It's been a huge year for the LGBTQ+ community in Hollywood! Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the biggest stories to make headlines this year, starting with this big news… Actor Kal Penn is gay — and engaged. The "Harold & Kumar" franchise star shared his news in an interview with People magazine that hit the internet on Oct. 31 while promoting his new book "You Can't Be Serious," revealing that he and his boyfriend of 11 years, Josh, are planning a wedding. The "House" and "Designated Survivor" alum told the magazine he and Josh met in Washington, D.C., when he was on hiatus from Hollywood and working for then-President Barack Obama's administration. "I discovered my own sexuality relatively late in life compared to many other people," Kal told People. "There's no timeline on this stuff. People figure their s*** out at different times in their lives, so I'm glad I did when I did."
Keep reading for more notable moments in the LGBTQ+ community in pop culture this year…
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On Oct. 11, DC comics made headlines when it revealed that the newest iteration of Superman — Jon Kent, Superman of Earth and son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane — is bisexual. The superhero's truth is revealed in the pages of the comic "Superman: Son of Kal-El" No. 5, which debuts on Nov. 9. In the comic from writer Tom Taylor and artist Tom Timms, Jon Kent — just like his father before him — falls for a reporter, becoming romantically involved with Jay Nakamura. "I've always said everyone needs heroes and everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes and I'm very grateful DC and Warner Bros. share this idea," Tom said in a DC blog post. "Superman's symbol has always stood for hope, for truth and for justice. Today, that symbol represents something more. Today, more people can see themselves in the most powerful superhero in comics."
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Cassandra Peterson, the actress who popularized her iconic Elvira character some 40 years ago, made headlines in September when she spoke about her sexual identity for the first time. In her new memoir "Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark," which debuted on Sept. 21, Cassandra reveals that she's been in a relationship with a woman for nearly two decades. "Keeping a secret doesn't feel good," she told the Daily News. "I'm glad to have it out there." Cassandra, who called herself fluid, said that while she's attracted to men too, "I just met this particular person, and I fell in love."
RELATED: Stars who have LGBTQ parents
On Sept. 28, Lifetime announced that its holiday movie slate — "It's a Wonderful Lifetime," which kicks off Nov. 12 and will include 35 new films this year — will include the network's first holiday movie centered around a lesbian romance. Here's the official description for "Under the Christmas Tree," which is set to debut on Dec. 19: "Marketing whiz Alma Beltran (Elise Bauman) and Christmas tree whisperer Charlie Freemont (Tattiawna Jones) cross paths when Charlie finds the perfect tree for the Maine Governor's Holiday Celebration — right in Alma's back yard. While they initially spar, romantic sparks soon begin to fly between the two women as the enchanting tree and some Christmas fairy dust from the town's pâtissière extraordinaire (Ricki Lake) bring out the best in them and spark each other to take leaps of faith and fight for love and Christmas magic."
On Aug. 26, ABC announced that the 30th season of "Dancing With the Stars" — which debuted on Sept. 20 — would feature the reality show's first same-sex couple. Former child star JoJo Siwa — who came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community earlier this year (more on that later!) — is competing with a female partner, pro dancer Jenna Johnson. "I'm excited that I get to do it," JoJo said, according to The Wrap. "I think it breaks a wall that's never been broken down before. … Not only do I now get to share with the world that you get to love who you want to love, but also, you get to dance with who you want to dance with. I think it's really special. … There [are] a lot of barriers that we're going to have to break through. Who leads? How do you dress? What shoes do you wear? But I think it's all something that I'm looking forward to." Said host Tyra Banks, "You're making history, JoJo. This is history." No kidding!
"The Bachelor" season 23 lead Colton Underwood — who became known as the virgin Bachelor during his tenure on the show — went on "Good Morning America" in April to make an announcement about his sexuality. The reality star came out on the morning show, sharing, "I've ran from myself for a long time. I've hated myself for a long time. And I'm gay. And I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it. And the next step in all of this was sort of letting people know." Colton previously dated women — he had high-profile relationships with Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman and Bachelor Nation stars Tia Booth and Cassie Randolph in recent years. Of sharing the news with the public, the former professional football player — who said he knew he was "different" when he was 6 — told Robin Roberts that now, he's "the happiest and healthiest" he's ever been.
On the debut episode of Demi Lovato's "4D" podcast in May, the pop star came out as non-binary and announced new pronouns: they/them. "I feel that this best represents the fluidity I feel in my gender expression and allows me to feel most authentic and true to the person I both know I am, and am still discovering," they explained. It's not the first time Demi has opened up about their sexuality or gender identity. Back in 2015, following the release of hit single "Cool for the Summer," which featured lyrics flicking at sexual fluidity, Demi hinted in an interview on "Chatty Man" that they weren't straight. They also were romantically linked to a woman back in 2017 after previously only publicly dating men. And in March 2021, Demi did an interview on the "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast clearing up their sexuality, confirming they are pansexual. "[I like] anything, really," they said. "I heard someone call the LGBTQIA+ community 'the alphabet mafia.' … That's it! That's what I'm going with. I'm part of the alphabet mafia and proud."
On July 13, "Pose" star Mj Rodriguez received an Emmy nod for her work on the third and final season of the groundbreaking FX drama show, making her the first transgender person in history to ever score a nomination in an Emmys lead acting category. "I'm still on cloud nine… I truly can't believe it! Thank you @televisionacad I'm still gagging. I didn't get on cam am that much cause I looked a mess!! Lord Jesus I'm #EmmyNominated," Mj wrote on Instagram after nominations were announced. Though she didn't win, she still made history!
Tommy Dorfman — who came to fame playing Ryan Shaver on the Netflix drama "13 Reasons Why" — publicly came out as a trans woman in a Time magazine interview published on July 22. "For a year now, I have been privately identifying and living as a woman — a trans woman," Tommy explained. "It's funny to think about coming out, because I haven't gone anywhere. I view today as a reintroduction to me as a woman, having made a transition medically. Coming out is always viewed as this grand reveal, but I was never not out. Today is about clarity: I am a trans woman. My pronouns are she/her. My name is Tommy."
RuPaul sashayed into the history books at the 2021 Emmys on Sept. 19: He claimed his 11th Emmy — the most Emmy wins ever by a Black person — when "RuPaul's Drag Race" was named best competition program. "Thanks to all of our wonderful children on our show from around the world. They are so gracious to tell their stories of courage and how to navigate this difficult life — even more difficult today. This is for you and for you kids out there watching: You have a tribe that is waiting for you. We are waiting for you, baby. Come on to Mama Ru!" he said in his acceptance speech.
In an AARP The Magazine story that hit the internet on July 28, actress Jamie Lee Curtis revealed that the younger of the two children she shares with her husband, writer-director Christopher Guest, is transgender. She shared that they "have watched in wonder and pride as our son became our daughter Ruby," adding that Ruby, who works as a video editor for a gaming star on YouTube, and her fiancé are planning to marry in 2022 "at a wedding that I will officiate." In October, the "Halloween" star officially introduced Ruby to the world via a joint interview with People magazine. "I am here to support Ruby. That is my job. Just as it is to care and love and support her older sister Annie in her journeys. I'm a grateful student. I'm learning so much from Ruby. The conversation is ongoing," said Jamie Lee. Chimed in her daughter, "You've done the most you can, and that's all I want." Ruby, who's long been extremely private, told People that she's now "happy to be more visible if it helps others."
"The Crown" season 4 star Emma Corrin, who played Princess Diana, came out as queer in April 2021 and later revealed a preference for the pronounces "she/they." In an August interview with ITV's "Granada Reports," Emma explained more: "I think visibility is key with these things. My journey has been a long one and has still got a long way to go. I think we are so used to defining ourselves," they said, adding, "That's the way society works within these binaries, and it's taken me a long time to realize that I exist somewhere in between, and I'm still not sure where that is yet." Emma later posted the interview on their Instagram Story, explaining, "First time addressing my queerness and my journey on TV was scary! But visibility is key."
Loki is the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first openly bisexual character. The confirmation came on the third episode of the Disney+ series "Loki" during a conversation the God of Mischief had with another trickster about their romantic pasts. He was asked whether being an Asgardian prince meant that he was wooed by "princesses" or "perhaps another prince." Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) replied, "A bit of both. I suspect the same as you." Director Kate Herron then took to Twitter to confirm Loki's sexual identity. "It was very important to me, and my goal, to acknowledge that Loki is bisexual," she wrote. "It is part of who he is and who I am too. I know this is a small step but I'm happy, and heart is so full, to say that this is now Canon in #mcu." But it's not the only big LGBTQ news concerning the character that emerged this year…
In June, a teaser trailer for the Disney+ series "Loki" revealed that the God of Mischief's "sex" is listed as "fluid" in his TVA file. Days later after the series premiered, star Tom Hiddleston touched on the character's gender fluidity. "It's always been there in the mythology. It's been in the comics as long as, I think, the run of publishing within Marvel, over 60-plus years," he told Reuters, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. "Loki, as a character, has had such a broad and wide-ranging identity. He's always been a character that you could never put in a box, that you could never pin down, and I was really pleased that we were able to touch on that in the series."
One of Eminem's children publicly revealed that they are gender fluid and are now using the pronouns "they/she/he" and going by the name Stevie, it emerged in August. The rapper adopted Stevie — who is the child of his ex-wife Kim Scott with another man, Eric Hartter, in 2005 after Eminem briefly reconciled with Kim. "Forever growing and changing <3 #greenscreen #genderfluid #bi #life," Stevie captioned a TikTok video announcing their news. "Watch me become more comfortable with myself <3," Stevie wrote atop the clip, which chronicles their changing looks and identity from "Whitney she/her" to "Whitney they/she" to "Stevie they/she" to "Stevie all pronouns." Page Six reported that half-sister Hailie Jade Mathers showed her support by liking the TikTok post.
In January — a month after "Juno" alum Elliot Page publicly came out as transgender — the "Umbrella Academy" star shared that he was divorcing dancer-choreographer Emma Portner, whom he married in 2018. Two months later, Elliot became the first transgender man to appear on the cover of Time magazine. In an accompanying interview, he revealed that he underwent top surgery to remove breast tissue. "It has completely transformed my life," he said, adding that it was "not only life-changing but lifesaving." And a few months later, Elliot celebrated another big first…
Elliot Page took to Instagram in May to document another big first: The actor shared a photo of himself shirtless and wearing swim trunks, captioning the snap, "Trans bb's first swim trunks #transjoy #transisbeautiful." A month earlier, Elliot opened up to Oprah Winfrey about his transition, sharing, "I want people to know that not only has it been life changing for me, I do believe it is life-saving and it's the case for so many people."
The June 17 episode of "Sesame Street" made history: It introduced the show's first family with two gay fathers. "Sesame Street has always been a welcoming place of diversity and inclusion. So I'm so excited to introduce Nina's Brother Dave, his husband Frank, and their daughter Mia to our sunny street," star Alan Muraoka, who also co-directed the episode, wrote on Facebook. "Love is love, and we are so happy to add this special family to our Sesame family."
Kataluna Enriquez made history on June 27 when she was crowned Miss Nevada USA, making her the first transgender woman to win a competition in the pageant's history. "My community, you are always in my heart. My win is our win. We just made history. Happy pride," she captioned an Instagram photo following her victory, during which she wore a dress featuring rainbow-colored sequins. Kataluna will compete for the Miss USA title in November.
"Parenthood" and "Good Girls" actress Mae Whitman came out as pansexual on Aug. 16 in a tweet promoting her animated Disney Channel series "The Owl House," which features LGBTQIA+ characters. "Just taking a moment to say I am SO proud to be even a small part of a show like 'The Owl House,'" she wrote. "Being pansexual myself, I wish I had such incredible characters like Amity and Luz in my life when I was growing up. Queer representation is so so so important :,) keep it up world! #TOH." She followed that up with the message, "I know people might be unfamiliar with what pansexual means; for me it means I know I can fall in love with people of all genders. This is the word that fits me best and I'm proud+happy to be part of the Bi+ community :,) For more https://glaad.org/bisexual https://biresource.org."
David Archuleta — the runner-up on season 7 of "American Idol" in 2008 — came out as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community in a lengthy and loving June 12 social media post in which he urged others who, like him, have strong religious beliefs, to be understanding and compassionate. "I like to keep to myself but also thought this was important to share because I know so many other people from religious upbringings feel the same way," the singer began his post, which continued in the comments. "I've been open to myself and my close family for some years now that I am not sure about my own sexuality. I came out in 2014 as gay to my family. But then I had similar feelings for both genders so maybe a spectrum of bisexual. Then I also have learned I don't have too much sexual desires and urges as most people, which works I guess because I have a commitment to save myself until marriage … which people call asexual when they don't experience sexual urges. There are people experiencing the same feelings of being LGBTQIA+ … who are wrestling to follow their beliefs that are so important to them, just as I have." David explained that he doesn't "have all the answers" but asked his followers to "please consider making room to be more understanding and compassionate to those who are LGBTQIA+, and those who are a part of that community and trying to find that balance with their faith which also is a huge part of their identity like myself. I think we can do better as people of faith and Christians, including Latter-day Saints, to listen more to the wrestle between being LGBTQIA+ and a person of faith." He explained he hopes to let people in his same situation "know you're not alone. You can be part of the LGBTQIA+ community and still believe in God and His gospel plan…" David explained, adding that he "tried for almost 20 years to try and change myself until I realized God made me how I am for a purpose."
After days of dropping hints, in January, social media star, singer and actress JoJo Siwa confirmed that she's a member of the LGBTQ+ community. "I have never, ever, ever been this happy before and it feels really awesome," she told fans in a lengthy Instagram Live video. The announcement came one day after she tweeted a photo of herself wearing a T-shirt that read "Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever." alongside the caption, "My cousin got me a new shirt." The "Dance Moms" alum, who'd also recently shared a TikTok video of herself singing along to Lady Gaga's LGBTQ anthem "Born This Way," told fans she wasn't ready to choose a specific label for herself "because I don't really know this answer." She added that her parents have known she's not straight and are supportive. "Around two years ago, [my mom] was like, 'I don't think you only like boys, that's totally OK.' … My family is awesome." A few weeks later, JoJo revealed she had a girlfriend who'd encouraged her to come out, Kylie Prew. (They ultimately called it quits in October.) She opened up more about her sexuality in April, telling People magazine, "I still don't know what I am… I don't know, bisexual, pansexual, queer, lesbian, gay, straight. I always just say gay because it just kind of covers it or queer because I think the keyword is cool." However, she added, "I like queer. Technically, I would say that I am pansexual because that's how I have always been my whole life is just like, my human is my human."
It was a big year for "Dance Moms" alumni… In early October — just months after JoJo Siwa came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and introduced the world to her girlfriend — Chloé Lukasiak casually did the same. She's yet to address her sexuality directly, but on Oct. 7, she took to Instagram to share a slideshow of photos of herself packing on the PDA with skateboarder Brooklinn Khoury. Chloé's rep later confirmed to E! News that the reality star and the athlete are dating. Another E! source confirmed that Chloé's social media post with her girlfriend was meant to serve as her unofficial public coming out. "[She] is in a place where she feels comfortable sharing her relationship and where she is in her life [with the public]," said the source. "She is still growing and learning who she is, and she knows there are many others out there who are too. She knows that there is power in sharing her story and that it could help others who look up to her or could benefit from seeing someone like her living her truth and not hiding who or what makes her happy."
In May, "Dance Moms" alum Lennon Torres took to TikTok to announce that she's transgender and had started the process of transitioning. The University of Southern California graduate — who now goes by her middle name — later shared how she felt about the reaction to her big news: "Don't really have a ton of words to express how I am feeling right now, other than grateful. Grateful to everyone who has supported me and continued to help me be my full self. Grateful for the outpour[ing] of love and support. Grateful to all the advocates who made this possible," she wrote on Instagram. "As I sit here with my [mouth] still open, it is important to recognize the amount of LGBTQIA+ individuals who do not receive this loving response. There is still work to be done, and I cannot wait to be a part of it."
In February, T.J. Osborne — the frontman for the duo the Brothers Osborne — came out in an interview with Time magazine. The country crooner shared that although he's been out to his family and friends for years, the coronavirus pandemic inspired him to share his life truth with fans. "I'm very proud to put this out there," T.J. said in a video he posted on Instagram. "I want you to know … the person you've gotten to know over the years is me. Now you've just gotten to know more about me." With that announcement, T.J. became the first and only openly gay man signed to a major music label in the country genre. He was met with tons of support from the country music community on social media.
"Pose" star Billy Porter — the first openly gay Black man to win a best lead actor in a drama Emmy — made a major health reveal in May: He's HIV positive and has been living with the disease for 14 years. He broke the news to The Hollywood Reporter, explaining that though he was diagnosed in June 2007, he didn't share the news publicly because he worried it would affect his career. "It would just be another way for people to discriminate against me in an already discriminatory profession," he said.
Life imitates art! Inspired by his character on "9-1-1: Lone Star" — who's openly gay on the show — actor Ronen Rubinstein publicly came out this year. "I fully identify as bisexual," the actor told Variety in April. "I literally just got goosebumps saying that. It feels so good to talk about it, it feels so good to finally be comfortable with it." The "Orange Is the New Black" alum credited his character's same-sex relationship on "Lonestar" as well as real-life girlfriend Jessica Parker Kennedy for giving him the courage to come out. "She definitely encouraged me to be vocal about it, just to live my truth," Ronen explained. "She's like, 'I love you for who you are, your full self and people will love you for who you are and your full self.'"
Another singer who opened up about their sexuality this year? Kehlani, who shared a revelation about her sexual identity in April: The R&B singer took to TikTok to explain that she now identifies as a lesbian. "I finally know I'm a lesbian," she said. "I am gay, g-gay, gay." She previously stated on Twitter back in 2018, "I'm queer. Not bi, not straight. I'm attracted to women, men, REALLY attracted to queer men, non binary people, intersex people, trans people."
On the Oct. 12 episode of "Teen Mom OG," Amber Portwood revealed that she's not straight. "People are probably going to be a bit shocked that I am bisexual, that I have had a relationship with a woman for eight months before," said the mother of two, adding that the romance took place more than a decade ago when she was about 20. Amber said she decided to come out publicly because she wants her children (daughter Leah with ex Gary Shirley and son James with ex Andrew Glennon) to know her truth. "Leah and James are actually a really, really big factor. I don't want them to ever think it's bad. … Who am I to sit here and hide forever, which is what I was actually planning on doing anyways. I was going to go to the grave with this," said the MTV reality star, according to Page Six. Amber came out to her mom — who responded with support — on the same episode, explaining, "I'm very attracted to men, but I'm also similarly very attracted to women as well."
In April, "Celebrity Big Brother" alum Courtney Stodden came out as nonbinary. "They/them/theirs. I don't identify as she or her," the reality star and singer wrote on Instagram. "I've never felt like I ever fit in anywhere. I was bullied horribly in school because I was different. The other girls never understood me. It got so bad that my mom pulled me out of school. And still, I don't fit in. I never really connected with anyone my age." They continued, "My spirit is fluid with a kaleidoscope of color." Courtney added in a statement to People magazine, "When I look at myself in the mirror, I see a human being so far away from norms, misogyny & labels. I live by my own rules now. I'm excited to show the world all of the sides to who I am on this new journey in music."
"High School Musical: The Musical – The Series" star Larry Saperstein, who portrays Big Red, came out as bisexual on TikTok on June 1. "Plays a character with a girlfriend on TV, is bi [in real life]," he scrawled across a video of himself bopping his head to the song "International Super Spy" from "The Backyardigans." The ditty includes the lyrics, "There's one thing you can expect from me and that's the unexpected." Added Larry in the caption, "Is it really that unexpected tho #pride."
On June 2, "America's Next Top Model" alum Lio Tipton — who memorably portrayed Jessica in 2011's "Crazy, Stupid, Love." — took to Instagram to come out as non-binary. "Hi. My name is Lio. My pronouns are they/them. I am proud to announce I am queer and I identify as non binary. I hope to give as much love and support back to those who continue to show love and support for the Pride community at large," the model-actor captioned an illustration.
On Valentine's Day, Australian actress Adelaide Kane, who starred on The CW's "Reign," came out as bisexual on TikTok. "Me super nervous to come out publicly as bisexual to the people in my life [and on] social media," she wrote across a video of herself looking anxious.
In January, Nats Getty — the spouse of social media star Gigi Gorgeous — revealed that they are transgender and non-binary. Nats — who is the great-grandchild of oil magnate John Paul Getty and the godchild of California Governor Gavin Newsom — also underwent top surgery. Three months later, Gigi came out as pansexual, noting that Nats helped her realize her truth. "I came out as gay before I transitioned. I came out as transgender and then I came out as gay again," Gigi explained in a YouTube video, adding that her pansexuality reveal marks her fourth time coming out. "It was actually through my husband Nats that this kind of was unlocked inside of me," she said, according to People magazine. "It's always been there, this girl has always been inside of me, but it took this stage of my life really to open up, and I'm ready to share this with you guys. … Over the years, I've realized that I didn't fall in love with Nats because of his gender. I fell in love with the person that he is. … I think that that's one of the most beautiful things ever. It's profound and amazing to me. When I finally clicked with it and felt it… it was definitely a lightbulb moment."
Former WWE superstar Gabbi Tuft — who wrestled under the name Tyler Reks from 2007 to 2014 — came out as a transgender woman in February. She opened up to "Extra" host Billy Bush about the announcement, noting, "I know that there are thousands of transgender women, transgender men that are going through the same process I'm going through, and they don't have the support that I do." Gabbi, who said wife Priscilla had been her rock during the process, wanted to give others some hope by sharing her story. "And so here's what I pledge: I promise that I will share my story and be 100% transparent, because knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel can just be that ray of hope that keeps somebody with us, that keeps him alive, and lets them know, 'Yes, I can do this too,'" she said.
On June 1, Alexandra Shipp took to Instagram to come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. "Hi. I didn't come out until I was 28. Though I don't believe in regrets, this would definitely be #1 for myself. I denied denied denied. I struggled with not only my sexuality, but my femininity. I was scared it was too late. I was scared I wasn't going to be able to get work. I was scared no one would ever love me. Scared. Scared. Scared. It's exhausting being scared all the time. It's exhausting chasing other people's ideas and opinions of who you should be. Today I'm happy in ways I don't think my kid self could imagine. I get to be exactly who I want to be EVERY F****** DAY and it feels incredible!! It's never too late to be you. If I don't work because of a flawed, racist and homophobic system, then it was never the right thing for me. I KNOW multiple someone's love me and I'm so fortunate and grateful for the love they show me on a daily basis. I'm not denying anything anymore. I'm not scared anymore. I have #pride in who I am and what I'm doing on this planet. I am myself and I love LOVE. Sure, we get a month. But for the past 3 years and for the rest of my life, I'll be celebrating every day. Because I choose me," the actress, who portrayed a young Storm in the "X-Men" film franchise, captioned a photo of herself in honor of Pride Month.
During an interview with The Sunday Times that debuted online in mid-August, English model-actress Lily Cole revealed that she identifies as queer. "I like that word because of its openness, because I think all those boundaries are quite rigid. I have lots of friends who identify as bisexual, lesbian, or whatever, who also identify as queer," she explained. "I've always been quite private about my private life, consciously, and I want to continue to be, so I don't feel the need to be explicit. At the same time I feel the need to acknowledge that I am not straight."
In May, Caitlyn Jenner — who in April launched a failed campaign for California governor in hopes of replacing the state's current leader, Gavin Newsom, in a recall election — voiced her controversy-sparking opinion that transgender athletes should not participate in sports that align with their gender identities, telling TMZ she sees it as "a question of fairness." The former Olympic gold medalist — who publicly came out as a trans woman in 2015 — added, "That's why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls' sports in school. It just isn't fair. And we have to protect girls' sports in our schools."
The classic Nickelodeon cartoon "Rugrats" made a change for its Paramount+ reboot, which debuted in August. The character of Betty DeVille, the mom of twins Phil and Lil, is openly gay in this version. Actress Natalie Morales, who came out as queer in 2017, replaced original voice actress Kath Soucie as Betty.
On June 21, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out. Carl shared the news in an Instagram video, telling fans, "I just want to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay. I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I've got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for." He continued, "I'm a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I'm really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that like one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting, that's compassionate and I'm going to start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project," which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to the LGBTQ+ community. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league "is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today," adding, "Representation matters. We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season."
In other big sports news… In July, professional hocker player Luke Prokop, who plays for the Nashville Predators, took to Instagram to publicly come out. In the process, he became the first active player under NHL contract to come out as gay. "It has been quite the journey to get to this point in my life, but I could not be happier with my decision to come out," he wrote. "From a young age I have dreamed of being an NHL player, and I believe that living my authentic life will allow me to bring my whole self to the rink and improve my chances of fulfilling my dreams." Added the athlete, "I hope that in sharing who I am I can help other people see that gay people are welcome in the hockey community, as we work to make sure that hockey is truly for everyone."
Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds donated his $1 million childhood home to the nonprofit Encircle in March. The group provides safe spaces that provide programs and therapy for LGBTQ youth and their families. His generous gift gave the group its first home in Las Vegas, as they've previously been operating solely in Utah.
America made history in March: Dr. Rachel Levine became the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate. She is now assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services. She previously served as Pennsylvania's secretary of health. On Oct. 19, Dr. Levine was sworn in as an admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, making her both the organization's first female four-star admiral and America's first transgender four-star officer in any of the country's eight uniformed services.
One of President Joe Biden's first actions after taking office was to sign an executive order that overturned a controversial ban on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military that was put into place by former President Donald Trump.
Vice President Kamala Harris made history on June 12 when she became the first sitting VP to ever participate in a Pride event. She and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, walked alongside others attending the Capital Pride festival in Washington, D.C., on their way to a rally at Freedom Plaza while wearing "love is love" and "love first" T-shirts.
In February, almost 200 LGBTQ actors in Germany came together to stage a mass coming out in a national newspaper: 185 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender actors published the announcement that not only shared their own sexual or gender identities but called for change in the entertainment world and more LGBTQ representation in scripts. Actress Karin Hanczewski, seen here, was instrumental in planning the mass coming out.
In a sign that some religious communities are becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ community, in May, Meghan Rohrer was elected as the first openly transgender bishop within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Meghan — who in 2006 became the first openly trans person to be ordained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — will lead about 200 congregations in California and Nevada as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod.