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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" »


Gay 'Game of Thrones' Actor Kristian Nairn (Hodor) Announces 'Rave of Thrones' DJ Tour

Kristian-nairnIn the Rave of Thrones, you either dance, or you die.

Recently out Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn is inviting us all to a DJ tour throughout a number of Australian nightclubs promising "the deepest house [music] from all seven kingdoms."

Nairn, who plays the linguistically-limited Hodor on the HBO series, is a veteran DJ of the Belfast house scene known for his throbbing EDM beats.

The Rave, naturally, will be heavily Game of Thrones themed, with ravers strongly encouraged to dress in their finest Westerosi garb.

Nairn’s rave marks the latest in a number of high profile musical collaborations driven by Game of Thrones’s popularity. Following a cameo by Sigur Rós in the series’ fourth season, HBO commissioned a full album’s worth of Game of Thrones themed songs from the likes of Outkast’s Big Boi, Common, and Wale. Tickets for the Rave are on sale now, with tour dates starting at the end of August.

Check out a selection of Nairn’s electronic Soundcloud tracks AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "Gay 'Game of Thrones' Actor Kristian Nairn (Hodor) Announces 'Rave of Thrones' DJ Tour" »


Hodor Plays 'Family Feud': VIDEO

Hodor

What happened when Hodor appeared on Family Feud? Game of Thrones fans can probably guess.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Previously...
'Game of Thrones' Actor Kristian Nairn Comes Out: 'The Gay Community is My Community' [tlrd]

Continue reading "Hodor Plays 'Family Feud': VIDEO" »


'Game Of Thrones' Actor Kristian Nairn Discusses Coming Out, is Proud to Break Gay Stereotypes

Kristian_nairn

You may recall that Kristian Nairn, the actor who plays Hodor on HBO's Game of Thrones, came out publicly earlier this month. But in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Nairn revealed that he had come out to his family and friends early in his adolescence, making his second more-recent coming out at age 38 a bit “weird.”

“It felt a little bit unnecessary. It’s just really strange,” Nairn said. “It didn’t feel very important to me. I just mentioned it casually in an interview.”

He added:

I kind of had been waiting for it to come up in an interview question. But I sort of thought that people knew, because all you had to do—I started out doing a drag queen [act]. I DJ at a gay bar. Learn to Google, people. That’s all it is…

I don’t want to make light of it either because people have been in touch with me and they’ve been really… nice about it, and I’m really grateful. And also people said it inspired them. Because even within the gay community, there’s a stereotype even when you’re a gay person. You have to look a certain way. You have to be thin. You have to be tanned. You have to have small eyebrows. You have to look pretty. And that’s never been me.

I just think it’s important to show the world that we are varied people, as everybody else. You don’t have to be any way. I think that’s really important, and people said that to me. And that’s when I started to realize it’s not a small thing. It’s kind of a big thing. And if I can help somebody—you know, I’ve got my family behind me. I’ve got my friends behind me. If you have that, that’s all you need. It doesn’t matter about people on the Internet. And I’m really lucky to have that. And so if I can help one person, I’m happy.

During the interview he also discussed the challenges of carrying fellow GOT actor Isaac Hempstead Wright on his back for so many scenes as Hodor. Nairn admittedly has back problems which have required the consultation of a chiropractor.


'Game of Thrones' Actor Kristian Nairn Comes Out: 'The Gay Community' is 'MY Community'

Nairn

Kristian Nairn, who plays Hodor on Game of Thrones, came out of the closet publicly in an interview at Winter is Coming.

Nairn was asked about his big following in the gay community, specifically the Bear community.

Said Nairn:

Well, in all honesty, when you talk about “the gay community,” you are talking about MY community, haha. I AM aware of it yeah, and I think it’s really lovely. There’s not a day that I don’t get a few messages, but 99% or more are super sweet and nothing smutty at all! Again, it’s a privilege, and I really mean that. I’ve never hidden my sexuality from anyone, my whole life in fact, and I’ve been waiting for someone to ask about it in an interview, cos it’s not something you just blurt out. I’ve tried to lead the questions a few times, to no avail!


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