23 LGBTQ+ Celebrities Who Have Been Out For 10+ Years

·14 min read

Warning: this post contains mentions of suicide.

Public figures using their platforms to share their personal stories is such a powerful thing. LGBTQ+ celebs who have publicly come out inspire others to share who they are and live their truth. Here are 23 trailblazing celebs who you may not realize have now been out for 10 or more years, or 20 or more years.

1.Zachary Quinto

Zachary Quinto is pictured at the "Morning Sun" opening night in New York City on November 3, 2021

Zachary first publicly stated he's gay over a decade ago, in October 2011. The actor felt compelled to come out following the tragic suicide of gay teen Jamey Rodemeyer, who passed away earlier that same year.

It was during an interview with New York magazine that the Star Trek star came out. He also opened up about his decision to reveal he is an LGBTQ+ community member in a post on his website, per Entertainment Weekly.

"... in light of Jamey’s death — it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it — is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality," Zachary wrote before adding, "... I believe in the power of intention to change the landscape of our society — and it is my intention to live an authentic life of compassion and integrity and action."

Bruce Glikas / Bruce Glikas / Getty Images

2.Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes smiles at a "Visible: Out On Television" screening on February 25, 2020

Wanda came out as gay in 2008 while attending a rally in support of marriage equality. In 2020, the comedian reflected on this decision and said that she "felt like [she] had to say something" at the gathering as Proposition 8 was being decided upon by voters.

"The drive behind me coming out publicly was when it became political, back when Proposition 8 was being talked about," Wanda told OprahMag.com. "I felt like I had to say something. You’re inspecting my life, the life that I have? You’re saying that my marriage isn’t legal? That’s when I said, 'Alright, it’s important to speak out.' Also, I wanted to put a face on who that was affecting, not just white gay men. There are women. There are mothers. There are real people involved in these votes that affect lives and kids."

Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images

3.Anna Paquin

Anna Paquin poses at the "American Underdog" premiere in December 2021

Anna came out as bisexual in a 2010 video for the Give a Damn campaign, which promoted LGBTQ+ rights. TheTrue Blood star, who wed her husband, Stephen Moyer, in 2010, took to Instagram in May 2021 to send a message in celebration of her sexual orientation. "I'm a #proudbisexual who is married to a wonderful human who happens to be a man," Anna wrote in her post, along with the caption, "If he doesn’t have a problem with it, why should anyone else?"

Rodin Eckenroth / FilmMagic / Getty Imahges

4.Clay Aiken

Clay Aiken poses at the after party for the "Frozen" Broadway production opening night in March 2018

After having a son through in vitro fertilization with a friend, music producer Jaymes Foster, Clay chose to come out as gay in 2008. He made this announcement through a cover story with People and said he wanted his child, Parker, to be brought up in an “accepting" household.

"It was the first decision I made as a father," Clay said of coming out. "I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that."

Walter Mcbride / Getty Images

5.Janet Mock

Janet Mock smiles at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on February 09, 2020

In a 2011 Marie Claire story, Janet came out and discussed her experiences as a transgender woman. The writer, director, and activist detailed the harassment she faced as she honored her gender identity, then expressed her hope that sharing her story would help others pursue their dreams.

"It used to pain me to hear my birth name, a heartbreaking insult classroom bullies would shout to get a rise out of me," Janet said. "But talking and writing about my experiences have helped me finally accept the past and celebrate the fact that I was once a big dreamer who happened to be born a boy named Charles.

"I hope my story resonates with other big dreamers, lets them know that no matter how huge, how insane, how unreasonable or unreachable your goals may seem, nothing — not even your own body — can hold you back if you are certain and fearless and, yes, even a little ballsy in your quest," she added.

John Shearer / Getty Images

6.Billie Joe Armstrong

Billie Joe Armstrong performs at a concert in Milan on June 15th, 2022

The Green Day frontman has been out since 1995, when he revealed to The Advocate that he is bisexual.

"It’s something that I’ve always been interested in," Billie Joe said, via NME. "I think people are born bisexual, and it’s just that our parents 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."

Mondadori Portfolio / Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

7.Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa Carlton sits down for a Vice interview in 2021

The "A Thousand Miles" singer-songwriter publicly announced that she is bisexual during a performance in 2010. Vanessa spoke to HuffPost in 2015 and commented on her coming out, which took place at Nashville Pride. When she noticed a couple of female fans during the performance who were in a relationship, Vanessa said she "felt their pain, in a way," and this led to her announcing to the crowd that she is a "proud bisexual woman."

"I wanted to connect with them," Vanessa said to HuffPost. "I wanted them to know I understood."

Following her coming out, Vanessa explained, many music listeners have shared their own stories with her and expressed their gratitude for her openness.

"People that are really struggling with their sexuality will feel comfortable talking with me about it, or they'll be like, 'Thank you,'" she said.

Vice Asia / Via youtube.com

8.Meredith Baxter

Meredith Baxter poses at the Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards on April 24, 2015

Back in 2009, the Family Ties actor announced she is gay during an appearance on Today. Meredith said she realized her sexuality as an adult, beginning in the early 2000s.

"I'm a lesbian, and it was [a] later in life recognition of that fact," Meredith said before adding, "Some people are saying, 'Were you living a lie?' The truth is, not at all. This has only been the past seven years.

"I'm extraordinarily happy," she said.

Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic / Getty Images

9.Andy Cohen

Andy Cohen smiles at the "Plaza Suite" opening night in March 2022

13 years ago, Andy publicly came out as gay during a Real Housewives of New Jersey Season 1 reunion show. In a 2019 essay he wrote for OprahMag.com, the Watch What Happens Live host said this occurred when comments made by Teresa Giudice's then-husband, Joe Giudice, were called into question.

"And then, I remember when I had to come out on TV. It was during the first Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion in 2009, and Teresa Giudice’s husband said something that Danielle Staub thought was homophobic, or disrespectful to gays," Andy said.

During the reunion taping, Andy shared his feelings about Joe's comments and described this moment he officially came out as a "big deal" in the essay.

"We had a conversation about it, and Teresa said it wasn’t offensive. I said — and this is way before I started inserted myself into anything — 'Look, I have to say, I’m the only gay guy in the room. I am gay, and it was not comfortable to me,'" Andy said. "At the time, it was kind of a big deal, because I hadn’t come out publicly on TV. This was way before Watch What Happens Live, and I guess I had never said it. Weirdly, that was kind of my 'public' coming out."

Bruce Glikas / Bruce Glikas / WireImage / Getty Images

10.Megan Fox

Megan Fox is seen at a "Machine Gun Kelly's Life In Pink" screening on June 27, 2022

As of 2022, it's been 13 years since Megan opened up about being a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

"I have no question in my mind about being bisexual," Megan said to Esquire in a 2009 interview, per Marie Claire.

"I just think that all humans are born with the ability to be attracted to both sexes," she added.

Arturo Holmes / WireImage / Getty Images

11.Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean is seen at the Met Gala on September 13, 2021

Just over a decade ago, Frank came out through a July 2012 letter posted on Tumblr. In the write-up, the singer-songwriter said his first romance was with another man when he was in his late teens.

“4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19. He was, too," Frank wrote. "We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Every day almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. ... It was my first love; it changed my life."

Frank concluded his statement with the message, "I feel like a free man. If I listen closely...I can hear the sky falling, too."

Taylor Hill / WireImage / Getty Images

12.Chris Colfer

Chris Colfer smiles at the Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival premiere of "The Sixth Reel" in August 2021

Chris rose to fame when he played a gay high school glee club member, Kurt Hummel, in the hit series, Glee. The show started in 2009, and that same year Chris confirmed he is gay when comedian Chelsea Handler brought up his sexuality during an appearance on Chelsea Lately.

Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

13.Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore poses at the Paramount Upfront event on May 18, 2022

Drew has been out as bisexual for nearly 20 years. In 2003, the actor and talk show host stated that she's always been attracted to both men and women.

"Do I like women sexually? Yeah, I do. Totally. I have always considered myself bisexual," Drew told Contact Music.

"I love a woman's body. I think a woman and a woman together are beautiful, just as a man and a woman together are beautiful. Being with a woman is like exploring your own body, but through someone else. ... When I was younger, I used to go with lots of women. Totally — I love it," she added.

Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

14.Sir Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen attends a "Richard III" screening on April 28, 2016

Over two decades ago, Ian came out as gay while discussing Section 28 of the Local Government Bill 1988. The controversial bill, which was fully repealed in 2003, was opposed to local jurisdiction “promoting homosexuality."

"It’s offensive to anyone who is — like myself — homosexual, apart from the whole business of what can and cannot be taught to children," Ian said of the bill to BBC Radio 3.

Ben A. Pruchnie / Getty Images

15.Lance Bass

Lance Bass arrives at the Vanderpump à Paris at Paris Las Vegas opening event on April 21, 2022

While he was a member of NSYNC, Lance didn't publicly say he is gay for fear that the band's success "would be completely over," he said to the Hollywood Reporter in 2020. In addition, he was raised in a religious environment and worried his sexuality wouldn't be accepted.

“It was something that I had to grapple with my whole life and figure out how to survive,” Lance told Today in 2021. “And I think it's horrible for any kid to have to feel that any time in their life — they had to do something, fake themselves just to be able to survive this world.”

While visiting a popular travel destination of the gay community, Provincetown, Massachusetts, in 2006, Lance was asked by a stranger if he was gay. He said yes to this question, then learned the man was a reporter when he got calls from magazines asking him about his sexuality. He decided to come out with a People cover story that same year.

"The thing is, I’m not ashamed — that’s the one thing I want to say," Lance said to People. "I don't think it's wrong, I'm not devastated going through this. I'm more liberated and happy than I’ve been my whole life. I'm just happy."

Gabe Ginsberg / Getty Images

16.Fergie

Fergie is photographed at the Artists Inspired by Music: Interscope Reimagined Art Exhibit gathering on January 26, 2022

"Put it this way, I've experimented definitely, but I have never had a steady girlfriend," Fergie said to The Sun in 2009, Pride wrote.

Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images for Interscope Records

17.Boy George

Boy George smiles while attending the premiere of "LUZIA" by Cirque du Soleil on January 13, 2022

While he previously said he is bisexual, George came out as gay in his 1995 autobiography, Take It Like a Man. George opened up to the Hollywood Reporter about his coming out in journey in 2011. The artist said he first came out to his family as a teen, but it took him longer to publicly state his sexual orientation.

"I think you do things in your own time," George said. "My family knew I was gay when I was 15, long before I got famous. But it’s a very different thing coming out to your family and coming out to the universe. That’s a big step."

"A lot of people come up to me all the time and say thank you for helping me be who I am. So my thing wasn’t just about sexuality. It was about anyone who felt different; anyone who felt out of place. Being gay was one part of it," George added.

Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

18.Chaz Bono

Chaz Bono poses at a "Reboot Camp" screening on September 21, 2021

Chaz first stated in 1995 that he is a lesbian. It was then announced in 2009 that Chaz is a transgender man who had made the choice to live out his authentic gender identity.

"Yes, it's true — Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity," Chaz's publicist, Howard Bragman, told TMZ.

"He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones. It is Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his 'coming out' did nearly 20 years ago," Howard added.

Robin L Marshall / Getty Images

19.Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie smiles as she arrives at a screening of "Eternals" on October 25, 2021

Prior to her marriage to Jonny Lee Miller, which ended in 1999, Angelina dated model Jenny Shimizu. The actor publicly came out and said she "love[s] men and women" 25 years ago during a 1997 interview with Girlfriends magazine.

Angelina added that she “probably would have married Jenny Shimizu if [she] hadn’t married [Jonny]," and she "fell in love with [Jenny] the first second [she] saw her."

Ernesto Ruscio / Getty Images

20.BD Wong

BD Wong is pictured at the "Jurassic World Dominion" premiere on June 06, 2022

BD told Pink Planet TV in 2011 that he "totally came out" as gay in 2007. He spoke about the liberating emotions that have resulted from being candid about his sexuality during a 2019 KQED podcast interview.

"The thing that you think is going to kill you is actually the thing that enlivens you and drives you and pushes you forward," BD said. "It's really actually an amazingly great feeling to be yourself. What a concept, right? And I think more people definitely know that now than they did before, although it's still a struggle for lots of people."

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

21.Don Lemon

Don Lemon arrives at the premiere of "Mary J Blige: My Life" on June 23, 2021

In his 2011 memoir, Transparent, the TV journalist and author came out as gay. Don opened up to the New York Times regarding his fear in “talking about something that people might shun [him]" or "ostracize [him] for.” Ultimately, Don explained, he decided it was best to speak openly about his sexuality.

“I abhor hypocrisy. I think if you’re going to be in the business of news, and telling people the truth, of trying to shed light in dark places, then you’ve got to be honest," Don said. "You’ve got to have the same rules for yourself as you do for everyone else.”

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Amazon Studios

22.Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels is pictured at an E! News event

The Biggest Loser trainer came out as gay around 10 years ago. When she spoke to Cosmopolitan in 2016 about her coming out, Jillian discussed the efforts that still need to be made to further LGBTQ+ rights.

"Progress is incremental," Jillian said. "As a species, we're not perfect; we are constantly evolving and progressing. You look at where we came in the last two years with gay rights, and it's enormous. And yet, you see the tremendous backlash and the tremendous bigotry. We have a lot of work to do."

E! Entertainment / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

23.Nathan Lane

Nathan Lane smiles at the 75th Annual Theatre World Awards in June 2019

Nathan officially came out in a cover story with The Advocate in 1999. While he explained that he had "never hidden anything" about his sexuality, the performer felt saying he is gay publicly might help others do the same.

"If I do this story and say I'm a gay person, it might make it easier for somebody else," Nathan said. "So it seems stupid not to."

Walter Mcbride / Getty Images

If you or someone you know has experienced anti-LGBTQ violence or harassment, you can contact the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs hotline at 1-212-714-1141.