to the Canadian Football League playing on the Montreal Alouettes where he is the first openly gay player in the CFL.
3. Sam Smith
Born in London, England Smith has always had a love for singing and attended Youth Music Theater UK and was featured in some awesome Jazz bands. In May 2014 Smith released his first studio album with Capitol Records UK with the lead single “Lay Me Down” and fabulous follow up “Money on my Mind”. The real breakthrough for the 2014 album was the third released single “Stay With Me” which reached famously international success. His US debut was made on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and he followed the performance up quite quickly with an appearance and performance on Saturday Night Live. The following year Sam Smith was nominated for a whopping six Grammy awards and walked home with a total of four wins. Right after he hit fame Smith came out as gay and revealed that he was in a relationship with Jonathan Zeizel. The relationship has ended but in his acceptance speech for his Grammy, Smith thanked him for breaking his heart and inspiring the album.
This actress has been famous since she was a small girl starring on The Cosby Show. Since the actress, singer, comedian, dancer, talk show host and television producer has really branched out in the entertainment industry. The singer has released four studio albums and gone on two national tours. Mostly she has released work on television in shows like Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper and That’s So Raven that millennials seem to remember with faint affection.
Many speculated about the actresses sexual orientation and she was quick to tell them to shove it. She believes that there is no need for spectacle about something that is so private and personal. Since then she was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and Symone spoke about her beloved girlfriend. The actress and singer let the talk show host know that she doesn’t like to be understood by her sexual orientation, that she a human that loves humans despite any gender or preoccupation.
1. Tim Cook
The CEO of Apple Inc. became the very first Chief Executive of a Fortune 500 company to come out openly as gay. Cook was made Chief Executive in 2011 after joining Apple in 1998 as senior vice president and then rising to Executive Vice President of worldwide sales and operations. Aside from his work with Apple Cook serves on the Board of Directors at Nike, Inc. and the National Football Foundation. In his time as Chief Executive at Apple Tim Cook has been an advocate for environmental preservation, American manufacturing, cybersecurity, corporate taxation worldwide and surveillance reformation. He was awarded one million shares by Apple in 2012 that would be released over the period of 10 years and has since promised that all of his shares would be donated to charity. The executive is very private and even works out at a private off-site gym to maintain his privacy, no one really knows who he is dating but we do know from his public image that he’s a good-natured individual.