Celebrities you might not know are LGTBQ+
As anyone paying attention is likely to know, the LGBTQ+ community has been integral to the performing arts for all of history, even the members of the entertainment industry were at times reluctant to admit it. Back in the days of the Hays Code from the 1930s to the '60s, movies that depicted same-sex love interests were censored by studios. Even today, movies that feature gay sex or LGBTQ+ characters are typically rated more strictly than movies with straight characters.
Given the stigma around showing LGBTQ+ content on the silver screen, it makes sense that celebrities who identify as being LGBTQ+ haven’t always been able to speak freely about their status. It wasn’t too long ago that the entertainment industry took every conceivable measure to keep the sexual orientation of its foremost stars under wraps. Look no further than Old Hollywood actor Rock Hudson, whose homosexuality remained a tightly guarded secret during the height of his fame.
Thankfully, many of today’s LGBTQ+ celebrities aren’t overly pressured into keeping their status a secret. Likewise, both the entertainment industry and society have made strides since the heyday of Rock Hudson, at least in terms of how both those entities approach and accept one’s sexual identity. This increased visibility of LGBTQ+ celebrities matters. Celebrities speaking openly about their identity and experiences can help destigmatize LGBTQ+ identities and boost the self-esteem of LGBTQ+ people by allowing them to see that there are successful people out there who are like them.
Although there is still quite a way for civilization to go when it comes to inclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals, it’s becoming more and more apparent that a celebrity’s sexual orientation is not necessarily the career detriment it may have been in the past—in fact, now more than ever celebrities are speaking up for LGBTQ+ communities and becoming celebrated advocates for them. Just look at Billy Eichner vying for more overtly gay characters in TV and film. Or Lil Nas X, who has become an LGBTQ+ icon, even though just two years ago he was completely closeted with no plans to ever change that.
Stacker is highlighting 50 celebrities—in no particular order—and their contributions to the entertainment industry.
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Since graduating from the role of Hannah Montana in 2011, actress and singer Miley Cyrus hasn’t shied away from expressing her sexuality through performance art—sometimes to downright scandalous effect. That said, it wasn’t until 2015 that Cyrus announced she was gender-fluid, meaning she doesn’t exclusively identify with one particular gender. In the time since, she’s become a passionate and vocal advocate for various LGBTQ+ issues.
Those who know Ellen Page by name are probably aware that she’s been openly gay since 2014, when she declared her LGBTQ+ identity during a powerful speech at a human rights conference.
Apple CEO Tim Cook came out in 2014 in a poignant Bloomberg editorial. While Cook doesn’t consider himself an activist, he did once tell Stephen Colbert that he felt a “tremendous responsibility” to speak up about his LGBTQ+ status, particularly on behalf of all the young people who are bullied or even disowned because of their sexuality.
In 2003, Drew Barrymore star told Contact Music, “I have always considered myself bisexual.” Despite this fact, her three marriages (and three divorces) have all been to men.
Billie Joe Armstrong
Billie Joe went mainstream in 1994 as the frontman to rock band Green Day. But while the celebrity is no stranger to headlines, it’s not widely known that he’s been openly bisexual since 1995. That was when he told The Advocate: "I think I've always been bisexual… I think people are born bisexual, and it's just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of, 'Oh, I can't.' They say it's taboo. It's ingrained in our heads that it's bad, when it's not bad at all. It's a very beautiful thing."
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A powerful music mogul, Clive Davis is best known as the man who helped launch or revive the careers of Whitney Houston, Barry Manilow, and Billy Joel among numerous other superstars. In 2013, the twice-married executive released an autobiography, “The Soundtrack of My Life,” in which he detailed two long-term relationships with other men.
Between her former gig with the Black-Eyed Peas, her prior marriage to actor Josh Duhamel, and her unpopular 2018 performance of the national anthem, Fergie definitely manages to stay in the public consciousness year after year. What’s lesser known about the singer, however, is that she’s identified as bisexual since the early naughts.
While a certain percentage of Kristen Stewart’s fan base probably prefers to think of her as the perennial soulmate of “Twilight” co-star Robert Pattinson, the edgy actress has definitely moved on to new partners from both sides of the gender spectrum. Of course, that hasn’t stopped the fans from clamoring for a reunion with Pattinson—or at least trying to box Stewart in as far as her sexual identity is concerned.
It wasn’t until she began watching sci-fi TV series “The X-Files” that the first openly gay woman star of “SNL” Kate McKinnon said she realized she was attracted to women. Specifically, McKinnon found herself swooning over actress Gillian Anderson in the 1990s. Even decades later, McKinnon continues to describe Anderson as the “queen of my heart.”
“X-Files” star Gillian Anderson in 2015 told The Telegraph that she’d previously engaged in same-sex relationships, and was open to doing so again. Anderson is currently a star in the popular Netflix series, “Sex Education.”
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