From high-profile parents supporting their young trans child to significant couplings and splits to a Pixar first, the celebrity LGBTQ community had a significant year. Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at some of 2020's biggest LGBTQ stories… starting with the Wades. After revealing in 2019 that his youngest child from his first marriage was a member of the LGBTQ community, in February, retired NBA star Dwyane Wade publicly confirmed that then-12-year-old Zion had come out as a transgender girl who's now known as Zaya. "I've been a person in a locker room that has been a part of the conversation that has said the wrong phrases and the wrong words myself," Dwayne said on "Good Morning America." "And as I got older and as I watched my daughter grow, I had to go and look at myself in the mirror and say, 'Who are you? What are you going to do if your child comes home and says, 'Dad, I'm not a boy… I'm a trans girl.' What are you going to do?' And for me, that was my moment of real." The same month, Zaya's stepmom, actress Gabrielle Union, took to Instagram to share a video of Zaya talking to her father about being trans: "Just be true to yourself because what's the point of being on this earth if you're gonna try to be someone you're not? It's like you're not even living as yourself," Zaya said. Dwayne, Gabrielle and Zaya then made headlines again when they stepped out in coordinated looks at the Truth Awards in March 2020 (pictured here), an annual event that shines light on the black LGBTQ community's accomplishments. Keep reading for more…
RELATED: Stars who have LGBTQ kids
In January, Emmy- and Tony Award-winning actor Billy Porter received backlash after "Sesame Street" released behind-the-scenes photos of him on the set of the children's program, where he was filming an episode for the show's 51st season, wearing the stunning Christian Siriano tuxedo gown that he first donned at the 2019 Academy Awards. Drama ensued when some viewers accused PBS of promoting "the radical LGBTQ agenda" — some also signed a petition accusing the show of trying to "sexualize children using drag queens." In response to the negative comments, the "Pose" star told Page Six that he struggled to understand the criticism. "If you don't like it, don't watch it," he said, adding that he didn't see a connection between the gown and "perverted demon sex … Like, what about me singing with a penguin [on 'Sesame Street'] has anything to do with what I'm doing in my bedroom? The really interesting thing for me is that that's what it's all about when it comes to LGBTQ people — the first thing everyone wants to talk about is how we are having sex." He continued: "Stay out of my bedroom and you will be fine — that is none of your business."
RELATED: Stars who have LGBTQ parents
British actress Jameela Jamil found herself at the center of controversy in February after HBO announced that she would be a judge on the ballroom voguing competition show "Legendary." Some fans were quick to question her place in the series, sparking headlines. Amidst the backlash surrounding her involvement, Jameela tweeted a statement in which she came out as queer. "It's also scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you're already a brown female in your thirties. This is absolutely not how I wanted it to come out," she wrote. The "Good Place" actress also acknowledged how coming out didn't necessarily entitle her to having a place on the reality show: "I know that my being queer doesn't qualify me as ballroom. But I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show … sometimes it takes those with more power to help a show get off the ground so we can elevate marginalised stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance."
On May 22, Disney+ debuted the new Pixar animated SparkShorts film "Out." The mini-movie — which features a young man who's reluctant to tell his parents, who've come to help him move, that he's gay — made headlines as it's the first project from Pixar, which is owned by Disney, to feature a gay lead character.
In early 2020, the world was rocked by the the coronavirus pandemic. It soon emerged that one of the few treatments that helped those battling COVID-19 is convalescent plasma, the antibody-rich blood product that comes from people who've recovered from the virus. "Watch What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen was one of the first celebrities to reveal he'd had the illness after contracting it in March 2020, but despite his eagerness to donate plasma, he found out he was unable to do so because he's gay. "I've got a bit of a rant so please indulge me," the Bravo exec said on his show. "After recovering from the coronavirus, I wanted to see if there was something that I could do to help people who were infected. I signed up for a program for COVID-19 survivors where you could donate plasma, which is rich in antibodies, to those still battling the virus. I was told that due to antiquated and discriminatory guidelines by the FDA to prevent HIV, that I am ineligible to donate blood because I'm a gay man." While the FDA has since revised rules regarding the wait time for gay and bisexual men who want to donate blood, Andy believes they are still too repressive. "My blood could save a life but instead it's over here boiling. This pandemic has forced us to adapt in many ways. We're quarantining, we're social distancing, we're wearing masks. Why can't we adapt when it comes to this rule? … It's crazy they said, 'no, you can't.' Insane."
In March, rapper Da Brat came out as a gay woman and introduced fans to her girlfriend, Kaleidoscope Hair Products CEO Jesseca "BB Judy" Dupart, in a heartfelt birthday post on Instagram. "Needless to say… I've always been a kind of private person until I met my heart's match who handles some things differently than I do. Thank you baby @darealbbjudy for far more than this incredible birthday gift," Da Brat (real name: Shawntae Harris) wrote alongside a video showcasing a brand new Bentley. "I have never experienced this feeling. It's so overwhelming that often I find myself in a daze hoping to never get pinched to see if it's real so I can live in this dream forever." Jesseca also took to Instagram to unveil the luxurious birthday gift she gave her love: "I've never been SOOOO happy and honestly think that it's not only because of our connection but also because we really been to ourselves," she wrote. "But then all these videos keep popping up like we hiding 🙄🙄 But WE BE IN PUBLIC 🤣🤣 why is y'all hiding to get footage. My better half, my forever, my twin flame 💖💖💖."
After nearly two years of dating, model Cara Delevingne and actress Ashley Benson broke up in early April, a source told People magazine in May. E! News also confirmed the split. "Cara and Ashley always had their ups and down before but it's over now," the source told People. "Their relationship just ran its course."
In April, "Moana" star Auli'i Cravalho used the popular social media app TikTok to come out as bisexual after a fan tweeted her asking if she liked girls. Auli'i responded simply, with: "If I may escort you to my TikTok…" and included her username. The 19-year-old singer-actress posted a video of herself lip-syncing to a verse of Eminem's "Those Kinda Nights" with the caption "5:53a thirst trap." "'Seriously though, jokes aside, how you doin'? You straight?'/ She said, 'No, I'm bi,'" she mouthed. "She said, 'Are you drunk?,' I said, 'No, I'm high'/ 'I'm checkin' out the chick,' she said, 'So am I.'"
In January, Nikkie de Jager — who's best known by her YouTube handle, NikkieTutorials — came out as transgender in an emotional video. However, it was not on her own terms — the Dutch makeup artist and beauty vlogger revealed she was blackmailed by someone who threatened to take her story to the press. "I am here to share with you something that I always wanted to share with you one day, but under my own circumstances," she began. "It looks like that chance has been taken away from me, so today I am taking back my own power." She continued: "I wanna start the year off with the truth — by finally revealing a part of my life that has made me who I am," she shared. "When I was younger, I was born in the wrong body. Which means that I am transgender." After posting the video, Nikkie received an outpouring of love and support from stars like Ariana Grande, Gigi Hadid, James Charles and Jeffree Star.
In April, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper publicly announced some very happy personal news at the end of one of his network's coronavirus town halls: He's a father! The high-profile newsman welcomed son Wyatt via surrogate days earlier and later revealed that ex-boyfriend Benjamin Maisani would be co-parenting with him. "As a gay kid, I never thought it would be possible to have a child and I'm so grateful for those who paved the way," Anderson said.
During a Colorado town hall meeting in February, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — the first openly gay presidential candidate — provided words of wisdom to a young boy who asked for advice on coming out. Nine-year-old Zachary Ro submitted a question that was drawn and given to Pete to read aloud. "Thank you for being so brave. Would you help me tell the world I'm gay too? I want to be brave like you," it read. The Democratic politician responded: "I don't think you need a lot of advice for me on bravery. You seem pretty strong to me." Pete went on to share his own experience with deciding to share his sexual identity. "'When I was trying to figure out who I was, I was afraid that who I was might mean that I could never make a difference. And what wound up happening instead is that it's a huge part of the difference I get to make," he said. "I never could have seen that coming, and you'll never know whose life you might be affecting right now, just by standing here. There's a lot of power in that."
On an episode of the "Dating Straight" podcast in April, YouTuber Rebecca Black publicly came out as queer. While speaking to co-hosts Amy Ordman and Jack Dodge, the singer — who found fame in 2011 when the music video for her song "Friday" went viral — revealed that she'd recently gone through a breakup with a woman. "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," she shared. "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."
Prior to Valentine's Day, opinionated talk show host Wendy Williams asked her audience members who would be celebrating Galentine's Day on Feb. 13 — on unofficial holiday day that originated on the sitcom "Parks and Recreation" on which ladies honor the women in their lives. After seeing some men in the audience applaud, Wendy went on a transphobic and homophobic rant. "If you're a man and you're clapping, you're not even a part of this," she said. "You don't understand the rules of the day. It's women going out and getting saucy and then going back home. You're not a part." She also told the LGBTQ community to "stop wearing our skirts and heels" while also referencing stars like Billy Porter who favor more androgynous styles. "Looky here now, gay men, you'll never be the woman that we are. No matter how gay," she added. In a video posted on Feb. 14, Wendy issued a public apology for her comments. "I did not mean to offend my LGBTQ+ community," she said. "I didn't mean to hurt anybody's feelings. I'm just having a conversation. If you know me long enough, then you know… I'm not out of touch, except for perhaps yesterday for saying what I said. So I deeply apologize… I will do better."
Broadway star Noah Galvin revealed on the May 10 episode of Ilana Levine's "Little Known Facts" podcast that he and Ben Platt — who've both starred in the title role in the Broadway production of "Dear Evan Hansen" — were dating and quarantining together amid the coronavirus pandemic. "It's still relatively new," he said at the time.
Actor DJ Qualls came out as a gay man during friend Jim Jeffries' stand-up comedy show in January 2020. "It is 11:20pm. I just came out on stage at a @jimjeffries show in San Diego," the actor — who's best known for his work in "Road Trip," "The Core," and "New Girl" — tweeted afterward. "Yep, I'm gay. Been gay this whole time. Tired of worrying about what people would think of me. Tired of worrying about what it would do to my career." He was praised on social media for speaking his truth. "Well done my friend, very proud of you," wrote "The Man in the High Castle" actor Sebastian Roché. Shared "Memphis Beat" co-star Melanie Lynskey, "I adore your and I'm so happy for you. What a big moment! I hope I get to hug you in person soon but for now here's a hug through this tweet."
Australian actor Rick Cosnett — who's best known for his work on "The Flash," "The Vampire Diaries" and "Quantico" — took to Instagram in February 2020 to publicly come out. "Hi everyone," he began. "Dramatic pause… I'm gay." He continued, "I just wanted everyone to know because I've made a promise to myself to live my truth everyday, and sometimes that is a really hard thing to do when you have all these subconscious things you don't even know about from childhood and from society and from being, you know, just life."
In February, President Donald Trump named U.S. Ambassador to Germany Rick Grenell the acting director of national intelligence. The appointment was historic as the diplomat became the first openly gay person to ever serve in a U.S. cabinet-level position. He stepped down in May when a permanent replacement for the position was confirmed by the Senate.
In an April Instagram Live, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." star J. August Richards publicly came out as a gay man. While speaking about his new role on "Council of Dads," he said, "I knew that I could not portray this gay man honestly without letting you all know that I am a gay man myself." A day later, the "Angel" alum said he experienced a "crushing avalanche of LOVE" after publicly coming out. "Who knew that something I once thought of as terrifying had within it something so beautiful," he said. "For every comment, like, emoji, repost, phone call, text message, everything. I felt it ALL… Thank you!!!"
In April, pioneering gay rights activist Phyllis Lyon passed away at 95. Phyllis and longtime love Dorothy "Del" Martin were the first same-sex couple to be married in San Francisco after same-sex marriage was legalized in California in 2008. Phyllis and Del left a lasting impact on the LGBTQ community — in 1955, they cofounded Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian civil rights organization in the United States, and in 1964, they co-founded the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, an organization that aimed to educate religious communities about gay and lesbian issues and connect religious leaders with homosexual activists.
Playwright and author Larry Kramer — the LGBT rights activist and public health advocate whose works include the famed autobiographical 1985 play "The Normal Heart" — died from pneumonia in New York City in May at 84. The New York Times credited his "raucous, antagonistic campaign for an all-out response to the AIDS crisis" with helping to shift national health policy in the 1980s and 1990s.
Rapper YG started off 2020 with an apology to the LGBTQ+ community. In the spirit of New Year's resolutions, the "Stop Snitchin" rapper took to Twitter to reflect on his behavior. "It's been brought to my attention that my old views on life was ignorant," he tweeted. "I apologize to the LGBTQ kommunity for ever komin across like i was anything but respective and accepting. Live. Love. Ya Life. Gang!"