On National Coming Out Day, Looking Back at 10 Celebs Who Came Out this Past Year

Monday October 11, 2021
Originally published on October 11, 2021

(l-r) JoJo Siwa, Colton Underwood and Tommy Dorfman
(l-r) JoJo Siwa, Colton Underwood and Tommy Dorfman  (Source:Instagram)

October 11 is National Coming Out Day. "Every year on National Coming Out Day, we celebrate coming out as LGBTQ+. This year, we will mark the 33rd anniversary of National Coming Out Day with the theme of Born to Shine!," reads the description on the day's official website. "Thirty-three years ago, on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, we first observed National Coming Out Day as a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out."

This past year has been a significant one for public figures to come out. Here's a sample.

Colton Underwood


The most high-profile coming out came in April when "Bachelor" star Colton Underwood went public about being gay on "Good Morning America." Appearing on the ABC reality show in 2018, Underwood admitted he was a virgin and was waiting for the right person to have sex with for the first time. Since coming out, Underwood is filming a series for Netflix about his coming out experience with Gus Kenworthy acting as his "gay guide."

Jojo Siwa


The "Dance Mom" star came out with a social media post of herself dancing to Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" last January. "The 17-year-old followed the video up with a photo on Twitter in which she was wearing a T-shirt that read, 'Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever,;" reported The Insider. Siwa later said her girlfriend, Kylie Prew, inspired her to officially come out to her fans after they met on a cruise ship.  "I like queer," Siwa told People in April. "Technically I would say that I am pansexual because that's how I have always been my whole life is just like, my human is my human."

TJ Osborne


Country music is known as being conservative and not particularly LGBTQ friendly, which is one reason why it was such an occasion when one half of the country music group The Brothers Osbourne, TJ Osborne, came out in Time Magazine. Appearing on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," he said: "I was asked, like, 'Why do you have to do this?' And in a perfect world I wish I didn't have to." The star went on to share that, "I kind of got to this point to where I knew that there was never going to be the perfect time" to come out. Now that he's accomplished that feat, Osborne said he now knows that "the perfect time is always now."

Demi Lovato


Last March Demi Lovato told talk show host Joe Rogan that they identified as pansexual, saying: "I also don't know if I'm going to end up with a guy, so I can't really see myself maybe getting pregnant. I'm so fluid now — and a part of the reason why I am so fluid is because I was super closed off." Then in May they took to Instagram "to announce that they are nonbinary and that they will be using they/them pronouns from now on," EDGE reported. "Every day we wake up, we are given another opportunity and chance to be who we want and wish to be," Lovato, 28, wrote in a post about their new podcast "4D with Demi Lovato." "Today is a day I'm so happy to share more of my life with you all. I am proud to let you know that I identify as non-binary and will officially be changing my pronouns to they/them moving forward."

Ronen Rubenstein


In a case of art informing life, "Ronen Rubinstein's gay character on '9-1-1: Lone Star' helped him get comfortable with his own sexuality," reported The Insider. "I fully identify as bisexual," Rubinstein told Variety in April. "I literally just got goosebumps saying that. It feels so good to talk about it, it feels so good to finally be comfortable with it." It was a difficult journey for the actor, in part due to growing up in the conservative New York City borough. "The biggest thing for me is where I come from, it's like people like me and people who have identified as bisexual or gay or as any part of the community, you're just not welcomed. It's as brutally honest as that," he said.

Tommy Dorfman


In June, Tommy Dorfman, the breakout actor from Netflix's "13 Reasons Why," teased with a series of pics of herself holding hands with actor Lucas Hedges while dressed in typical feminine attire. She subsequently came out as trans in a long essay in Time Magazine writing it wasn't so much a transition as a reintroduction. "I view today as a reintroduction to me as a woman, having made a transition medically," she told Time. "Coming out is always viewed as this grand reveal, but I was never not out. Today is about clarity: I am a trans woman. My pronouns are she/her. My name is Tommy." She said it was important to keep her first name to honor her late uncle. "I'm named after my mom's brother who passed a month after I was born, and I feel very connected to that name, to an uncle who held me as he was dying," she told Time. "This is an evolution of Tommy. I'm becoming more Tommy."

Carl Nassib


Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib made headlines as the first NFL active player to come out as gay this past June, which also happened to be Pride Month, in an Instagram post. And he put his money where his heart is by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project. The website The Conversation wrote "to have a gay player in America's most-watched sport represents a landmark moment." Nor did it make much of a difference with his team, whom he helped to win a game against the Baltimore Ravens last month. He told the website Sports Bible that he thought coming out sooner would ruin his career. "I didn't know how people would react. I wanted to make sure I was financially stable before I did it. I didn't know if it would ruin my career. I didn't know if guys would be supportive or not."

Emma Corrin


Emma Corrin made quite a splash playing Princess Diana on "The Crown," winning a Golden Globe and an Emmy for her performance. She made news in April when she made a cryptic message about her sexuality on social media, calling herself "ur fave queer bride?" on Instagram. "Corrin describes herself that way in an Instagram post that has her looking pensive with her arms folded dressed in a wedding dress and veil by Italian designer Miu Miu. The photo is part of a spread the Golden Globe-winning actress wore as part of a feature in the latest POP Magazine," wrote EDGE at the time. She clarified her remarks to ITV in August: "My journey has been a long one and has still got a long way to go. I think we are so used to defining ourselves... That's the way society works within these binaries and it's taken me a long time to realize that I exist somewhere in between and I'm still not sure where that is yet."

Cassandra Peterson (a.k.a. Elvira)


The iconic horror celebrity Elvira (played by Cassandra Peterson), also known as "The Mistress of the Dark," surprised the world in her recently published autobiography by announcing she is gay and has been in a relationship for 19 years, EDGE reported in September. She told Entertainment Weekly how she was pretty much closed off to sex when her friend Teresa "T" Wierson moved in after leaving her boyfriend. They went on a movie date one night, then later became intimate. "The performer adds that before that moment she had 'never been interested in women as anything other than friends,'" adds EW, "but she began to fall for Wierson, eventually revealing the pair have been together for more than 19 years."

"I'm happy and relieved to finally allow our secret to see the light of day," Peterson writes of sharing the details of their relationship in 'Yours Cruelly, Elvira,'" her recently published autobiography.

David Archuleta


Like Colton Underwood, former "American Idol" contestant David Archuleta chose "Good Morning America" as the forum for his coming out. The devout member of the Church of Latter Day Saints has long experienced a conflict about being gay and his conservative church's beliefs. "I think I was a lot more scared before because I always felt there was something that I had to keep to myself," he said of his coming out Instagram post. "There's so much relief to not feel like you have to hide a part of yourself, like a secret." While he placed second on the "American Idol's" seventh season, he has gone onto success as a singer; but has been plagued about reconciling his religious beliefs and being gay. "In private, Archuleta says he started to come to grips with his sexuality and slowly began to come out. Then he prayed about revealing his sexuality publicly," EDGE wrote in August . "When I had that prayer, God just said, 'David, you know I trust you, right? I want said to post about what you're going through right now,'" Archuleta says. "And it was just so clear what I needed to say. I knew exactly what I needed to say, but I feel uncomfortable saying it, because I like to keep to myself — especially with this kind of stuff. But I just knew I had to."