12 LGBT+ celebs describe their coming out
Here are some of our favourite coming out stories and thoughts from the celebrities we’ve asked about their coming out experience.
Courtney Act, Drag Queen and TV Presenter
I grew up in suburban Brisbane, I didn’t really realise I was gay until I was 18 and in Sydney. I guess I remember having posters of the Spice Girls and having a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio, but I didn’t really attribute it to being gay because schoolyard slagging, like poofta and faggot seemed like something negative with those things, and I didn’t feel negative about who I was. So I never really attributed being gay to who I was, until Sydney.
My friends took me to Stonewall, which is a bar in Sydney, and I just remember like being, “hang on, all of these people are gay, this newspaper, this is a gay newspaper!” I just remember that very first night, it all just made sense, and I was like: Oh I get it! That night I had my first kiss and went home with my first boy all on one night – and they were two separate people!
My Mum and Dad came to Sydney and we were having dinner and I was talking about friends who were drag queens and boys with strange names like ‘Girl Craig’ and I remember my Mum asking, whether if one of them was my “special friend…” there was that awkward moment at the table, and Dad was like, “I’m going to get a drink…” and we all sort of stood up and left the table.
The next day we didn’t talk about it again. I remember calling my friend and like crying in the bathroom not knowing what to do and going to my friend’s house. I remember a time, struggling coming out to my parents and my own gender identity, I didn’t know whether I wanted to be the archetype ‘gay underwear model’ or be a woman because I was doing drag and I had a lot of people telling me that because I was so pretty I should take hormones and live as a woman and I know I felt very confused about everything. The next day, at the only job I’ve ever had in my life, like a ‘real’ job, I was working at an internet café and I went home for lunch, I guess I had a bottle of wine in the fridge, and I sat there eating lunch at home drinking a bottle of wine, watching Touched By An Angel on television, I just remember like crying, I guess it was inspired by Touched By An Angel, but the cry went much deeper than that. I remember it was just like howling. I sent Mum a text, this is the year 2000, so the advent of text was a new thing, and I texted I AM GAY. She wrote back, ‘That’s nice dear see you at dinner!’
So that night at dinner my Dad said that he had lived with 6 drag queens back in the 70s, I asked him to stop there; I felt that one revelation was enough for the night.
Jamie Lambert, Collabro singer and LGBT advocate
Jamie came out via a tabloid newspaper after appearing in Britain’s Got Talent
I was already out as a person. I wasn’t a sort of person who was in the closet. I’ve been out for years. I never really came out. I was just me. The reason I felt like I had to do it was because I thought Dan (Wootton) would handle this perfectly.
I think The Sun was brilliant about it. I knew they would do a good story, so I thought they were the ones to go with. Let me tell you the issues I have. I think it’s very brave for people to come out via YouTube, but I do dream of a world where that isn’t necessary anymore.
The reason I did choose The Sun, I made them have the headline: My Parents Always Knew rather than Jamie From Collabro Comes Out, because I wasn’t coming out. I’m perfectly happy with myself and I always have been. I think the stars that do it on YouTube are very brave and I give all credit to them, but I do dream of a world where we don’t have to do that anymore.
Danyl Johnson, Former X Factor star
Danyl Johnson was seemingly outted on national TV by a judge on the X Factor
I went down to Dannii’s (Minogue) dressing room the next day, no one was there. She was a bit upset, and I said, “What’s the matter? Are you okay?” She apologised to me. She was reading stuff on Twitter and someone tweeted, “Every time you out a fairy, another fairy dies.”
That stays in my mind and why Dannii was upset. It was like my life was the weirdest thing.
A couple of months beforehand, I’m in a classroom teaching kids, then one moment I’m standing in Dannii’s dressing room watching her reading messages on Twitter. It was the most surreal moment ever. It was never intentional. It was taken completely the wrong way.
I didn’t really take it to heart. I don’t think it’s the same story in her book, but oh well…
Ms Kasha Davis
Was first married to a woman and so was his husband… They fell in love
It really is, and you know, what’s so wonderful about the entire experience is that we both grew up around the same time frames in, you know, the seventies and eighties, where in the US, it was very much so, you lived a closeted life. There were no gay people, and if you were, you were just kind of like in the closet. It just wasn’t very accepted, especially in the small towns that we grew up in. Both of us really essentially married our high-school sweethearts, and then tortured, we were tortured. Ended up realising in time that this obviously wasn’t fair to ourselves, but certainly not to our wives.
So really we were both sitting and dreaming of this life that we wanted to have, like we had with our ex-wives, with a home and the kids, but with a man. It was time to be honest with ourselves. I prayed for this Prince Charming, and there he was silently praying for the same thing, and there we were. Now it’s ironic how many similar situations we’ve had growing up, but it’s nice to have some similarities there that we really were both dreaming of the same thing.
Jamal Gerald, Actor
Coming from a very religious background has helped Jamal create powerful art which challenges homophobia.
Religion told me I was a sinner, an abomination. I was told by people in my school that I was going to go to hell. I used to pray to God to pray the gay away. But as I grew older, I was able to balance myself and my religion. I believe in the concept of a god, but I am of the view that I can believe in God; but because my race is so important to me I find it hard to believe in the bible, primarily because of the history of colonialism and the use of the bible in that process. When I look at the link between colonialism and the Bible, it is not something that I want to embrace or accept.
My black heritage and my identity as a black man is something that is more important to me than my sexuality is; and the way in which the bible was used during that period of time was wholly unacceptable. For me, it remains a symbol of repression in many ways. It was used to repress the black community many years ago and, in my experiences as a younger person, it was used to repress my sexuality – but despite that, it doesn’t prevent me from embracing the idea of a higher power.
Nebraska Thunderfuck, Drag Queen
Marine turned drag queen
Well I enlisted under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, so I was open in my personal life, but when I joined the military I was advised to go back into the closet and I did. This was going to be a career that I was embarking on and I didn’t want anything to get in the way of my hard work and my commitment. With Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, if the wrong person found out that you were gay, or suspected you of being homosexual, they could present that to the chain of command and there would be an investigation that would take place. You could be discharged from the military simply for being homosexual.
So imagine that not everyone is comfortable with homosexuality. I was completely in the closet for the first two years and it was very challenging because I would be in class or in the hall and I would hear conversations that would take place. All these people were from all over the United States, from all walks of life, brought together with a common goal, but they still have their opinions.
Janet Devlin, Singer and Former X Factor star
Came out in an ASK.fm question session.
It was a thing in my head, I knew always really. So I didn’t think twice, that was just the way it was. I didn’t want to make a big deal about it, what’s the biggie?
Kelly Mantle Drag Queen and Actor
Not all small-town America coming out stories are tragic
My parents are like my best friends. They have been so supportive and are so amazing. That was the great thing about it, is people assume. They say, “Well, growing up in this small Oklahoma town, with this masculine football coach as your dad, he must have pressured you to play football.” Then, “Honey, he took me out on a football field once and threw the ball at me and I’m playing with my hair and just completely missed the ball.
Tom Bosworth, Olympian
One of the very few out, openly gay athletes.
I was kind of half out at school, you know, a few of my friends knew. I spoke to them at quite a young age, probably about 14 or so. It got leaked. One of my friends wasn’t too tactful, I’m afraid. I decided to deal with it head on and not just deny it and admit it because I knew one day that I would just have to admit it again anyway. That certainly put me off speaking to my parents about it or anything like that because teenagers and kids, you know, they can be nasty, whatever it is. Had a bit of trouble at school and suffered quite a bit of bullying for a long period of time. I guess for about a year, it was just non-stop. It meant I spent a lot of time on my own and kind of hiding from people but I stand by it now. I don’t hold anything against anybody. Everybody’s looking for a weakness in somebody else at that age because they’ve got their own concerns about themselves. It certainly made me stronger and it made me a better person I think.
Aaron Frew, Big Brother star
Wasn’t out long before appearing on national TV
I only just come out to my mum a couple years ago and it’s still like a weird topic for us, so when I came out and went home straight away I was really scared but yeah she’s been really supportive. The last thing she said to me before I left was, “Aaron you’ll always be a winner in my eyes”. She’s been really supportive and I’m really blessed with that.
Kavana, Singer and Big Reunion star
90’s heartthrob came out via email on a TV show
Well, I was out to my family and friends, but I’ve not done anything in the public eye worth to even talk about it. It was old news to me, but this show is about your story. It was important. I just wanted to lay my cards on the table.
Adam is very good at the group email thing, coming from his MP’s background – everyone CC’d in. We were day 4 into rehearsals and it was just getting more awkward and awkward. ‘Are you seeing anyone Kav? – Are you married’? I just couldn’t get the words out as ridiculous as that sounds.
Kenzie still doesn’t believe I’m gay for whatever reason. I could turn up singing The Wizard Of Oz in ruby slippers and he’d be like: ‘You’re not gay’. Adam was like ‘I knew it, I knew it…’ and I was like ‘you can’t talk – you’re the campest one of the group!’ So there was a lot of banter, but it was fine… Every group needs a gay don’t they?
Wayne Dhesi, Founder of RUComingOut.com
It changed my life and enabled me to become who I am today – the real me. It enabled me to be more confident and achieve more than I ever would have done if I’d have stayed in the closet.