#ComingOut

Gus Kenworthy's Disappointed That More Athletes Haven't Come Out

Openly gay Olympian Gus Kenworthy says he wishes more athletes would come out of the closet.

While talking to Variety, Kenworthy shared his thoughts on closeted athletes in the world of professional sports.

Kenworthy talked about this topic to honor the nearly three-year anniversary of his coming out through an ESPN article back in 2015.

“I feel like most of my fears were unnecessary, and I think that tends to be the case with people who are in the closet,” Kenworthy told Variety. “I was scared because our whole income was based on sponsorships, and you get sponsors based off your image. I thought there wasn’t a place for a gay guy in my sport. There had never been one before me. I came out, and it was the opposite of what I expected. I was the most endorsed athlete at the Olympics, which was kind of insane to me.”

Kenworthy then noted how coming out ended up helping him professionally more than he ever imagined it would.

“When brands are trying to figure out which athletes to endorse, they’re like, ‘Who’s got a good story?’ They didn’t want a ton of straight white athletes who are normally the face of the Winter Olympics. Adam and I were the only two gay men. I walked into that ceremony holding his hand, knowing we were competing for the community.”

Knowing what he knows now, Kenworthy shares that he’s disappointed, though understanding, that more athletes haven’t come out by now.

“I really thought I was going to come out in ESPN and then suddenly other people would too, other skiers and snowboarders. I really thought it was going to happen, and it hasn’t. It’s not easy, and it doesn’t seem to be getting easier. But I do think that more athletes need to come out, and athletes need to recognize that they have a responsibility to come out. It’s only going to do good to have more representation and visibility.”

While we are on Kenworthy’s side of wanting more athletes to come out soon, we also have to remember, especially on National Coming Out Day, that the coming out process is an individual’s right and responsibility. Otherwise, you’ll have the negative effects of being outed like with Orange Is The New Black star Samira Wiley.

But, we look forward to the day when societal pressure won’t get in the way of actors coming out easily. We’ll be waiting in the wings with Kenworthy for that day.

h/t: Variety

Former "Orange Is The New Black" Star Samira Wiley Talks About The Time A Cast Mate Outed Her

Former Orange is the new Black actor Samira Wiley explains what it was like to be outed by a fellow cast mate.

While talking on the WNYC Nancy podcast, Wiley opened up about a hard time in her life. The cast mate mentioned her after being asked for a list of out actors in the show’s cast and Wiley says she “wasn’t out at all.” After seeing her name on the list, she admits, “I cried, I cried a lot.”

More specifically, the podcast host asked Wiley, "When you were playing Poussey, to what degree were you out?"

She then responded by saying:

“Someone from my cast, actually, they were doing an interview when they were talking about out gay actors in the cast and they mentioned my name and I saw it in print and I cried, I cried a lot."

“And I, like, tried to get it taken down and, look, I had a journey, you guys, it was not all always super open-hearted and like I’m a gay, gaymo,” she said.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It wasn’t until later getting to know her character that Wiley started to become comfortable with her own sexuality being public knowledge.

“I think falling in love with Poussey, which is a real thing that happened to me, helped me fall in love with myself,” she said.

Now, Wiley is married to show writer Lauren Morelli, but she still cringes at the memory of being outed.

On this National Coming Out Day, remember that the coming out process is entirely personal. We should all be mindful of our peers when it comes to this topic and ask if one is out before ever speaking about their sexualities.

“Everyone’s journey is their own, you should be able to come out on your own terms,” said Wiley.

h/t: WNYC’s Nancy

Cameron Cole Comes Out In Emotional Big Brother Moment

A Big Brother UK contestant came out as gay while on the show.

18-year-old Cameron Cole talked about his sexuality on this Friday’s (October 5) episode.

The teenager admitted to feeling awkward after fellow contestant Cian Carrigan told the rest of the house that Cameron had a crush on him.

Cian, who was fairly drunk, said:

“I do, I do fancy him… Oh my god, what the fuck?”

“He does make me laugh. I don’t know what it is, I love his smile, and I think his smile is so beautiful. I love that smile and when he smiles at me.”

The next day, however, Cian tried to take back his words.

“I was proper pissed last night. He’s 18,” said Cian.

Feeling awkward and uncomfortable with the situation, Cameron sought out the advice and aid of fellow houseguest Lewis Flanagan.

In that conversation, Cameron expressed his feelings and thoughts towards officially coming out.

Cameron then asked Lewis to definitively ask him about his sexuality.

You can watch the amazing and emotional moment down below.

"Front Cover" And "Single Parents" Star Jake Choi Came Out As Fluid

New ABC sitcom Single Parents premiered last week to good reviews, and one star is using that platform and newfound popularity to talk about his identity.

On Single Parents, Jake Choi plays a 21-year-old single dad named Miggy Park in an ensemble show with cast mates like Leighton Meester, Taran Killam, and Brad Garrett. But, some LGBTQ fans may remember Jake Choi from his 2015 gay romance film Front Cover.

In it, he played an openly gay fashion stylist who worked with a closeted actor from China (played by James Chen). The two quickly found a connection and attraction to the other, and learned from each other (Chen’s character admired Choi’s character for being openly gay and Choi’s character admired the other for his pride in his Chinese heritage).

Now, Choi says that he considered himself straight when that movie was filmed, but his self-identity has changed since then.

In a conversation with Very Good Light, Jake Choi says that he considers himself both sexually fluid and partly gender fluid.

“When I shot the movie I identified as straight – that’s how I was conditioned,” said Choi. “Now, I identify as fluid.”

Choi says that working in that gay role left him with questions about his own sexuality and self-expression.

"Back when people questioned if I was gay after the [movie], I was like, ‘no, no.’ But after I did Front Cover, it made me think. A lot," he revealed. "Am I really living my truth? Am I really free? Am I still kinda, swimming upstream?"

"Every day I would think, What does it mean when I’m talking to a guy and connect with him emotionally with intimate energy? Maybe it’s not just sexual, but it could be. Maybe, shit, I’m attracted to everything. Maybe it’s more feminine or more androgynous. I realized yeah, I’m fluid. It’s not black or white. It’s grey."

Then on Instagram, Jake Choi thanked Very Good Light for giving him the opportunity to talk about his identity.

If you want to support Jake Choi, American viewers can watch Single Parents on ABC.

Collegiate Swimmer Abraham DeVine Came Out As Gay

A 2018 NCAA champion in the 400 individual medley came out as gay in an interview with Swimming World magazine.

Despite now having the confidence to come out publicly, Stanford University senior Abraham DeVine says he found it difficult to come out privately. DeVine started out by talking to his former teammate Mx Williamson. He then worked up his way to coming out to other teammates and peers.

“I’m a gay athlete. There aren’t too many of us, so when I came out to my college team, that was a really tough time for me,” said DeVine.

He then added:

“I remember that being a pretty emotional time, and just feeling my whole team wrap around me and feeling that love in a place where I hadn’t really felt it, that was definitely pretty special for me,” DeVine said. “Just seeing them kind of prove me wrong was definitely special, something I’ll never forget.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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He continued:

“Growing up gay in any sport is definitely tough. There’s a culture that is created in a lot of sports where being gay is an insult. It’s something that gets tossed around and makes you not want to go to practice or not want to hang out with the team or be a part of the team.”

Now that he’s cleared himself of any fear of coming out, DeVine can focus on the sport that he loves.

In fact, the Pac-12 Swimmer of the year shares that he’ll be competing to qualify for the 2020 Olympic swimming team.

We wish him luck.

Professional Golfer Tadd Fujikawa Comes Out As Gay In An Open Letter About Suicide Prevention

We have news of the first professional golfer to come out as gay.

Professional golfer Tadd Fujikawa is a native of Hawaii who gained acknowledgement in the world of golf after qualifying for the U.S. Open in 2006. The following year, he became the youngest player in 50 years to make the weekend cut for the Sony Open. He was only 16-years-old.

In the following decade, Fujikakwa has continued on in the world of golf, and has used that platform to talk about personal issues such as his battle with depression and anxiety, according to Golf Digest.

And now, 27-year-old Fujikawa has opened up even more by sharing that he is gay.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tadd Fujikawa (@taddy808) on

Fujikawa made this announcement yesterday on Instagram by posting an open letter in honor of world suicide prevention day.

“So…I’m gay,” he wrote, “Many of you may have already known that.”

The athlete then went further to write about his experiences of coming to terms with his sexuality.

“I’ve been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality. I thought that I didn’t need to come out because it doesn’t matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much other’s stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope. I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say. I’ve struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place. Now I’m standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone’s life.”

Fujikawa then went on to say how he wants to focus on helping younger LGBTQ people who are still struggling with their sexualities, living in hostile environments, and considering suicide.

“As long as those things are still happening, I will continue to do my best to bring more awareness to this issue and to fight for equality.”

He later added:

“If anyone out there is struggling, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. YOU ARE LOVED AND YOU ARE ENOUGH…AS IS, EXACTLY AS YOU ARE!”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

*PLEASE READ* Coincidentally, today is world suicide prevention day. However, I was going to share this regardless. So...I'm gay. Many of you may have already known that. I don't expect everyone to understand or accept me. But please be gracious enough to not push your beliefs on me or anyone in the LGBTQ community. My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another. I've been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality. I thought that I didn't need to come out because it doesn't matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much other's stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope. I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say. I've struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place. Now I'm standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone's life. Although it's a lot more accepted in our society today, we still see children, teens, and adults being ridiculed and discriminated against for being the way we are. Some have even taken their lives because of it. As long as those things are still happening, I will continue to do my best to bring more awareness to this issue and to fight for equality. Whether the LGBTQ is what you support or not, we must liberate and encourage each other to be our best selves, whatever that may be. It's the only way we can make this world a better place for future generations. I don't want this to be focused on me. I just want to spread love and acceptance to others who are in a similar situation. If anyone out there is struggling, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. YOU ARE LOVED AND YOU ARE ENOUGH...AS IS, EXACTLY AS YOU ARE! I can't wait for the day we all can live without feeling like we're different and excluded. A time where we don't have to come out, we can love the way we want to love and not be ashamed. We are all human and equal after all. So I dare you...spread love. Let's do our part to make this world a better place.

A post shared by Tadd Fujikawa (@taddy808) on

This New York Teen Came Out At His High School Graduation (And The Crowd Went Crazy)

18-year-old Shankar Lal is starting to get some attention on his Instagram account. Why? Because of a video from two months ago.

Earlier this year, Lal decided it was time for him to come out. He first did so by speaking privately to his family, which went… ok.

While his family didn’t outright reject them, he told Buzzfeed News that they were also “concerned and taken aback.”

"I approached this situation as an opportunity to educate them," he said. "I tried my best to teach them about LGBT people and culture."

With that job done, Shankar Lal took on the next step. Coming out to his school. And what better time to do that than at graduation?

This past June, Lal graduated from the Media Arts & Music program at Hillcrest High School in New York. It was at his ceremony that he left a lasting impression on his now alma mater.

"I decided that I wanted to come out at graduation a month before it actually happened," the recent grad told BuzzFeed. "I remember shopping at Target and seeing all the pride gear. I thought to myself, Wouldn’t it be crazy if I just whipped out a pride flag at graduation?"

Thankfully, someone recorded the stunning moment.

 

we love a good reveal #classof2018 #pride #loveislove #lgbt #pridemonth #dragrace

A post shared by Shankar (@thatsoshanks) on

"The response was insane," Lal said. "I walked across the stage with my pride flag over my shoulders and suddenly everyone started cheering for me. I remember hearing my principal and teachers tell me they were proud of me."

“There was so much love in that room. It was amazing. Even on social media, I had so much love and support. Coming out on graduation was definitely one of the proudest moments in my life.”

h/t: Buzzfeed News

Lawyer Opens up About Aaron Hernandez

Back in 2013, the tight end for the Patriots was arrested in connection to the murder of his fiancee's sister's boyfriend, Odin Lloyd. In 2015, he was convicted for the murder of Odin Lloyd and sentenced to life in prison. According to Newsweek, Lloyd had called Hernandez what he interpreted to be a gay slur and Hernandez feared Lloyd would out him as a bisexual. In 2017, he was also charged in a separate double homicide case but was acquitted of those charges. After the acquittal, the rumors of his bisexuality were discussed and even joked about with The Kirk & Callahan Show going as far as saying he was a "tight end on and off the field" who "became a wide receiver." Several days afterwards, he was found dead in his prison cell; the death ruled a suicide.

In his lawyer's new book, Unnecessary Roughness, Jose Baez discusses how Hernandez opened up about his affair with a man just before he killed himself. Baez said that as they were discussing their strategy, Hernandez broke down crying out of fear that his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, would find out about this relationship with a man. On the topic, Hernandez said:

"She'll be devastated. I never meant to hurt her. I know I keep disappointing her. But she is my soul. She is all I have and will ever have."

Baez said that he seemed hopeful so the next day he talked to Jenkins. He said she was not shaken but he "could see the betrayal in her face." Jenkins wrote the forward for Baez's book and said she had no idea Hernandez was "gay or homosexual." She wrote:

"There has been much speculation about Aaron's sexuality since his death. I can say this: Aaron was very much a man to me. I saw no indication that he was gay or homosexual. I wish I had known how he felt, just so we could have talked about it. I wouldn't have disowned him. I would have been supportive. I can't fault him if he was feeling that way."

 It is understandable that Hernandez would have wanted to remain in the closet given his place in American sports and in an overall hyper-masculine environment. Another one of Hernandez's lawyers said "I think he also came out of a culture that was so negative about gay people that he exhibited some self-hatred." reminding us that in the end, inner-homophobia can be as dangerous as outward homophobia.

h/t: lgbtqnation.com, oxygen.com

State Rep. Shevrin Jones Is Living His Truth As Florida's First Openly Gay Black Lawmaker

Shevrin Jones is at the top of his game within the political world.

He is a state representative within the U.S. state of Florida, he’s won that position three consecutive times, he is highly respected by his peers, and he’s even been whispered as a potential lieutenant governor pick if politician Gwen Graham wins the Democratic nomination next week.

But Jones has just decided to add to that list by becoming the first openly Gay Black lawmaker in the state of Florida.

Jones says he’s always known that he was gay since he was in Kindergarten, but, as he told the Miami Herald, he lost his older brother last year. That loss has led to a new perspective on life.

“My brother died at the age of 34. I was like, that could have been me. I could drop dead living behind the scenes of something that could have helped someone else,” he told the Miami Herald. “I started living my truth just a little bit more.”

So how did Jones come out? It was by having his name place among Equality Florida’s list of endorsements of openly gay candidates.

“I said I don’t know if that’s the way I want to have a coming-out party,” Jones said. “Then I was like, ‘You know what, go ahead. It’s fine.’”

This change didn’t happen over night, however. While his brother’s death led him to the mindset of coming out, he had already began coming out to his family.

Not only did his beloved brother know about his sexuality before he passed, but so too did his parents and now ex-wife.

“I got married and my ex-wife — I love her. She’s amazing. She even lives in my district — she and I were friends for 10 years at school. When I married her I loved her then. But I loved her too much to continue to lie to her and lie to my family. I have to be honest.”

Jones later separated from his wife in 2012 before officially getting divorced in 2015. He now lives in Hollywood, Florida with a male partner.

It’s been a struggle to not only be openly gay but to accept his sexuality in the first place. Now, Jones hopes to lead by example for his constitutes (whether they’re gay or otherwise).

h/t: The Miami Herald

Teen Sitcom Star Comes Out As Transgender In Candid TIME Magazine Essay

JJ Totah, who most recently starred in the NBC sitcom Champions helmed by Mindy Kaling, has come out as transgender in a thoughtful and candid essay for TIME Magazine.

Totah begins by sharing she feels she’s been “shoved into a box: ‘J.J. Totah, gay boy.’”

“When I was really young, growing up in a small town in Northern California, people would just assume I was gay,” writes Totah. “On the playground, I was the type of kid who wanted to sing with the girls, not play soccer with the boys."

"Then I found myself playing that role once I got into the entertainment industry, and people kept assuming my identity," she continues. "Numerous reporters have asked me in interviews how it feels to be a young gay man. I was even introduced that way before receiving an award from an LGBTQ+ rights organization. I understand that they didn’t really know better. I almost felt like I owed it to everybody to be that gay boy. But that has never been the way I think of myself.”

Saying she’s “ready to be free,” Totah signals the readers, “So, listen up, y’all. You can jump on or jump off. Either way this is where I’m heading.”

“My pronouns are she, her and hers,” the 17-year-old states definitively. “I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah.”

Totah shares that she remembers all the way back to the age of five wishing she were a girl. But it was seeing the docuseries I Am Jazz, about transgender activist Jazz Jennings, that made it clear who Josie really was.

Watching Jazz Jennings' story unfold, Josie says she turned to her mother and declared, “This is me. I’m transgender.”

Fortunately for Josie, her mother was immensely supportive and said, “Okay, let’s do it.”

In three days time, Josie had seen a specialist who put her on hormone blockers.

Throughout the essay, Josie shares many of the same fears most trans people do: difficulties in changing ID documents; not being allowed to use a restroom that aligns with her gender identity; concerns that living authentically as trans could limit her; and being scared that she’ll be judged or rejected.

Even with all that in the mix, she says when friends and family call her Josie, “it feels like I’m being seen.”

Josie brings the essay to a close writing about upcoming college this fall and plans to continue acting.

“I plan to play roles I haven’t had the opportunity to play,” Totah writes. “And I can only imagine how much more fun it’s going to be to play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy. I’m going to gun for those roles, be it a transgender female or a cisgender female. Because it’s a clean slate — and a new world.”

Make sure you click over to TIME and read the full essay. Well worth your time.

Mindy Kaling tweeted her support to her former teen star writing, “I love you, Josie. I’m so glad you’re able to speak your truth and live as your authentic self. You’re also so damn talented – I can’t wait to write for you again!”

 

 

Here's Josie being honored earlier this year by the Human Rights Campaign with its Trailblazer Award in Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

 

Although the series was cancelled in June, check out the original trailer for the series, Champions, below.

Big congrats to Josie for living your life authentically as you are!

 

 

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