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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.

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


Ian Thorpe Is Not Dating Ricky Martin, Says Manager

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Contrary to what you may have heard on Friday, Australian Olympian swimmer Ian Thorpe is not in a relationship with singer Ricky Martin. At least, not according to Thorpe's manager that is.

Peter Ford, an Australian celebrity commentator, had the rumor police scrambling yesterday after reporting that Thorpe and Martin had accepted a $500,000 magazine deal to do a tell-all about their new relationship status. The news quickly spread to other gossip sites and outlets.

When asked about the alleged power couple by Private Sydney, Thorpe's manager shot down the rumor, saying "I think someone is having you on." The paper also confirmed that Thorpe was nowhere near Martin during the singer's stay in Sydney for the most recent season of Australia's version of The Voice - on which Martin serves as a judge.

Back in July, Australian tabloids spread the rumor that Martin had 'mentored' Thorpe prior to his coming out this summer. 


Ricky Martin May Have 'Mentored' Ian Thorpe Through His Coming Out Experience

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Australian tabloids are spreading a rumor: that Ricky Martin, currently a judge on the Aussie version of The Voice, mentored professional swimmer Ian Thorpe prior to his coming out this week. The "Thorpedo," as he was called when he swam in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, told Sir Michael Parkinson that he is gay in a pre-recorded interview for Channel 10. Martin is currently denying any connection to Thorpe.

The Independent reports:

“I am extremely happy that he is talking about his happiness, and that is where I would like to leave it,” Martin apparently told a Daily Mail reporter when asked about the claims as he promoted his The Voice Australia finalist contestant in Melbourne yesterday (15 July)...

Martin was among the first to tweet his support for Thorpe:

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Whether Martin and Thorpe were connected or not, it is heartening to see such support.

Martin recently expressed the joy he felt after his own coming out experience, stating in a radio interview, “I wish I could come out again because that moment felt very blissful. It really feels amazing and then when it happens you realise all your fears were in your head.” Hopefully Thorpe has felt much the same.


More Than 7 Out of 10 Now Support Marriage Equality in Australia: VIDEO

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A survey conducted on behalf of Australia’s Liberal Party shows that support for same-sex marriage and for a conscience vote in the coalition government is at an all-time high, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

The poll, commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality, found that 72% of Australians want same-sex marriage legalised, while 77% think coalition MPs should be granted a conscience vote.

Marriage equality advocates are expected to now start canvassing MPs to support same-sex marriage.

The poll results come after a recent interview in which Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe confirmed that he is gay and Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm’s call to allow MPs a free vote on same-sex marriage.   

Watch Leyonhjelm’s call in support of same-sex marriage, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "More Than 7 Out of 10 Now Support Marriage Equality in Australia: VIDEO" »


Ian Thorpe Comes Out: 'I'm Not Straight' — VIDEO

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As anticipated, Australian Olympian swimmer Ian Thorpe told Michael Parkinson "I'm not straight" in an interview broadcast last night on Australia's 'ten' network.

Said Thorpe:

"I've thought about this for a long time. I'm not straight. Um, and this is only something that only very recently - we're talking in the last two weeks - I've felt comfortable telling the closest people around me. Exactly that."

Watch the interview clip and a news clip of Australian reaction, AFTER THE JUMP...

Thorpe added more to his statement, The Guardian reports:

"I'm comfortable saying I'm a gay man," Thorpe said. "And I don't want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay."

As Thorpe spoke – and his name trended on Twitter – the comments from the Australian public were overwhelmingly supportive. The gay community and the sporting world welcomed his decision and said it would help young gay people and gay athletes to feel supported.

"I was concerned about the reaction from my family, my friends," Thorpe said. "I'm pleased to say that in telling them, and especially my parents, they told me that they love me and they support me. And for young people out there, know that that's usually what the answer is."

Read the full interview transcript HERE.

Continue reading "Ian Thorpe Comes Out: 'I'm Not Straight' — VIDEO" »


Australian Olympian Swimmer Ian Thorpe Comes Out as Gay

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Australian Olympian swimmer Ian Thorpe comes out of the closet in an interview airing tonight on Australian TV, the Daily Telegraph reports:

After years of personal struggle, Olympic hero Ian Thorpe has bravely revealed he is gay.

The 31-year-old confirms his sexuality for the first time Sunday in an exclusive interview on Channel 10, telling all to veteran British interviewer Sir Michael Parkinson.

It’s understood the interview, which Parkinson has described as one of the best he has ever conducted, includes a full admission from Thorpe that he is gay despite having dated women in the past.

In the emotional sit-down shot last month, Thorpe also details the years of depression he has battled while denying his sexuality from the world. Part of that concealment included his own autobiography This Is Me, published in 2012, in which Thorpe wrote that he found questions about his sexuality hurtful.

Thorpe's sexual orientation has been the focus of the media for more than a decade, since the 2000 Olympics. Staying in the closet in the public eye for so long has to be incredibly damaging. Hopefully he's found some peace.

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