Oct. 11 marks National Coming Out Day and we at EBONY are throwing our support behind the LGBTQ community for their bravery in sharing their truth to the world.
Whether you knocked that closet door down 20 years ago or today, or if you decided to take some more time before coming out to your family and friends, we celebrate you.
Check out four famous figures who came out in 2018.
Singer Janelle Monáe came out as a queer in an interview with Rolling Stone in April, telling the magazine that she’s been in relationships with both men and women.
“Being a queer black woman in America,” she says. “Someone who has been in relationships with both men and women–I consider myself to be a free-a** motherf****r.”
The actress, who starred in the gay coming of age drama Moonlight in 2016, had identified as bisexual but said that she “read about pansexuality” and that she identified with it and that she’s “open to learning more about who I am.”
In February, Monáe released the bisexual anthem “Make Me Feel,” which starred her then-rumored girlfriend Tessa Thompson.
Tessa Thompson spoke openly about being bisexual in June and seemingly confirmed her relationship with her “Make Me Feel” partner Monáe.
“Janelle and I love each other deeply. We’re so close, we vibrate on the same frequency. If people want to speculate about what we are, it doesn’t bother me,” Thompson told Net-A-Porter.
She said that her family being open-minded has helped her with a journey to discovering her sexuality.
“[In my family] you can be anything you want to be. I’m attracted to men and also to women. If I bring a woman home, [or] a man, we don’t even have to have the discussion.”
Thompson will reunite with her lady love again on screen in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp reboot.
In 2016, Amandla Stenberg came out as bisexual on Teen Vogue’s Snapchat but confirmed in June that she’s gay in an interview with Wonderland magazine.
“Yep, I’m gay,” she said. “I was so overcome with this profound sense of relief when I realized that I’m gay–not bi, not pan, but gay–with a romantic love for women.”
The Hate U Give actress said her realization that she was attracted to women was an emotional moment that filled her with joy, adding that she was grateful that it brought out an understanding in her that wasn’t there before.
“I’m grateful for how being gay has afforded me this ability to experience and understand love and sex, and therefore life, in an expansive and infinite way,” she said.
Robert Páez may not be known to Americans, but the gay Olympic diver from Venezuela came out as gay in a touching column for Outsports.
“I believe that I was born gay. As I got older I became more aware of it, and as I grew–like with so many others–it became my great dilemma,” he wrote.
Paez, who’s competed in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics, said his family was supportive of his coming out.
“When I was 18 years old, I found the courage to open up to my mother. One day, after having competed for Venezuela in my first Olympics, I told her that I was in love,” he wrote.
“’With a boy or a girl?’ She asked.”
Mothers know. My mom knew. She knew how to accept me as I was. And although she cried, and it hurt a little bit, in the end, she took it very well.”
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.