2017 has been a year of Coming OUT! What a fabulous time to be LGBTQI where we have so many role models, people like ourselves living successfully and happily. Gone are the days when we had no one to look at and think ‘wow they are just like me’.
All these people in the media who we can connect with help so many young people to come to terms with being LGBTQI. They help us find out who we are, be our true selves and to be brave when deciding to share who we are to our friends and families. You should spend a bit of time checking out these famous Out role models; not only are they a diverse bunch but they are actively standing up for what they believe in.
SHANNON PURSER– The ‘Stranger Things’ actress came out as Bisexual. She noted that it was a difficult time for her and she was still trying to get to grips with her sexuality. Honest approach to coming out, feelings shared with many of us.
TAYLOR BENNETT– Younger brother to ‘Chance the Rapper’, Taylor is also Bisexual and spoke out about this struggles with his sexuality as a young black man. Another person showing bravery to help others with their feelings.
JAKE ZYRUS – Coming out as a transgender man was ‘surreal’ said the GLEE singer from the US. He came out on social media by a name change and it went on from there. He spoke of how is culture did not agree with his decisions and that his relationship with his family was strained. He is doing great work helping other trans people fight for equality.
RYAN O’CALLAGHAN – A Big, strong, butch guy playing in the NFL… nobody would think he was gay!? Ryan, now an ex-NFL football player came out after years of hiding, drug abuse and almost killing himself. He tried to use football as a way of keeping his secrets and it nearly killed him. He has since spoken openly about being gay and now shows support to other LGBTQ sports people.
TEDDY QUINLIVAN – Model and trans activist Teddy is trying to break the stigma of what is it to be a trans woman. She uses her platform to change peoples perceptions on transgender issues and to fight for equality. Her visibility is helping make changes for trans people today.
MARK FOSTER – ‘Telling half-truths’ is the way mark described how he lived his life as an international swim athlete for years. Mark just spent his career keeping his sexuality hidden from the camera’s but now speaks openly about being a gay man. He has also spoken about how it is very difficult as a sports star to come out and the fears that it would ruin careers.
There are some common themes around all of these Coming Out stories and the stories of others this year… every one of these people kept their secrets too long, it damaged them and affected their lives with their families and friends. We are lucky now to have lots of role models, people we can talk to to support Coming Out. There is a real fear still for some people; what will happen if I come out? Will people treat me differently? Will my family still love me? Many professional male footballers MUST be gay but not one of them feels that they can come out. It is sad for them that they feel they have to hide, even from their most loyal fans.
So remember, if you do feel it is the right time for you to come out, look to these role models & any other people you know that can help you get through the difficult times. The LGBTQI community is a supportive one!