‘Entertainment Weekly’ On ‘The New Art Of Coming Out’

From the New York Observer to Entertainment Weekly, it seems mainstream media is taking a new look at the changing ways people "come out."

As EW argues, coming out is no longer such a big deal. The "news" about someone's sexuality, in their example Jim Parsons, is so "matter-of-fact" and common place that it fails to raise an eyebrow.

More from that cover article's teaser:

Even if it’s accomplished in a subordinate clause or a passing reference, coming out casually is, in its way, as activist as DeGeneres’ Time cover, although few of these actors would probably choose to label themselves as such.

The current vibe for discussing one’s sexuality is almost defiantly mellow: This is part of who I am, I don’t consider it a big deal or a crisis, and if you do, that’s not my problem. It may sound like a shrug, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for indifference.

By daring anyone to overreact, the newest generation of gay public figures is making a clear statement that there is a “new normal” — and it consists of being plainspoken, clear, and truthful about who you are.

And it's only been 43 years since the Stonewall Rebellion.


  1. Gary says

    I’ll be so glad when this group of egomaniacs have all gone by. They have all participated in greater and lesser ways in destroying homosexuality. They will always represent the self-indulgents, who thought they possessed miraculous parenting skills, with no obvious evidence. At least ELLEN wasn’t so selfish to have had children. Aging will be their biggest life lesson this group. For me, being gay always meant being me. There were no role models. It was great, and empowering.

  2. Jack says

    Wow, Gary — what’s with the bitter? I have personally never wanted children, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with couples who DO want them HAVING them. And I’m not sure what studies you’ve read, but the overwhelming majority of psychological/psychiatric professionals say having two parents of the same sex does NOT harm a child in any way.

  3. karl says

    ???Gary??? Do you know these people personally, or are you psyhoanalyzing from afar? All of them are doing their jobs, and doing them WELL. However they are TV actors (largely) and there is still room to grow in the movie side of the industry. (Come out Daniel Craig- Please!)

  4. Bryan says

    They’re only as ego-maniacal as the rest of Hollywood, and some (like the guy from Modern Family top left) doesn’t shove his name in my face (I don’t even know it). Don’t really see how having kids is selfish… and there are so many stereotypical role models for gays(Elton John, Cher, Madonna [not necessarily gay but stereotypical role models nonetheless]) that it’s ridiculous to say that no gays should or did have any. I think that they’re not so much destroying homosexuality as releasing it from it’s societal prism of conformism and rigid dichotomy.

  5. his guy says

    Anderson Cooper’s refusal to come out remains preposterous. He tells the world all manner of private details about himself except this one MAJOR matter that is, what, just too shameful to mention?

    I also wish older celebs would take the opportunity NOW to come out before they die. It will greatly enhance how they are remembered and viewed in the future — as well as right now. I happened to see a tabloid cover a couple days ago referring to certain celebrities’ “sad final days” (a favorite, repeating theme for tabloid covers); and one of the celebrities this time was Jim Nabors. If he’s in sufficient shape, why the hell NOT come out? (And I hope he proves the tabloid wrong by living another couple decades.)

    Same goes for:

    Barry Manilow
    Richard Simmons
    Rip Taylor
    Ann B. Davis
    Queen Latifah
    George Maharis
    (dare I say?) John Travolta (hope he comes out *of* Scientology, too)

    And did I mention Barry Manilow? Younger readers here may not realize that he was a **HUGE** star and public figure at one time. His coming out definitely would be helpful in further educating and changing the hearts of the older demographic that is the overwhelming source of societal homophobia and opposition to marriage equality.

    Yes, I know that “everybody knows” with several of these people. But when “everybody knows” and the public figure in question refuses to confirm, that’s actually very harmful, because it models for the world that being gay is something shameful — too shameful to talk openly about, even in just a casual mention. Ugh!!!!!!!

  6. Gordon says

    They are all entertainment figures, which is fine but no real role model unless perhaps those that drive policies, economies, in thought & purpose… everyday gay (unless rated by beauty, youth or money) is still 2nd class, even worse they seek to empower by media as it’s the only “successful” model they have

  7. Gary says

    Jack: That “NOT” harm a child in any way?. That’s the cliche on that subject these days. No harm from the neighbors and bullys? Of course not. Bitter has always been a component. Ask Betty Davis. They can’t handle it today. It’s all sweetness and light, and the steamroller of collective opinion. Karl: Why are you such a cheerleader for these people’s success? They aren’t in it for the cause. They are glad to be working actors, They aren’t thinking about you.

  8. says

    If you stay closeted you are saying beingI gay is shameful. I dont give a flying BLANK how you rationalize it. You are leading a lie because you believe gay is wrong.

  9. Tiko says

    Anyone who answers to a troll like Gary is trying to derail the conversation and participate in troll activity. Shame on anyone who feeds the trolls.

  10. USC Trojan Fan says

    Why do some of you respond to posters you KNOW are trolling when we could do what they hate… And that’s ignore them. Post a positive post regarding the story.

  11. ThisIn says

    Guys, the troll and those who respond to the troll are usually the same person.

    Secondly, celebrities coming out does indeed change minds and inspire. How vapid you must be to think every 13 year old boy in rural america is as exposed to gays as much as you are. They see a succesful entertainer and feel inspired.

  12. Dynex says

    In a time when people tell us to stay in the closet and demand we GO BACK IN THE CLOSET…when legislations are mandating we stay closeted, how exactly are you contributing to help others, and more importantly help yourself, by staying closeted.

    You’re part of the problem. Not only are you NOT helping, you’re enforcing the notion that gay = wrong.

    We all have a duty and purpose in this life..that’s to contribute for a greater cause and HELP others. You can help more than one group or people at one time and right now…gay KIDS, gay youth, gay children need HELP. They need a voice. I pity the self involved public figure who doesn’t take their responsibility to help with some seriousness.

    Open that closet door. It helps others, us, and YOU.

  13. Real Talk says

    Even straight celebrities who keep their relationships “private” are STILL caught by the paps kissing or having PDA with their straight celebrity partner. They won’t deny being straight.

    The idea you would deny being who you are except for the most secluded environment, and deny being seen out and about with your same sex partner…how the hell does any fool stand for being with someone like that? I’m you’re essentially in a relationship with someone who is ASHAMED of it. Don’t ever tell yourself otherwise either.

  14. Steve Jonasen says

    When the recent story about the Southern Baptist Church hit and some of the black folks interviewed claimed gays don’t deserve the rights of identifiable demographics…it made me think, we are identifiable. Those of us brave enough to hold our partners hand, or have a picture of our significant other on our work desk, or introduce them as our husband/boyfriend are making ourselves identifiable, and are bringing a sense of awareness AND normalcy by doing so. We are challenging the bigotry by being ourselves. Those of you who remain hidden are not only giving bigots what they want but you live right up to their argument of “why should we change laws for people who aren’t even identifiable and can just be hidden?”
    It’s because we exist. And those of us well adjusted exist proudly and freely.

  15. says

    Can you imagine being so insecure about who you are that you pay taxes, work, live in America, in 2012…and STILL pretend to be something you’re not just to make other people more comfortable around you? I mean, how do you even live in your own skin. That you sold yourself out, not just to anyone, but people who live their own lives as they please but dictate you alter yours for THEIR comfort levels……AND YOU DID (closet cases)

    That’s what I would call a tragic existence. Sincerely.

  16. Gary says

    Everyone is so certain about what I am. What is this troll crap? I don’t even know what it means. It obviously comes from someone who can’t deal, or defend their views. Republican – no way. So your tired wit is lost DAVID. Thank you HISGUY for an excellent comment. I’ve emailed Anderson for years about his closet, I have no respect for the snob. BRYAN: Cher and Madonna weren’t gay males. Elton John is gross. These actors are in it for themselves. Neil P. Harris screams for attention. It’s too often we see actors and we wish they were gay.

  17. Michael says

    Actually, celebrities coming out does change minds..and powerfully so.

    My family was very uncomfortable to the idea of gay and being gay. I also relocated because of their discomfort, and me refusing to be a “cookie cutter” version of myself and not mention my boyfriends to make them feel special. It wasn’t until last year when I went back home and my mother AND father approached me and said they have come around because as my mother put it “We watched Ricky Martin on CNN and the Today show, he was so open and honest about his struggle and how welcoming his mom was. We wanted to be the same” My mom went to Barnes & Noble and BOUGHT his book, read it, clearly soul searched and it changed her entire approach and helped heal our relationship. Ricky flippin’ Martin. A singer she’s been a fan of for a long while helped her get out of her mental safety net and inspire change with my Dad as well. That’s a true story and proof that celebrities can and do make a difference for their fans either coming around or at the very least…making them THINK. Since each gay celebrity comes with fans, imagine if each made at the very least a dozen of their fans ‘think’ and they then inspired others around them to ‘think’
    You have to be very small minded to believe it doesn’t make a difference. I and my family are living proof it does and can.

  18. WriterBlockGal says

    I was 16 when Ellen came out on her show. I remember watching it with my grandma and both her and I laughing during that hilarious episode. I didn’t have any gay/lesbian influences around me in Nebraska but I did see a women just come out on her own prime time television show. It empowered me. It gave me a sense of wonder. 2 years later, I was openly myself, and the first person I had a conversation with about it was my grandma. And the first thing she referenced was that night we watched the Ellen show together. Today I’m a working writer for shows and attribute so much to that one eventful night.

  19. Roxer says

    In some ways, I really believe celebrities or those in the public eye make far more of an impact on change and bringing to attention our injustices and our stories, far more so than an elected official. Whereas an elected official is influential in bringing about change in a legislative way, a celebrity can and HAS brought about change in households and kitchen tables.
    I was very surprised and thrilled to see so many of my friends suppport Carrie Underwood’s support of same sex marriage.

  20. tcw says

    Re: Gary:
    I disagree with his assertion that it is selfish to have children. But to the extent that he distinguishes between having children via the (eonomically inefficient) process of artificial insemination (NPH, Elton) as distinct from adoption, I think Gary makes a valid point. Arguably it is selfish to spend a fortune on AI when so many abandoned children need guardians or parents.

  21. Sansacro says


    “Everyone is so certain about what I am.” As certain as you are about others, it seems. . . Enjoy.

  22. EYEROLL says

    For those saying these celebrities should come out and be open and not be afraid: how many of you are using your real names to post on here? It’s easy to make comments and judgements behind made up names. Just sayin’.

  23. Los Angelino says

    The Conservative right always, and I sincerely mean *always* use in their arguments against our rights that we are such a small minority group. That there’s so few of us. That we are so very small in the population to make any difference. We even had a Conservative leader boldly, and inaccurately, claim we’re really less than 1% of the population.
    With visibility comes acceptance. There’s many of us out there. Some 6 million gay couples raising children! To know that is to accept gays are here, and contributing to society and deserve the benefits, rights and respect that come with that.
    Imagine the difference ins ociety LGBT rights would make if every LGBT person was who they were meant to be, without hiding it. True progression at it’s finest.

  24. Gary A says

    Just an FYI… ‘Gary’ does not equal Gary A!

    I think it’s great that EW did this cover/story. I think it’s awesome that celebrities are becoming more and more comfortable with being Out. This means those who live in more unaccepting environments where people tend to stay closeted will have more exposure to people that are gay which means their unfounded fears and ignorance of the bogeyman that all things gay are will be eventually eroded away so that more in their closeted community will feel safe to come out and then things will really change. I just wish EW would’ve included Cheyenne Jackson’s, Thomas Roberts’ and Matt Bomer’s lovely faces on that there cover!

  25. Gary A says

    Just an FYI… ‘Gary’ does not equal Gary A!

    I think it’s great that EW did this cover/story. I think it’s awesome that celebrities are becoming more and more comfortable with being Out. This means those who live in more unaccepting environments where people tend to stay closeted will have more exposure to people that are gay which means their unfounded fears and ignorance of the bogeyman that all things gay are will be eventually eroded away so that more in their closeted community will feel safe to come out and then things will really change. I just wish EW would’ve included Cheyenne Jackson’s, Thomas Roberts’ and Matt Bomer’s lovely faces on that there cover!

  26. Gary A says

    Just an FYI… ‘Gary’ does not equal Gary A!

    I think it’s great that EW did this cover/story. I think it’s awesome that celebrities are becoming more and more comfortable with being Out. This means those who live in more unaccepting environments where people tend to stay closeted will have more exposure to people that are gay which means their unfounded fears and ignorance of the bogeyman that all things gay are will be eventually eroded away so that more in their closeted community will feel safe to come out and then things will really change. I just wish EW would’ve included Cheyenne Jackson’s, Thomas Roberts’ and Matt Bomer’s lovely faces on that there cover!

  27. Gary A says

    My browser is showing that my comment posted 3 times. If that’s what everyone else sees, whoops not sure how that happened.

  28. Prof Sancho Panza says

    I always thought gay people came out because they were tired of having straight people tell them how to live their lives – that’s certainly why I did it. But doing that just so they can have GAY people (or worse, the self-appointed “gay leaders” or even bossy Towleroad bloggers) tell them how to live their lives instead is no improvement. If they do that, they’re still taking their marching orders from someone else and being told what it’s okay to do, say, and think, as well as what it’s NOT okay to do, say, and think. Where’s the freedom in that?

  29. Todd says

    DOMA will be addressed this year by the Supreme Court. What happens to the six million (?) when it is upheld, and gay marriages can not be federally legal? Christmas will come early this year.

  30. Kyle says

    So often Latinos take pride in how “Latin” they are and say it and profess it, and that demographic is basically allowed to come here illegally without much consequences. They positioned themselves that way. We as gays need to come out and be proud. WE are struggling more than any other group today. We need to be proud of who we are.

  31. FanofDance says

    I agree with Kyle.

    Shame to live in a country where illegal immigrants have more rights than legal GAY citizens.

  32. Truth says

    Whats worse than a closet cases is the person who would BE WITH a closet case. How sad does that insecure soul have to be? Your whole relationship is built on shame.

  33. Mission2Time says

    I agree with other points made. Other minority groups constantly put themselves out there, pin pointing their minority group, almost like a badge of honor. Blacks have BET and Miss Black America and Latinos have all these events and shows and even have cornered themselves as a voting block. Gays need to be proud of who they are and celebrate who they are. I know my partner and I do and make no shame of it.

  34. letsbehonest says

    To anyone who stays closeted, and worse, keeps their relationship with their same sex partner closeted…you are no different than some black person who would put on white face makeup. You are leading a lie, and liars get called out. Don’t hate others for seeing in you, what you refuse to see in yourself.

  35. says

    Through visibility comes exposure and acceptance. The more couples hold hands in public who are gay, the less of a stigma it will have. The more gay couples go to a parent meeting at school, the more normal it will get. The more gay couples are features in mass media, the more gays can relate with them. I’m sick and tired of gays being told to keep it behind closed doors, but I really pity the fools who are gay and subscribe to that all because they are too fearful to face the big bad straight guy. Really? grow a pair.

  36. Caliban says

    Why has the discussion been sidetracked onto “closet cases” when the SUBJECT of the article is about “a new way of coming out”?

    I see it as a positive development that a celebrity acknowledging they’re gay no longer has to be a full-court press, People magazine cover announcement. Take Matt Bomer for example. (FWIW I’ve never seen his TV show.) The gossip-site take on the issue was that Bomer was gay but didn’t feel he could come out because he’d just gotten a starring role on a TV show and didn’t want to risk his show’s chance of success, or the employment of the other people who worked on it. It remains to be seen where his career will go from here (and NO “new star’s” future career is guaranteed) but he came out in a VERY low-key way, by acknowledging his partner and children at a gay event. No official announcement, no People magazine cover.

    Is that out enough or do you demand more? Being an actor or actress (or a network newsperson for that matter) are entirely different pursuits from being an activist. What if a celebrity doesn’t want to be on the forefront of the movement but is happy to do what they can in a more background role? Who are you to say that isn’t enough? Is what YOU do enough? Who gets to make that determination?

  37. VacationDude says


    Doing SOMETHING in a most fragile time for our community is important, will be respected and should be celebrated. When you have the resources and power to make a difference for your people and people who identify with you, the right thing, the moral thing and the compassionate thing is to make that difference. Your sense of indiffernece, if adopted by all, would get us nowhere. It takes the Ellens to create that change. It’s that same change that enables you to live your life freely. Never underestimate those who came out to pave the way for you to come out today.

  38. J. James says

    Caliban…the poster who feels it’s more important for illegal immigrants to be openly illegal than gays to be openly gay. I can already tell the kind of person you are. You’re one of those gays who puts the importance of every other minority demographic before gays. Don’t be mad that some of us are passionate about our visbility, rights and respect- while you apologize for it.

  39. Conrad says


    When blacks were fighting for their civil rights, Martin Luther King called for all black artists in the limelight to stay public, and speak on injustices where and when they could, and to this very day…most all do. They pay tribute to those that came before them while celebrating who they are. You see our injustice, our plight and who we are in a different way. But don’t you dare tell those of us who actually care and are passionate to be as careless as you are. We see a gay child commit suicide due to prejudice faced toward gays and we hurt. Whereas you sit on the side lines, do nothing and comment on what proactive gays are doing. Sit down and shut up. People like you take up space.

  40. JusDaFacts says

    A gay celebrity who is in the public eye, and hears about the torment grown gay men in rural American face, the troubles gay couples all over America face, and the hatred gay youth all around the world face, and does and says nothing all for the sake of their own pocketbook is no celebrity at all. And will never be a celebrity I nor those whom I know will celebrate.

  41. Convexietysupplord says


    To be as idealistic as you. When conservatives have declared war on us, which they entirely have, then every single gay person is by virtue of Conservatives culture war made an activist. We didn’t choose to be activists. They, the bigots, chose that path for us. All of us. When they go and compare our existence to that of a pedophile, and argue in favor of all but killing us, you as a self respecting person have a duty- yes duty, to stand up and speak up against that prejudice.

  42. says

    I feel sorry for anyone who wakes up each morning saying “how can I go out of my way to NOT be myself today”
    To live a life of self censorship because of your fear that you’ll be caught being who you naturally were meant to be is truly my idea of just misery. I’m not angry at people who *choose* to remain closeted, I feel sorry for them. Each day their life passes and they still haven’t been born yet.

  43. Sqqueak says

    His Guy sure ain’t his own man! What arrogance to make a list of people you think should come out just to help you feel less insecure/unconscously ashamed, about your own identity! The more comments I read on Towleroad the more it seems to me that American gay men do themselves more damage by their bitter, picky, paranoid self-righteousness than the homophobia they rant about.

  44. Aaron Price says

    If you’re closeted, you’re basically living in complete shame. Free yourself. You want to live your whole being for the bigotry of others? How sorry and sad for you.

  45. Sherbert says

    Where as some gays blame heterosexual lawmakers for our injustices, I blame 99% of homophobia on closeted gays. For me, closet cases are promoting homophobia at a far greater level than any politician.

  46. Jackson says

    The coming out story of the year for me was Omar Sharif Jr. Unlike all the other celebrities following some cliche’d trend, he did it in a place with serious repercussions; threatening his own security and well being. Now that’s a role model; someone who voices their beliefs to a room full of fanatics yielding dogma and weapons to inspire and encourage a generation that has no other examples, let alone role models, to normalize their feelings and sense of self. Easily my hero of the year.

  47. CJ says


    That is a VERY poignant, well thought out remark. Most people around closeted individuals know they are gay. They are usually not fooling anyone by denying it. So for the heterosexual who observes that, they wonder “even gays are ashamed of who they are. Why should we be embracing of it?” so it absolutely breeds a sense of homophobia. Point well made and something I hadn’t thought about earlier.

  48. says

    I agree 100%! Closet gays are the ones that bring shame to the community. Not to mention, they are often the most homophobic people you’ll ever meet.

  49. says


    What a brilliant example. Of course, I feel anyone who is in the limelight who is out and shows life can be happy and succesful even as a member of LGBT is doing their part. Opressed islamic environment or not. One gay child can see that and use them as a source of inspiration and it could be just the courage and motivation they need to pull through their teen years and overcome. Those who are out, and honest with who they are, are helping do just that.

  50. anon says

    Is it really much easier now for celebrities to come out of the closet when EW has to struggle to fill the cover with eight photos and most of them are very minor celebrities? And what about movie stars and professional athletes? Progress has been glacial.

  51. says

    I thank all the men and women who make the conscious and brave decision to live openly, authentically, and publicly-identify as Gay.

    each generation of adults has a responsibility to open the doors for the next incoming generations.

    to the men and women who opened the doors for me, thank you. i am profoundly grateful.

  52. Todd says

    Fragile is right. You’d be amazed at how fragile some of our nude photo population is.