2. This amazing club president:
"Back in high school, when I first joined the GSA as an aggressively closeted ally, the president of the club was this 11th grader butch lesbian. She was the first person I ever saw really being out and celebrating who she was. I didn’t know I was allowed to cut my hair short or wear suits (because stereotypes, yay!), that I was able to talk about how hot girls are, or really just be totally unapologetically myself. She’s the whole reason I was able to come out and really get over my internalized homophobia. I almost committed suicide because of my sexuality, but seeing someone like her in my high school brought me back from a dark place."
4. Marie Ringheim (Girl in Red):
"She is a big voice for the LBGTQ community through her music. It's something I will hold on to forever. Marie is a sweet, intelligent, and mature person, but she's still very goofy and fun. She always talks to her fans and takes an interest in them, which I love to see!"
5. This brave mother:
"My mom came out as bisexual shortly after I came out as lesbian. She is still happily married to my dad, but the fact that she had the courage to present her true self after all these years (when she grew up in a very religious household and had a lot of internalized homophobia) is very inspirational to me."
7. Jessie Paege (jessiepaege):
"She was the first role model I ever had. Jessie is a bisexual YouTuber who helped me discover and accept my sexuality. She’s so caring, sweet, bubbly, inspiring, and doesn’t give a fuck about what anyone thinks about her. She really helped me accept myself as a young lesbian."
8. This incredible friend:
"One of my closest friends came out as genderfluid about two years ago. They were a lot more content because they were finally happy with who they were. Even though they still face a lot of stupid questions and homophobic people, they take on each day knowing they are who they are and people just have to accept that. They are completely my role model, and teach me every day how it’s OK to be yourself."
9. Daniel Howell (danisnotonfire):
10. Emi Salida:
"She was one of the only asexual creators on YouTube when I was coming out. Her videos helped me discover who I was and gain the confidence to come out to my friends. It was through her that I finally became comfortable with calling myself queer."
11. Miles McKenna (MilesChronicles):
"He’s an incredible activist and speaker but at the same time posts content that makes people laugh. He’s a very good person and someone I would want to be like."
13. This amazing uncle:
"I’ve never had the guts to tell him, but my uncle is my role model. He was married to a woman for 20 years before he felt safe enough (with her support) to come out in the early '90s. I can’t imagine how scary it must have been to be a gay Catholic during that time, but knowing my family was accepting of him made me feel safer about being who I am. Someday I need to sit down and tell him how much his bravery has meant to me."
14. This wonderful grandfather:
"My grandpa! He has been out since the '80s and has been a huge part of the LGBTQ community in Minneapolis. He has always focused on including older folks and marginalized communities in Pride celebrations. He has showed me for as long as I can remember that being authentically yourself is key to living a happy life and was one of the first people that I came out to. He is exactly what it means to be out, proud, and living your best life."
15. Harry Styles:
16. This incredible aunt:
"My aunt is a lesbian and also a pastor. She lives in NYC and marches in the pride parades, yet also has such a strong tie to religion and showed me that you can be out and proud while still being religious."
17. This courageous cousin:
"My cousin Eric! Not famous but a minority freedom fighter from Oakland. He's been fighting for LGBTQ rights since the '80s during the AIDS crisis, during which he lost many loved ones including his close friend and a face of the crisis Pedro Zamora. He keeps fighting in the nonprofit sector to this day along with his husband and children. He’s just the best person I’ve ever met, to put it simply."
18. Nyla Rose:
19. And finally, this kind uncle:
"My uncle has been out for a long time. He’s had a very successful life and is incredibly kind and giving. At 49 he’s faced a lot more than I have, and it makes me feel good to know that if he can do it, I can. He’s one of the only people I’ve come out to and I know I can trust him. I will always look up to him and know there is hope and love for me."
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.