A record number of celebrities came out in 2009, making it that much easier for the next one.
Gay celebrities used to mostly follow one of two formulas for
1. Get caught in an personal situation by a
tabloid, i.e. Danny Pintauro
2. Get tired of not being out and call up favorite lifestyle magazine to break the news gently to their three fans
who hadn’t already succumbed to the rumors. i.e.
Ellen DeGeneres, Lance Bass
But something new happened in 2009, because the path to a
celebrity’s closet door became as varied as it is for those of us in the real world.
We had the “I was always out” or the “casual mention” coming out. Then we added the “bring the
boyfriend to an event” coming out which took the nonchalant route. And perhaps then there is most interesting: the “product tie-in” which,
as far as I know, is completely new.
Not the only way out of the closet anymore.
Trying to categorize someone’s unique coming out story is
fraught with minefields at best, but from a historical perspective, it’s useful
to see how things are changing and that gay actors, singers and so forth now have different ways to go about
being an out celebrity.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to define being
"out" per our usual policy, namely that said celebrity must be living an openly gay life over a period of time. As we’ve acknowledged time and again, it’s a murky area and reasonable adults can have very different beliefs on what is "out."
Eleven very different coming out stories from ten very different celebrities.
At the end, we’ll ask which coming out story this year was your favorite. For
what it’s worth, we debated that word choice, and settled on "favorite." We started with “best” but felt that was
devaluing someone else’s experience, and despite the boxes we’re sticking these
stories in, each person’s coming out story — whatever form it takes — adds one more person to the list of out folks in the public eye. And that’s pretty much always a good thing.