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Gay, Bi, Transgender: The 80 Most Powerful Comings Out of 2014

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"I think coming out...is really about coming out as your authentic self, coming out as the person you always knew you were but no one else may have known, and now you're sharing that honestly with people for the first time."

2014faces2Such is how Rodrigo Lehtinen, the trans son of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, explained to CBS Miami last month what it meant for him to now be open about who he is.

It's as simple as that, whether you're gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or some fluid combination of any of them. But it's certainly an act of courage in a world where LGBTQ people face obstacles in marriage, employment, and even basic acceptance. In many places, the status of being 'out' about one's sexual orientation or gender identity is dangerous, even life-threatening.

In 2014 thousands, perhaps millions of people came out all over the world. They all made a difference. The folks featured here are just a few who happened to make a big difference and caught our eye on Towleroad this year. Some are well-known, some are little-known: the CEO of the largest corporation in the world, an NFL player, a Kenyan literary figure, fashion models, the foreign minister of a Baltic state, country singers, Mormon pop stars, a few of the stars of your favorite television shows, and unknowns from the world of YouTube.

When it comes to coming out, 2014 was certainly the year of the athlete.

Of the 80 people on our list this year, more than 1/3 come from the sports world — football, baseball, boxing, tennis, long distance running, hurling, basketball, rowing, and diving. Many of these athletes are making a name for themselves in college sports, many in conservative places. Twenty-one come from the entertainment world. And they are from all over the world — Japan, Peru, Ireland, Uruguay, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Finland, Canada, Spain, Chile, and more... Also, the leader of a company worth more than all the world's airlines combined, worth more than the entire Russian stock market.

It's quite an impressive group of folks. We're proud of all of you. By choosing to come out as L, G, B, T, queer, or whatever label your sexual orientation or gender identity is telling you is yours, you've made life easier for all those who haven't come out yet, and all those who are currently struggling for their civil and human rights.

Please enjoy reading their stories. And share this post with your friends, family, and anyone in the closet to whom you'd like to offer a bit of courage or support.

 

Read on, AFTER THE JUMP...

Contributions to this post were made earlier this year by Kyler Geoffroy, Sean Mandell, Joseph Ehrman-Dupre, Steve Pep, Brian Sloan, Daniel Villareal, Anthony Costello, Jim Redmond, Charles Pulliam-Moore, Christian Walters, John Wright, and Jake Folsom.

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Continue reading "Gay, Bi, Transgender: The 80 Most Powerful Comings Out of 2014" »


Transgender Model Andreja Pejić Launches Documentary Kickstarter Campaign - VIDEO

Andreja pejic

Supermodel Andreja Pejić, who recently came out as a transgender woman, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a feature-length documentary on her life.

Pejić, an Australian national originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, spent time in a refugee camp near Belgrade during the Bosnian War.

The documentary Andrej(a) “will explore gender politics in-depth around the globe, and the beauty industry and its attitude towards diversity, will be a focal point.”

Writing on Kickstarter, Pejić explains:

“I hope that by sharing my humanity, pain, tears, laughter, joy, and biggest struggles on film, it will shed light on what it means to live as a transgender individual. I have always believed that differences between people should not equal divisions and I simply want to create something that could help build a bridge between my community and the rest of the world.”

Watch Andreja's Kickstarter appeal, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Transgender Model Andreja Pejić Launches Documentary Kickstarter Campaign - VIDEO" »


Model Andreja Pejić Comes Out As Trans Woman

In a new interview with People magazine, model Andrej Pejić revealed that she is transgender. In the piece, Pejić says she began the transition process earlier this year and that she'll now go by the name Andreja.

969783_646605498683538_1707083999_nShe tells People:

"I want to share my story with the world because I think I have a social responsibility," Pejic, 22, tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I hope that by being open about this, it becomes less of an issue...I always dreamt of being a girl," explains the Serbian-born model. "One of my earliest memories is spinning around in my mom's skirt trying to look like a ballerina."

Pejić continues:

..."about a year and a half ago, I reevaluated things," says Pejic. "I was proud of my gender nonconforming career. But my biggest dream was to be comfortable in my own body. I have to be true to myself and the career is just going to have to fit around that."

In another interview with Style.com, she talks about her childhood.

...I went on sort of a boyhood campaign from age 9 to about 13. I tried to be a “normal” boy because I felt like my options were either to be a gay boy or a straight boy. I didn’t feel that I was gay, so I didn’t know that there were any other options until the age of 13, when I went online and discovered that there’s a whole community of trans people out there. There are doctors, there’s medical care, there’s research, and that was an eye-opener for me. From that day on, I knew what I had to do.

PejicPejić also posted a message (and the selfie to the right) to her fans on Facebook.

I think we all evolve as we get older and that's normal but I like to think that my recent transition hasn't made me into a different individual. Same person, no difference at all just a different sex  I hope you can all understand that. I would also like to to reach out to all young gender non-conforming youth out there: I know it's hard, I've been there, but remember it’s your right to be accepted as what you identify with---you deserve the same respect as any other human being on this planet. As a transgender woman I hope to show that after transition (a life-saving process) one can be happy and successful in their new chapter without having to alienate their past. Most importantly differences should not equal divisions, let's all stand together in union.

She tells GLAAD:

To all trans youth out there, I would like to say respect yourself and be proud of who you are. All human beings deserve equal treatment no matter their gender identity or sexuality. To be perceived as what you say you are is a basic human right.

Pejić has already received words of support from many members of the LGBT community including Laverne Cox.


Skin and Bones

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Models Rick Genest and Andrej Pejic pair up in a new campaign by Marcelo Krasilcic for Auslander.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Skin and Bones" »


Barnes and Noble Censors Shirtless Androgynous Male Model for Looking Too Much Like a Woman

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Androgynous male model Andrej Pejic covers the latest issue of Dossier magazine, but it's the androgyny he is so well known for that has Barnes & Noble censors covering the magazine with opaque poly bags.

Said Dossier Co-Founder and Creative Director Skye Parrott to the Huffington Post:

"It's a naked man on the cover of a magazine, which is done all of the time without being covered up, so I definitely don't think it merits this, but I understand what it is...It's not a coincidence that it's only the giant U.S. chain stores that are asking us to do this....It's only the American copies that are being censored. It seems that it probably made people uncomfortable. But that's part of what's interesting about the cover, I think, is that it's playing with those ideas of gender roles. He's topless, you can see that he's a man, but if you look at his face, he looks like a woman and he's so beautiful, he's both in that picture, in a way. I think that's what's interesting about it."


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