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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.

Make sure not to miss a Towleroad headline by following @TLRD on Twitter.

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'OUT' Unveils 20th Anniversary OUT100 Covers

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OUT Magazine has released all four covers for its annual OUT100 Issue celebrating "the year's most entertaining, heroic, and compelling people, from all walks of life—including professional athletes, trans pioneers, actors, activists, designers, journalists, emerging musicians, artists, and dancers."

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the OUT100 and to celebrate, the magazine decided upon a theme for its photo shoots titled, "On the Shoulders of Giants", meant to "reference pivotal moments in LGBT history." 

Gracing this year's covers are Ellen Page, Zachary Quinto, Sam Smith and Samira Wiley.

You can check out the OUT100 for yourself HERE.


Catholic School Bans Julianne Moore, Ellen Page Lesbian Drama Shoot - VIDEO

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A Catholic boys’ school in New Rochelle, New York, has reversed its decision to allow Freeheld — a film in which Julianne Moore and Ellen Page play a lesbian couple — shoot on its campus, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

A location manager had picked out Salesian High School for a key scene in the fact-based movie, based on the 2007 documentary of the same name. The school had agreed to allow the scout to shoot still photos of the building, which was to stand in for the town hall of Ocean County, New Jersey.

However, after first approving the shoot, the school's principal, John Flaherty, then informed producer Michael Shamberg that it had reversed its decision because of the movie’s subject matter.

In an email to Flaherty, Shemberg explained that the movie is "not about gay marriage [but] about recognizing the dignity of a woman who was a brave civil servant."

According to Kelly Bush, another producer on the movie, the school's decision only serves to underscore the themes of the film:

"Freeheld captures the inequality and bigotry that one couple faced while coping with cancer and the end of life. That our film was denied access to a location because of the subject matter — a same-sex couple fighting for their legal rights — illustrates just how important it is that this story be told."

Mayor Paul Rosenberg of nearby Rye Brook has since stepped in and allowed Freeheld producers to use his town's city hall for the scene.

Watch Page coming out during a speech she made at the Human Rights Campaign's Time to Thrive youth conference in Las Vegas, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Ellen Page and Kate Mara Are the Smallest Sleuths in the Business In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody: VIDEO

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They're not terrible detectives, just tiny.

And don't ask them if they sleep in a shoebox - that's personal. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Stephen Colbert Makes Ellen Page Come Out as Gay Again: VIDEO

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Stephen Colbert welcomed Ellen Page to his show last night for a very amusing segment in which he noted that her coming out broke the Human Rights Campaign website.

PageSaid Colbert: "Your selfish coming out broke human rights."

Replied Page: "Well that's what us gays are doing, I guess."

Colbert then asked why he didn't save her coming out for his show and asks her to do it right there, prompting the spit take you see above.

Also, discussed, whether the X-Men mutants are a metaphor for something else, and whether Page's movie Juno is pro-choice, or pro-life.

Check it all out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Ellen Page Talks Coming Out And Life In The Closet: VIDEO

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Ellen Page, who memorably came out on Valentine’s Day this year, recently spoke with Flare magazine about the coming out process, what life has been like in the wake of her declaration and about her upcoming role in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Though the Academy-Award nominated actress says she had been out to her parents since 19, telling them then that she ‘liked-liked’ girls, Page admits that not being fully truthful about her sexuality to the public and to others in the entertainment industry, what she calls “lying by omission,” weighed on her:

"You think you’re in a place where you’re all I’m thrilled to be gay, I have no issues about being gay anymore, I don’t feel shame about being gay, but you actually do. You’re just not fully aware of it. I think I still felt scared about people knowing. I felt awkward around gay people; I felt guilty for not being myself…[But] the more time went by, the more something just happened, an Oh my god—I want to love someone freely and walk down the street and hold my girl-friend’s hand.”

Page also reflected on the hate-mail she received from a homophobic pastor after she came out: 

“It was the worst kind of homophobia because it wasn’t just ‘You deserve to burn in hell.’ It was ‘While God thinks it’s lovely that you stood up for your beliefs, perhaps you’ve never had the loving arms of a father.’”

You'll recall, Page pithily replied to the pastor’s remarks on Twitter:

”2 da Pastor who wrote me-Being gay isn't a belief.My soul isnt struggling& I don't want arms of Heavenly Father around me.A girls arms? Yes.”

All in all, Page describes her coming out as a lightening of the load and freeing where her work is concerned:

“I feel more creatively inspired than I have in years and I’m sure it has to do with a lot of bricks being taken out of the backpack.”

Page also stopped by to talk with Ellen DeGeneres this week about her coming out.

Said DeGeneres: “I am so proud of you for coming out, and I am so happy for you. I know what a scary thing that is.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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