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Gay, Bi, Transgender: The 85 Most Powerful Comings Out of 2014

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UPDATED!!!

Due to four notable December announcements - from a Spanish television host, an 'ex-gay' survivor of Michele and Marcus Bachmann's conversion therapy clinic, a national champion swimmer, and a high school all-state soccer goalie, we've updated this list to provide a more complete look back at those who decided to come out in 2014. We've also added a professional strongman that we unfortunately overlooked in our first post. Enjoy these new additions to the list.

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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 85 Most Powerful Comings Out of 2014" »


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

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UPDATE: See the updated version of this post HERE!

"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" »


British Diver Tom Daley Celebrates One Year Anniversary of His Coming Out

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A year ago today, British Olympic Diver Tom Daley came out publicly in a video in which he confessed he was bisexual (he would later go on to clarify that he now identifies as gay) and dating a man, his much-talked-about beau, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. Said Daley at the time,

"Come spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone and they made me feel so happy, so safe, and everything just feels great - and well that someone is a guy. And it did take me by surprise a little bit. It was always in the back of my head that something like that could happen but it wasnt until the spring of this year that it clicked, felt right. Like I said, my whole world just changed, right there and then. And of course I still fancy girls but right now I'm dating a guy, and I just feel safe, and it really does just feel right. Is it a big deal? I don't think so."

Today, the out Olympian took to Twitter to celebrate the one year anniversary of his coming out, tweeting, "1 year today! [Rainbow emojis] oh how time flies!" Congratulations, Tom on your first anniversary!

(Photo via Instagram)


25 Famous Men Who Brought Muscles, Mustaches, and More to Instagram This Week — PHOTOS

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Scissor Sister Jake Shears and his dog needed some scissors, and Looking's Raul Castillo hung 10 outside of San Francisco with 'Looking' creator Michael Lannan and actor John Johnson.

Murray Bartlett, Joe Manganiello, Russell Tovey, Jonathan Groff, Matthew Camp, Aaron Schock, Alex Minsky, Dan Osborne, Robbie Rogers, Frankie J Grande, Derek Theler, Harry Shum Jr, Chris Salvatore, Michael Sam, Brad Goreski, Nick Jonas, Harry Judd, Tom Daley, Tim Schou, Daniel Franzese, Steve Grand, Ronnie Kroell, and Ty Herndon brought their game to Instagram this week.

Find out which GOP politician was spending time with a dance music diva, who was getting drunk on grape juice, and how many mustaches were being rocked for Movember,
AFTER THE JUMP...

Surfs up. At Ocean Beach with @michaellannan and John Johnson this morning. Good times

A photo posted by Raúl Castillo (@officialraulcastillo) on Nov 11, 2014 at 1:24pm PST

Continue reading "25 Famous Men Who Brought Muscles, Mustaches, and More to Instagram This Week — PHOTOS" »


Gay Freshman Diver Alex Obendorf Comes Out at West Virginia University, Qualifies For NCAA Postseason

Obendorf

As a senior in high school, Alex Obendorf (above) suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car wreck that left him out of diving for nine months.  

Perhaps that difficult experience explains why Obendorf is undaunted by the idea of being openly gay as a freshman athlete on a relatively conservative college campus. 

Obendorf2Obendorf, who attends West Virginia University, quietly came out publicly this weekend in the The Missourian, which treated his sexual orientation as a footnote related to his admiration for gay Olympians Matthew Mitcham and Tom Daley: 

“I like their form and everything,” Obendorf said. “I’m pretty proud of them because I know that it’s a hard thing to open up about, especially to the public as an Olympian. I am openly gay. I know where they come from.”

The Missourian reports that Obendorf became the first male WVU diver to qualify for the NCAA postseason this year, by finishing fourth in the 3-meter springboard at this weekend's Mizzou Invitational.

Obendorf was a two-time All-American at his high school in Ohio, but he missed his senior season after the car wreck in August 2013.

He was initially diagnosed with a concussion, but realized the injury was more serious when he tried to return to diving and the symptoms reappeared. 

He didn't get back on the board permanently until May, which left him nervous about how he'd perform after joining the WVU team in August. But so far, things seem to be going pretty well, and now that he's qualified for the postseason, his coach is pushing him to make the NCAA Championships. 

Although he just came out in the media this weekend, Obendorf has been open about his sexual orientation on Facebook since at least August.

And guess what? He's single. 

Obendorf1

[h/t Outsports]


Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black are Offering Someone a Double Date in London: VIDEO

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Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black are offering a double date in London in exchange for supporting causes that are important to them: The Brain Tumour Charity and HRC, respectively.

Through Omaze.com, they're auctioning off various Daley-Black-related prizes for a chance to fly to London, stay at a fancy hotel, join them for dinner, and go to diving practice with Lance and watch the glistening beads of sweat glide off of Tom's abs.

Watch their plea, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black are Offering Someone a Double Date in London: VIDEO" »


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