Skip To Content
  • pride2021 badge

18 Celebrities Who Have Opened Up About Their Sexual Identity

"I get made fun of for coming out at 30 — and make fun of myself — but I didn't have examples growing up."

1. Lil Nas X

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

In a 2020 interview with the Guardian, Lil Nas X revealed, "The honest truth is, I planned to die with the secret. ... It was just me acting really hard, which I did a lot of in the beginning. Because it felt like that’s what I had to do.”

He also discussed his concern for the safety of fans who struggle with the decision to come out. "I don’t want to encourage them to do something they don’t 100% want to do. Especially in, like, middle school or high school. Because it’s just super hard."

Referencing himself, he explained, "It’s easier for me. I’m not depending on anybody. There’s no one who’s going to kick me out of the house — nobody to start treating me shitty." While his parents know about his sexuality, he clarified, "It’s not something that’s ever brought up or we speak about. We’re quiet on it. Nobody’s like, ‘Oh, you got a boyfriend?’"

In a 2021 interview with British GQ Style, Lil Nas X elaborated on growing up and going to church in Georgia with his gospel singer father. "It was never super bad. It was just kind of boring for me.” However, he began living "deep in the internet" as a teen and began to question some Christian beliefs. "That was one of the main reasons why I never wanted to be gay. I even thought, ‘If I have these feelings, it’s just a test. A temporary test. It’s going to go away. God is just tempting me.'"

"It’s rebellious on many, many levels for me. ... That I never want to portray too much feminine energy. ... That I have to keep it very safe and PG-13. And that even, as a gay artist, that I have to be...respectable," Lil Nas X continued, in light of his "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" music video. When he first started out, Lil Nas X worried that, as a gay artist, he wouldn't be "allowed to be really sensual or anything. ... Like I’m gay, but I’m not ‘gay.’ ... Like, I’m gay, but I have to make sure you feel like I can be straight-passing too.

2. Hayley Kiyoko

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

In a 2019 interview with The Advocate's podcastLGBTQ&A, Hayley Kiyoko told Jeffrey Masters, "When you grow up being gay...I didn't really have girls courting me because most people in school aren't really out, or at my time weren't really open with their sexuality, so nobody was courting me. You know, you feel alone, and you feel unwanted. And so, I aspired to be an artist, like Justin Timberlake and all these really awesome male artists, that just everyone wanted to be with."

Three months after the release of her music video for "Girls Like Girls," Kiyoko said she told her publicist, "I don't want my name on any out magazines. I don't want lesbian even close to the name Hayley Kiyoko." 

She explained to Masters, "I just want to be an artist because a lot of the time people just see a word and then they judge you. And then they don't listen to the music or what you have to say. I thought that was going to be a disservice to myself as an artist. So I was like, let me just tell people who I am through my art, you know?"

In a 2018 interview with PopSugar, she talked about her inspiration for the "Girls Like Girls" video, saying, "You grow up wherever you are, and you only know the people you're surrounded by, and you're constantly looking for validation and somewhere to fit in. Everyone just wants to fit in somewhere. And you can get lost."

She also opened up about coming out: "I always knew that I liked girls since I was really young. Obviously, everyone has their own personal experience with their family, but eventually, my parents were comfortable with it. It just took time. A lot of times, people think it's just a phase. There are also parents who will be accepting of other people, but as soon as it's their kid, it becomes a whole other reality check. That can be hard."

3. Ricky Martin

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Dior Men

In a 2021 interview with People, Ricky Martin talked about his sexuality, that infamous Barbara Walters interview, and coming out. "Sexuality is one complicated thing. It's not black and white. It's filled with colors. When I was dating women, I was in love with women. It felt right, it felt beautiful. You can't fake chemistry — the chemistry was there with them. I wasn't misleading anyone."

"A lot of people have said, 'Rick, you were trying to prove yourself, because of fame and being a sex symbol.' Well yeah, it could be. I don't know. Everyone knows you don't have to be a gay man to know that love is complicated. Or to know how confusing attraction can be," he shared.

When Walters asked him about his sexuality in 2000 and told Martin that he could stop the rumors by just saying yes or no about being gay rather than remaining ambiguous, Martin responded, "Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to express the rumors. For some reason, I just don’t feel like it."

Twenty-one years later, Martin revealed, "When she dropped the question, I felt violated because I was just not ready to come out. I was very afraid. There's a little PTSD with that."

He continued, "A lot of people say, what would you do differently? Well, maybe I would have come out in that interview. It would've been great because when I came out, it just felt amazing. When it comes to my sexuality, when it comes to who I am, I want to talk about what I'm made of, about everything that I am. Because if you hide it, it's a life-or-death situation."

"There are many, many kids out there that don't have someone to look up to. All they have around them is people telling them, 'What you're feeling is evil,'" Martin expressed, "But, you can't force someone to come out. But if you have an egg and you open it from the outside, only death comes out. But if the egg opens up from the inside, life comes out."

4. Bowen Yang

Jim Spellman / Getty Images

In a 2020 interview with the New York Times, Bowen Yang talked about how he came out twice to his parents, gay conversion therapy, and how his parents discovered a conversation on AIM when he was 17: "Me sort of having lewd conversations with someone, just revealing that this was who I was, that I was gay. They just sat me down and yelled at me and said, ‘We don’t understand this. Where we come from, this doesn’t happen.’"

He continued, "I’d only seen my father cry when my grandpa died and now he’s sobbing in front of me every day at dinner. And I’m thinking, ‘How do I make this right?’ This is the worst thing you can do as a child of immigrants. It’s just like you don’t want your parents to suffer this much over you.”

This culminated in his father arranging eight sessions with a specialist in Colorado Springs for Yang — which turned out to be gay conversion therapy. “The first few sessions were talk therapy, which I liked, and then it veers off into this place of, ‘Let’s go through a sensory description of how you were feeling when you’ve been attracted to men.’ And then the counselor would go through the circular reasoning thing of, ‘Well, weren’t you feeling uncomfortable a little bit when you saw that boy you liked?’ And I was like, ‘Not really.’ He goes, ‘How did your chest feel?’ And I was like, ‘Maybe I was slouching a little bit.’ And he goes, ‘See? That all stems from shame.’ It was just crazy. Explain the gay away with pseudoscience."

After "trying straightness on for size" in college, Yang revealed, "I had this second coming out with them while I was in college and went through this whole flare-up again with them, where they couldn’t accept it. And then eventually, I just got to this place of standing firm and being like, ‘This is sort of a fixed point, you guys. I can’t really do anything about this. So either you meet me here, or you don’t meet me.’"

“It never got to the point of, ‘I won’t come home again.’ I was just like, I’m not going to argue with them. Like my dad every now and then will be like, ‘So, when are you going to meet a girl?’ And I’ll just calmly be like, ‘Dad, it’s not going to happen.’ I mean, it’s O.K. Both my parents are doing a lot of work to just try to understand and I can’t rush them. I can’t resent them for not arriving at any place sooner than they’re able to get there," he said.

5. Billy Porter

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

In a 2020 interview with Allure, Billy Porter talked about toxic masculinity and how it impacted his childhood: "The heteronormative construct that masculinity is better silenced me for many years. It was like my masculinity was in question before I could even comprehend the thought. I was sent to a psychologist at five years old because I was a sissy and my family was afraid. I love them. They didn't know. It was a different time."

He elaborated, "I was in kindergarten, being taken to this white man in this big building to just talk to him for an hour every Wednesday after school. That's one of the first memories I have as a child, that something's wrong with you and you need to be fixed based on ‘You're not masculine enough.' I carried that with me for my whole life until, like, two and a half minutes ago. You know?"

In a 2021 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Porter also discussed what caused him to come out to his mother: "Now I’m trying to have a family; now it’s not just me. It’s time to grow up and move on because shame is destructive — and if not dealt with, it can destroy everything in its path. And my shame was really connected to my relationship with my mother and my ex-relationship with the church. My mother had been through so much already, so much persecution by her religious community because of my queerness, that I just didn’t want her to have to live through their 'I told you so’s.' I didn’t want to put her through that. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I was the statistic that everybody said I would be. So I’d made a pact with myself that I would let her die before I told her."

But that was five years ago, so Porter ultimately decided to call her on a whim — in spite of the plan he and his sister had made to tell her. "Not two minutes into the conversation, she’s like, 'What’s wrong?' I said, 'Nothing.' She’s like, 'Son, please tell me what’s wrong.' So I ripped the Band-Aid off and I told her. She said, 'You’ve been carrying this around for 14 years? Don’t ever do this again. I’m your mother, I love you no matter what. And I know I didn’t understand how to do that early on, but it’s been decades now.'" 

"And it’s all true. It’s my own shame. Years of trauma make a human being skittish. But the truth shall set you free. I feel my heart releasing. It had felt like a hand was holding my heart clenched for years — for years — and it’s all gone."

6. Dan Levy

George Pimentel / Getty Images

In 2020, on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Dan Levy affirmed that he came out at 18 when his mother had asked him if he was gay. "My mom asked me over for lunch one day, and I said, ‘Yes,'" he recalled. "She almost knew. My mom and I have a very close relationship in that sense, and it almost felt like she knew that I was ready."

In a 2020 interview with Bustle, Levy talked about the anxiety he had as a child, which caused him to avoid all social situations and physically manifested as an eye inflammation. "I think that came from a deep-rooted fear of knowing that I was gay and not being able to be free. By the time I got to high school, when your brain is starting to catch up to your physical impulses, it led to a very confusing time. Because on the one hand, you are now being introduced to things like self-awareness and anxiety. At the same time, you’re becoming more and more savvy when it comes to hiding it.”

Consequently, Levy found escape in theater. "I was starting to develop a sense of confidence by way of being able to entertain people. It was like a decoy version of myself that I was putting out there to not have to live with the reality that when the bullying was happening — if someone was calling me a f----t or whatever it was — they were speaking the truth.

But in creating a persona as a distraction from who you really are, Levy said, "Your sense of self gets chipped away. You lose sight of your own value."

In a 2017 interview with Flare, when discussing his Schitt's Creek character David's pansexuality being an aside in the show versus a focal point, Levy said, "[A person’s sexuality] should be an aside. It’s just who they are as people, and it was never our intention to make an after-school special about it. We’re hoping to lead by example by telling stories that are just people’s lives. Showing acceptance is pretty powerful, and all we can try and do is help try to continue that conversation."

7. Janelle Monáe

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

In a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone, Janelle Monáe explained how she discovered she was pansexual after believing she was bisexual: "Being a queer black woman in America — someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker. ... [After identifying as bisexual], I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with, too.’ I’m open to learning more about who I am."

She further elaborated in a 2019 interview with Them, saying, "It's been a journey. For me, sexuality and sexual identity and fluidity is a journey. It's not a destination. I've discovered so much about myself over the years as I've evolved and grown and spent time with myself and loved ones. ... And that's what I love about life. It takes us on journeys that not even we ourselves sometimes are prepared for. You just adapt to where you are and how you've evolved as a free-thinking person."

"And I think there's so much power in not labeling yourself. That said, there's also power in saying 'This is how I identify,' and having community with the folks you identify with," Monáe added, before talking about how while growing up she attended a Baptist church — in which "to be anything other than heterosexual is a sin," and she'd always been "told I'd go to hell if I was" — caused her to have to deal with what her sexuality meant:

"After I had those conversations with myself and I saw a therapist, I had to be able to talk about what it meant to identify as bisexual. What does that mean? How would discovering that impact the relationship I was in at the time? How do I talk about it with my family? How do I go back to my church? The bottom line is I had to have conversations with myself and the folks that love and care about me, and realize they may not understand what it means for me to be a person who identifies as queer in this world." 

"I’ll also add that it wasn't like I wanted to even make it a declaration," she clarified, "I knew that by being truthful through my art, people were gonna have questions, and I had to figure out a way to talk about it. And in having those talks with myself, I realized it was bigger than just me. There are millions of other folks who are looking for a community. And I just leaned into that. I leaned into the idea that if my own church won't accept me, I'm gonna create my own church."

8. Sarah Paulson

John Shearer / Getty Images

In a 2015 interview with Dallas Voice, Sarah Paulson talked about how she accidentally came out by kissing then-girlfriend Cherry Jones who had just won a Tony Award: 

"I was very young, and I was in love. It was the reality of the person I was with. She just won a Tony Award — I’m not gonna pat her on the back, give her the big thumbs up and say, 'Go up there and get your award, sweetie.' It was not a really conscious thought. I didn’t think of what the implications were going to be. I just did what was true and honest to me in that moment."

When reflecting on her own sexuality, Paulson said, "At the end of the day, love is love, period. The end. It sounds cliché, but I think most clichés are clichés because they’re very, very true. And it’s very interesting, because I’ve been with men and women, and [the movie Carol] puts a very fine point on that truth, which is that it’s very personal and that love is love, and sometimes you love a person you weren’t expecting to love — and how glorious is that?"

She also discussed the intentionality of not defining herself. "All I can say is, I’ve done both, and I don’t let either experience define me. I don’t let having been with a man make me think I am heterosexual, or make me want to call myself that, because I know I have been attracted to women — and have lived with women." 

She continued, "So, for me, I’m not looking to define myself, and I’m sorry if that is something that is seen as a rejection of or an unwillingness to embrace [my sexuality] in a public way, but it’s simply not. It’s simply what’s true for me, and that’s all I can speak to. I can’t speak to how anybody’s experience about this works for them or how they got there or where their comfort zone lies."

9. Margaret Cho

Tibrina Hobson / Getty Images

In a 2018 interview with HuffPost, Margaret Cho discussed the challenges of being bisexual and how she came out. "I think [being queer] was something that I just kind of knew — that there was something different in the sense of not belonging — and not really understanding why. It was this feeling of 'I don’t get everything.' And there was this distrust of the other girls around me." 

She went on, "They made me feel like there was something about me that was kind of off and that they didn’t trust me. There would be graffiti on the walls about me and rumors that I had tried to kiss a girl — things that had never happened but that still confirmed for me that there was something different about me. I was really almost at war with my peers — but it was a silent war. Every kid feels awkward as it is but it was magnified for me and in some ways, I knew those other kids were right about me and that was scary, too."

But Cho never expressed her identity until she was 18 or 19. "At that time, I thought I was a dyke. I thought I was a lesbian. And then I realized, 'No, I’m actually attracted to men as well.' So then it became something really confusing for me. My family had a gay bookstore, they were in the gay community, they were working in and around the gay community, so they really were aware of gay people and lesbians but they didn’t understand bisexuality." Cho grew up in San Francisco and has also talked about learning about sex from within the gay community during the AIDS crisis with BuzzFeed News

"It’s still a sensitive issue for many people in my life," she continued to HuffPost. "They really don’t get bisexuality. I’ve had this suspicion with every partner that I’ve ever had [that they didn’t get it]. I’ve never been with another bisexual person. I’ve only been with either straight or gay people, so, it’s a very suspicious place. Nobody has ever really accepted that I’m truly bisexual. Nobody has ever allowed it. It’s still very much a point of argument between anybody that I’ve been with. People just don’t accept it."

But Cho caveated, "I don’t know using 'bisexual' is right because that indicates that there’s only two genders, and I don’t believe that. I’ve been with people all across the spectrum of gender and who have all kinds of different expressions of gender, so it’s so hard to say. Maybe 'pansexual' is technically the more correct term, but I like 'bisexual' because it’s kind of ’70s. There’s something very chic about that word and I guess that’s probably the right one for me."

10. JoJo Siwa

Noam Galai / Getty Images for BuzzFeed

As reported by People, in a 2021 Instagram Live, Jojo Siwa responded to a fan who asked her how she labels herself: "I have thought about this, but the reason I'm not going to say this answer is because I don't really know this answer. I think humans are awesome; I think humans are really incredible people." 

Siwa went on, "Right now, I'm super-duper happy, and I want to share everything with the world, but I also want to keep things in my life private until they are ready to be public. Right now what matters is that you guys know that no matter who you love, that it's OK. It's awesome, and the world is there for you. There are so many people that are there for you." 

She also acknowledged, "I know everyone's situation is different, and it might be harder for some people and easier for some people to come out or be themselves, but I think coming out has this stigma around it — that it's this really, really scary thing, but it's not anymore. There are so many accepting and loving people out there that it's OK." (Siwa later revealed that she couldn't sleep for three days after she came out because of the backlash she received online.)

"Of course, people are going to say it's not normal," she continued. "But nothing is normal. Literally, not one thing about anybody is normal, and it's OK not to be normal; it's OK to be a little different; it's OK to be a little weird, strange, different. That's something we should never, ever be afraid of. That's something we should be proud of. ... I'm the happiest I've ever been; that's what matters."

When another fan asked how long she'd been a part of the LGBTQ community, Siwa answered, "I don't know. I think my whole life. Because my whole life, I've really really been, I just liked people, but I have never fallen in love before. But I always believed that my person was just going to be my person. If that person happened to be a boy, great! And if that person happened to be a girl, great! I think I'm just really happy. I think in life you know when you meet your person; I really do."

11. Rebecca Black

Rachel Murray / Getty Images for Rolla's

On an episode of the Dating Straight podcast, as reported in a 2020 interview with Billboard, Rebecca Black publicly came out as queer by revealing that she had recently broken up with a woman. "I made a conscious decision to not, like, 'come out.' People started asking, and I stopped not responding. I'm still in the process, it feels like."

She continued, "Every day is different; it's something that over the past few years I've obviously been having a lot of conversations with myself about. To me, the word 'queer' feels really nice. I have dated a lot of different types of people, and I just don't really know what the future holds. Some days, I feel a little more on the 'gay' side than others." 

When asked if coming out was a tough decision to make, Black answered, "I wouldn’t call it tough, but I think for me the hardest part was probably that I was always trying to find the right time, and what I realized is that there’s never really a right time and I would never have thought that this would even happen now, but I am really happy that it is happening. Everybody talks about that sense of relief, and I had no idea what that would feel like, but they’re right, and I’m so happy to be finally able to talk about it." In fact, Black told BuzzFeed that her song "Girlfriend" was inspired by her then-girlfriend and coming out, adding that she feels lucky to no longer have to be told to switch pronouns in her songs. 

She also talked about struggling with her queerness. "One thing I did struggle with was that when I started to come into my sexuality I was around 19 or 20 years old — and I’m only 22 now. So part of me did almost feel like, ‘I’m too late; I should have known this about myself,’ and so I wasn’t validating myself and I was questioning myself all the time — which I do think is a natural part of some people's process with coming into themselves — until I started talking to people who had similar experiences to me, like friends of mine who were realizing that they’re gay or fluid." 

She concluded, "I was just talking to someone who didn’t know until they were 23, so it doesn’t mean anything. The timing of when you realize isn’t important; it’s about the celebration and being able to embrace it. That’s what matters."

12. Kristen Stewart

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

In a 2017 interview with the Guardian, Kristen Stewart acknowledged Hollywood's embracement of her as a high-profile gay actor. "I mean, it’s hard to talk about. I don’t want to seem presumptuous, because everyone has their own experience. The whole issue of sexuality is so grey. I’m just trying to acknowledge that fluidity, that greyness, which has always existed. But maybe only now are we allowed to start talking about it."

She also discussed the impact her sexuality has on her Hollywood career in a 2019 interview with Harper's Bazaar. "I have fully been told, 'If you just like do yourself a favor, and don’t go out holding your girlfriend’s hand in public, you might get a Marvel movie,'" she said, before adding, "I don’t want to work with people like that."

In a 2020 interview with InStyle, Stewart opened up about the first time she dated a woman. "The first time I ever dated a girl, I was immediately being asked if I was a lesbian. And it's like, 'God, I'm 21 years old.' I felt like maybe there were things that have hurt people I've been with. Not because I felt ashamed of being openly gay but because I didn't like giving myself to the public, in a way. It felt like such thievery." 

"This was a period of time when I was sort of cagey," she revealed, "Even in my previous relationships, which were straight, we did everything we could to not be photographed doing things — things that would become not ours. So I think the added pressure of representing a group of people, of representing queerness, wasn't something I understood then." 

She continued, "Only now can I see it. Retrospectively, I can tell you I have experience with this story. But back then I would have been like, 'No, I'm fine. My parents are fine with it. Everything's fine.' That's bullshit. It's been hard. It's been weird. It's that way for everyone."

13. George Michael

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic, Inc / Getty Images

In a 1999 interview with the Advocate, George Michael opened up about coming out and being openly gay. "People are still telling me to be careful. But at the end of the day, all I can be is honest. I’ve reached a very good point of self-acceptance. I don’t have any shame about my sexuality. I don’t think people are going to desert me because they know more about me."

He continued, "Look, I’m 35 now. I don’t think you can base your sexuality around anything other than the people you fall in love with. When I was younger I slept with men and women, and I didn’t fall in love at all. I was kind of underdeveloped that way. I would have brief relationships. If you sleep with both sexes and you think you’re having relationships, well, it’s kinda confusing. The other thing is, as a celebrity, you’re given all kinds of choices you don’t want."

"I went from being a relatively unattractive child in school to becoming famous," he revealed. "I was suddenly given the opportunity to have sex whenever I wanted it. I had way too much sex with way too many people, most of them women but some men. And because I had no emotional understanding of myself, all of it was fairly unsatisfying. Also, I would choose men that were completely unavailable or who were similarly confused sexually. When I did finally allow myself to get into a relationship where there was real commitment going, I was 27. From then on, I believed I was gay."

He then talked about coming out to his parents immediately after his first boyfriend died of AIDS-related illnesses. "It was horrible, but the day after he died I wrote my parents a letter. It was such an easy letter to write. I felt that when he died he was passing a gift, saying, 'I introduced you to yourself, and I opened you up to everyone you loved except your mom and dad. And you have to deal with that.'

"So I wrote them a letter and saw them as soon as I got home after I’d been to Anselmo’s funeral in Brazil," he said. "And everything was fine; it was wonderful. Of course, they were more concerned that I had just lost my partner than that I’d actually finally said what they already knew."

14. Demi Lovato

Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images for iHeartMedia

In a 2021 interview with Today, Demi Lovato discussed their pansexuality and how their childhood in Texas as a Christian repressed them. "I’m so fluid now, and a part of the reason why I am so fluid is because I was, like, super closeted off." 

"I felt a lot of shame because growing up in Texas as a Christian, that’s very frowned upon," they elaborated. "Any attraction that I ever had toward a female at a young age, I shut it down before I even let myself process what I was feeling."

They also told Glamour in a 2021 interview, "I was trying on different identities that felt authentic to me but weren’t me. The super-feminine pop star was an identity that sounded like it fit and looked like it fit, so I put it on like it fit." Lovato has since further talked about how much of themself they'd suppressed for society before coming out.

They continued, "When I started getting older, I started realizing how queer I really am. This past year, I was engaged to a man and when it didn't work, I was like, ‘This is a huge sign.’ I thought I was going to spend my life with someone. Now that I wasn't going to, I felt this sense of relief that I could live my truth."

Lovato noted they currently feel "too queer" to be with a cis man, saying, "I hooked up with a girl and was like, ‘I like this a lot more.’ It felt better. It felt right. Some of the guys I was hanging out with — when it would come time to be sexual or intimate, I would have this kind of visceral reaction. Like, ‘I just don’t want to put my mouth there.’ It wasn’t even based on the person it was with. I just found myself really appreciating the friendships of those people more than the romance, and I didn’t want the romance from anybody of the opposite sex."

15. Bella Thorne

Phillip Faraone / FilmMagic / Getty Images

In a 2019 interview with Today, as reported on by BuzzFeed, Bella Thorne explained how she realized she was pansexual after previously coming out as bisexual. "I'm actually pansexual, and I didn't know that. Somebody explained to me really thoroughly what that is," she said before describing pansexuality. "You like beings. You like what you like. Doesn't have to be a girl or a guy or a he or she or they or this or that. It's literally you like personality. You just like a being."

In a 2021 interview with Variety, Thorne expanded on coming out before it was as normalized in Hollywood as it is now, saying, "I remember it was hard with jobs, it was hard with people in meetings. And I can’t even imagine being a gay man because people look at me and they go, 'Oh, well, she fucks men, too, so it’s okay.'"

Now, because she's come out as pansexual, she continued, "They’re like, 'Okay, well, you know what? She’ll just basically fuck anything, I guess. So it’s fine.' I just can’t imagine the pain that so many people that I’ve looked up to and worshiped for years have gone through in this industry wanting to be themselves."

"I remember everyone calling me at the time when I posted that on Twitter," she reflected. "And everyone was saying, 'Bella, do you know what you just did though? Do you know how this is going to affect you?' And I was like, 'What’s it matter?' I was like, 'Don’t be an idiot. They’re going to get photos of me. Someone’s going to pap me making out with that girl.'

She said, "Someone’s going to fucking say something. I’m not a liar. They’re going to see it. It’s going to blow up. You’re expecting me to lie my whole life. Is this what I’m hearing on the phone? What’s it matter? What’s it fucking matter? Even if it sucks for a little bit, at least I did it and I don’t have to lie anymore or worry about it."

16. Sam Smith

Karwai Tang / WireImage / Getty Images

As reported in the Sun, during a 2020 interview with Bizarre at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios, Sam Smith discussed their sexuality and family dynamics growing up:

"I’ve never really kind of played by the rule book. I love people and whoever I fall for, that’s who I fall for. I don’t know who that’s going to be. Now I don’t know what gender they will be, to be quite honest, and that’s a freeing thing — to not be limited to one category of person. I just fall in love with whoever I fall in love with."

When asked about their pronouns and gender identity, Smith answered, "I’ve always felt the way I’ve felt. It wasn’t a new feeling, it was just the discovery of a language and a community of people that felt the same way. It’s been lovely. It’s been a process of feeling heard and seen — that there is a space that I can live in and enjoy my life in and feel completely like myself, and be treated as such. I think that’s the difference with the pronouns."

They added, "I generally have never really thought about people, any human beings, in rigid terms. I’ve grown up in a family where the gender power balance and all these things were completely shifted. My mum worked, my dad was a househusband. My sisters are incredibly strong women." Smith also revealed that Lady Gaga is the reason they came out as nonbinary. 

When speaking about how they feel now, Smith said, "I feel light. I feel this, like, eagerness to just have fun in my life and I feel like I’ve got so much more to explore in terms of love and relationships and music and all these things. And I’m just open and ready."

17. Miley Cyrus

Vijat Mohindra / Vijat Mohindra / MTV VMAs 2020 via Getty Images

In a 2015 interview with Paper, Miley Cyrus opened up about her sexuality: "I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn't involve an animal and everyone is of age. Everything that's legal, I'm down with. Yo, I'm down with any adult — anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me. I don't relate to being boy or girl, and I don't have to have my partner relate to boy or girl."

She also opened up about the conversation she had with her mom when she was 14. "I remember telling her I admire women in a different way. And she asked me what that meant. And I said, I love them. I love them like I love boys. And it was so hard for her to understand. She didn't want me to be judged and she didn't want me to go to hell. But she believes in me more than she believes in any god. I just asked for her to accept me. And she has." Publicly, however, after marrying Liam Hemsworth in 2018, Cyrus found herself having to defend her queerness while being in a relationship with a man.

Cyrus expanded on her sexuality in a 2016 interview with Variety: "My whole life, I didn’t understand my own gender and my own sexuality. I always hated the word 'bisexual,' because that’s even putting me in a box. I don’t ever think about someone being a boy or someone being a girl. Also, my nipple pasties and shit never felt sexualized to me. My eyes started opening in the fifth or sixth grade. My first relationship in my life was with a chick. I grew up in a very religious Southern family. The universe has always given me the power to know I’ll be OK. Even at that time, when my parents didn’t understand, I just felt that one day they are going to understand."

She also revealed when she first identified as pansexual. "I think when I figured out what it was. I went to the LGBTQ center here in L.A., and I started hearing these stories. I saw one human in particular who didn’t identify as male or female. Looking at them, they were both: beautiful and sexy and tough but vulnerable and feminine but masculine. And I related to that person more than I related to anyone in my life." 

"Even though I may seem very different, people may not see me as neutral as I feel," she continued. "But I feel very neutral. I think that was the first gender-neutral person I’d ever met. Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more. I was like, 'Oh — that’s why I don’t feel straight and I don’t feel gay. It’s because I’m not.'"

18. And finally: Lilly Singh

Taylor Hill / FilmMagic / Getty Images

In a 2019 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Lilly Singh revealed how she realized she was bisexual and came out. "It's not that I had this big secret. Because of the culture I was raised in, I never actually allowed myself to figure things out. Moving to L.A., I was exposed to so many different types of people, and I think that probably opened up my horizons."

More directly, Singh gave a monologue addressing being queer and Indian, saying, "When I came out, people told me that I’d lose all my popularity, all of my fans and all of my business in India. But then I didn’t — turns out in a place with 1.3 billion people, a lot of them don’t give an ‘f’ about who I give an ‘f.’"

In a 2020 interview with Glamour, she expanded further, revealing, "One of the greatest things L.A. has given me is awareness. I realized there's a spectrum and different ways people identify. I started meeting different people and went, ‘Am I attracted to women? I’ve always felt close to friends who were girls, but is this a thing?’ I only allowed myself to experiment and discover once I realized the possibilities."

She continued, "I get made fun of for coming out at 30 — and make fun of myself — but I didn't have examples growing up. Maybe I was attracted to women, but I only had boyfriends because I didn't know anything else existed. I was self-suppressed long and hard until being introduced to new ideas in adulthood."

Singh gave herself until her 30th birthday to come out, but she was terrified. "I was too scared to tell my parents in person. So I wrote a letter, dropped it in front of them, and ran upstairs. Then I cried because I was so nervous. Were they completely carefree? No. They’re still Indian parents who care what people think, so they reacted the best way they knew how, and that was enough for me to be who I am today." 

Obviously, there are more than 18 celebrities who identify as part of the LGBTQ community and have spoken about their sexuality! Tell us whose coming-out experience touched you personally in the comments below!

Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out all of BuzzFeed's posts celebrating Pride 2021.

Kevin Valente / BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed Daily

Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

Newsletter signup form