Every day someone helps further LGBTQ acceptance by coming out and proudly proclaiming who they are for the very first time.
This year, students, singers, politicians, filmmakers, actors, models, athletes, British Royal Family members and many more publicly added to that rainbow chorus that is enveloping the world.
We’re celebrating National Coming Out Day with a look back at these 17 people who bravely kicked down the closet door in 2016 and helped change the world for the better by simply being themselves.
1. Brian Anderson
2. Colton Haynes
The actor/model ended years of speculation about his sexuality this year when he came out to Entertainment Weekly in May and opened up about the difficult journey he’s had on the way to becoming a totally out and proud gay man.
“It took me so long to get to this point, but I’m doing so good,” Haynes said. “I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and healthier than I’ve ever been, and that’s what I care about.”
3. Lilly Wachowski
Following in the footsteps of her sister and directing partner Lana Wachowski, The Matrix and Sense8 co-creator revealed she is also a transgender woman and encouraged a new approach to the way we discuss the concept of gender.
“We need to elevate the dialogue beyond the simplicity of binary,” she said in a statement published by the Windy City Times. “Binary is a false idol.”
4. Lord Ivar Mountbatten
“When I was growing up, it was known as ‘the love that dare not speak its name,’ but what’s amazing now is how far we have all come in terms of acceptance,” he said.