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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" »


Irish Hurler Conor Cusack Comes Out

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In a lengthy blog post published on Monday, Irish hurler Conor Cusack, came out of the closet. Cusack played the Gaelic sport of hurling with the Cork senior inter-county team in 2006 and now plays with the local club in Cloyne. He has made national headlines in Ireland for his devotion to helping others battle depression, which he has battled his whole life.

Cusack writes, in part:

I’ve known for a good while now that I have been sexually attracted to men. In that time, I’ve had relationships with women, and enjoyed them immensely but I’ve always had more fulfilment from being with a man. I’m not sure what label society would categorise me under. I remember a doctor one time telling me I was a bi-polar depressive and a different guy a few weeks later telling me I was a manic depressive. Go figure that one out! Life for me is never black or white (though I know a lot about the blackness) but more about different shades of grey....

...I have been comfortable with this area of my life and I never felt the need to discuss it with anyone. That is until recently. As I crossed the border from Galway into Clare and then back home to Cork and through the towns of Buttevant, Charleville and Mallow, I thought strongly about the current Mental Health work I am involved with. I thought about all the different people that I have spoken to and about all the upcoming events that I have committed to. I asked myself the question ‘Do I need to talk and discuss this aspect and area of my life?

Cusack is the brother of hurler Donal Og Cusack, who came out as gay in 2009.


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