Happy National Coming Out Day! We’re here, we’re Queerty, get into it! To celebrate, we’ve compiled the greatest, most inspiring, shocking and “it’s about time” coming out stories so far this year. From celebrities and sports stars to courageous teens and pioneering activists, this year has seen the closet door falling away in splinters. While it still takes a great deal of courage to come out publicly as gay, lesbian, bi, trans or what have you, it’s also become as simple as sending a tweet. And that is a true mark of progress — when a magazine cover story is replaced with a statement in less than 140 characters.
Check out Queerty’s list of the top 25 coming out stories of 2013…so far.
The former Kyle XY star kicked off the year of busting down closet doors when he came out rather nonchalantly with a Twit pic of his fiancé, independent musician Blue Hamilton, back in January.
The Coming Out that launched a thousand “huh?”s. The two-time Oscar winner was feeling spirited at this year’s Golden Globes and more or less announced what she assumed we already knew — that she was single, Mel Gibson’s best and only friend, and a lesbian — during an epic rambling acceptance speech for her Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award.
Veteran actor Victor Garber confirmed he was gay during an interview even though Wikipedia had already outed him a while ago by identifying his partner, painter/model Rainer Andreesen — the most perfect man in the world.
Proving that awards ceremonies are the best coming out platform, the New Jersey teen came out to an auditorium of over 300 peers, teachers and staff at Parsippany High School while accepting an award for Class Actor. He not only received a standing ovation, but the video became a viral sensation, leading to Jacob meeting his idol George Takei. Embracing his newfound fame and role as an LGBT advocate, Jacob petitioned his state’s government to pass a ban on gay conversion therapy.
Rogers came out on his website in February and in the process retired from professional soccer for fear that he wouldn’t be “able to go to training the next day.” Upon returning to his native California, however, Rogers found some courage and perhaps a little redemption. He signed with the L.A. Galaxy back in May, becoming the first openly gay player in the MLS.
It’s never too late to come out, just ask Davis, the legendary record exec who came out as bisexual in his memoir, The Soundtrack of My Life, at 80 years young.
A gay Mormon? Why not? The Church of Latter Day Saints is growing more tolerant each day and so Jimmy decided to document his coming out to friends and family in order to come to grips with his homosexuality and possibly help others do the same.
The world became a much better and more fabulous place when EJ3 sashayed into the public consciousness. It wasn’t so much a coming out as an arrival. The queen is here.
The WNBA basketball star came out to little fanfare during an interview with Sports Illustrated, though she managed to create some serious buzz after Nike signed her to a “big time” endorsement deal.
On the other, incredibly large hand, Jason Collins had one of the most high profile coming outs in recent memory as the first openly gay professional male athlete in a major American sport. It seems everyone and their mother had something to say about it — for better or worse — but Collins’s bravery was rewarded after he was named grand marshal of the Boston Pride Parade and one of the first inductees into the Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame.
The soap hunk came out not only as a gay but as a gay dad while chit-chatting with gal pal Marie Osmond. The 46-year-old father of twins said he was sure of three things growing up: “I knew I was gay, I knew I was going to be a dad and I knew that Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is the greatest movie of all time.”
The former college football player was one of the most decorated athletes to ever come out of Virginia and though a torn ligament sidelined him from the NFL draft, he went on to play professionally in Italy where he was named MVP of his league’s super bowl. After experiencing his fair share of locker room homophobia, Kevin decided to come out to inspire others and prove that being gay doesn’t mean you can’t be a star athlete.
The pint-sized lady with the big voice, best known for guest starring on Glee giving Rachel octave runs for her money, came out as a lesbian. Though she apologized to her family and friends if she disappointed them, the Filipina pop star’s mother went on record pleading for her daughter to “change” her sexuality. Charice has no plans for that, however, and is making beautiful music together with fellow singer Alyssa Quijano.
A highly decorated former Navy SEAL, Beck came out as a transgender woman in her memoir, Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL’s Journey to Coming out Transgender. She claims she joined the military to prove that she was “the toughest of the tough,” but she only felt free to truly be herself after leaving the SEALs. She’s already begun hormone therapy in preparation for her gender reassignment surgery and is using her voice to speak against trans discrimination in a post-DADT armed forces.
The New Zealand-born Olympic swimmer made a splash when he came out to at Texas A&M University, regarded as the most conservative university — and one of the least gay-friendly — in the U.S. As perhaps the only openly gay male athlete there, Amini maintained that A&M had an unjust reputation for homophobia. Fonua recently lent his breaststroke to raising awareness for transphobia and funds for the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic marriage equality rulings, Young & the Restless actor Greg Rikaart came out with this tweeted selfie of him and his boyfriend — but to clear up any confusion, the two are not planning on getting married “anytime soon.”
The former Cosby kid and Disney psychic also came out via Twitter — confirming years of speculation — after the Supreme Court’s decisions, but she actually is ready to put a ring on it. At some point.
No stranger to grappling with half-naked men, Darren Young became the first openly gay WWE superstar when he casually came out to TMZ back in August. He was then met with near universal support from his WWE family including John Cena, whose older brother is gay. The “very happy” Young is also in love and wants to be a role model for people who might be afraid to come out.
The controversial whistleblower came out as transgender shortly after being sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of confidential government documents. Manning’s gender identity disorder was used as a central part in her defense and she announced that she was transitioning to the Today show. She’s currently undergoing assessment before starting hormone therapy.
As James Prtizker, the billionaire served nearly half of his life in the military but came out as transgender shortly after Chelsea Manning. Having donated over a million dollars to study the ability of trans people to serve openly in the military, Jennifer announced that she had legally changed her name from James, reflecting “the beliefs of her true identity that she has held privately and will now share publicly.”
The Nickelodeon star came out while having a YouTube kiki with his bff Jennifer, after receiving a flurry of fan-submitted questions about his sexuality. Jennifer basically answered the question for him, though in all honesty, that side-swept bang could have done the same thing.
After receiving an invitation to a Russian film festival, Miller — nonchalantly coming out — politely declined “as a gay man” and expressed his concern over the government’s treatment of its LGBT citizens. Miller later revealed his struggles coming to terms with his sexuality, admitting that he had tried to commit suicide as a teenager.
Michael Jordan’s only daughter followed in EJ3’s Cuban-heeled footsteps and came out with this adorable Instagram photo of her and her girlfriend.
After a series of embarrassing and very public missteps, DJ Mr. Cee of New York’s popular Hot 97 radio station finally came out as a gay man, filming a PSA to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and address homophobia in hip hop.
Schell became the first openly gay NCAA Division II basketball player when he came out earlier this week, right in time to make this list on National Coming Out Day. Congratulations to everyone who came out this year and if you or someone you know is struggling with coming to terms with your sexual orientation or gender identity, hopefully some of these stories can inspire you to burn that closet door down to the ground. After all, there’s no better day than today.
Which one had the best closet door bustdown? Vote for your favorite in the 2013 Queerties here.