From historic wins to massive steps in representation, the celebrity LGBTQ community had an exciting year. Wonderwall.com is revisiting some of the biggest moments of 2019, starting with this major victory: Billy Porter made LGBTQ history at the 2019 Primetime Emmys with his best actor win for his work on "Pose." Billy became the first openly gay black man to win an Emmy in that category. He used his speech to emphasize the continued need for more acceptance, saying, "We, as artists, are the people that get to change the molecular structure of the hearts and minds of the people who live on this planet. Please don't ever stop doing that. Please don't ever stop telling the truth." Keep reading for more big celebrity LGBTQ moments of the year…
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2019 was the year of Lil Nas X! His smash hit "Old Town Road" dominated the charts for months and broke records, and the new music star made a big personal announcement in June. He shared on Twitter on the last day of Pride month, "Some of y'all already know, some of y'all don't care, some of y'all not gone [sic] fwm no more. but before this month ends i want y'all to listen closely to c7osure." He ended the tweet with a rainbow, and in doing so became the first artist to come out while simultaneously having the No. 1 song in America.
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This year, one of the biggest names in music, Taylor Swift, publicly supported LGBTQ rights with her song "You Need to Calm Down," which she released in the middle of June — Pride month. Taylor featured big-name LGBTQ stars in her video for the track (which also urged viewers to sign a petition in support of the Equality Act at the end) as well as personalities from "RuPaul's Drag Race" then brought some of them along for her performance of the song at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards in August. In her VMAs video of the year acceptance speech — "You Need to Calm Down" won — the superstar brought even more attention to the Equality Act, which aims to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity. "In this video, several points were made. So you voting for this video means that you want a world where we're all treated equally, regardless of who we love, regardless of how we identify," Taylor stated. She also thanked fans for signing the petition, noting it had garnered an impressive half a million signatures.
Miley Cyrus ended her high-profile marriage to Liam Hemsworth in August and rebounded right into a same-sex relationship with reality TV star Kaitlynn Carter. The pop singer, who's no stranger to discussing her sexuality publicly, previously opened up about being pansexual in 2015 after dating both Patrick Schwarzenegger and Stella Maxwell that year. Miley's relationship with Kaitlynn didn't last long, however, as she jumped into a new relationship with singer Cody Simpson in early October. The same month, she courted controversy when she opened up on Instagram Live about the difficulties of finding a good man, sharing, "I always thought I had to be gay because I just thought, like, all guys were evil, but it's not true." She received backlash from the LGBTQ community after those comments and tweeted an explanation, writing, "I was talking s— about sucky guys, but let me be clear, YOU don't CHOOSE your sexuality. You are born are you are. It has always been my priority to protect the LGBTQ community I am part of."
In March 2019, British singer Sam Smith came out as gender nonbinary. The singer appeared on Jameela Jamil's Instagram show, "I Weigh Interviews," where they opened up about their sexuality, saying, "I'm not male or female. I think I float somewhere in between." At the time, Sam shared that they still preferred male pronouns, but in September, the music star took to Instagram to announce a further identity progression. "I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM," Sam wrote.
2019 gave us the first LGBTQ lead on a live-action superhero series — "Batwoman" starring Ruby Rose. The Australian actress, who identifies as a lesbian, also stars as Kate Kane/Batwoman, who's a lesbian on the show that debuted on The CW in October. Ruby faced some backlash on social media after her casting was announced, including from clueless trolls who argued that the actress couldn't possibly play a lesbian character (they clearly didn't realize she's been out since she was 12). The bullying was so intense that the star briefly quit Twitter.
In 2019, Charlize Theron revealed that her eldest child is trans. She adopted Jackson in 2012 and introduced her baby to the world as boy. "I thought she was a boy too," Charlize told the Daily Mail in April 2019, "until she looked at me when she was 3 years old and said, 'I am not a boy!'" Charlize, who adopted a second child, daughter August, in 2015, continued, "So there you go! I have two beautiful daughters who, just like any parent, I want to protect and I want to see thrive. They were born who they are and exactly where in the world both of them get to find themselves as they grow up, and who they want to be, is not for me to decide," Charlize added. "My job as a parent is to celebrate them and to love them and to make sure that they have everything they need in order to be what they want to be. And I will do everything in my power for my kids to have that right and to be protected within that."
In 2019, Bachelor Nation featured a same-sex couple for the first time ever on any "The Bachelor" franchise. "Bachelor in Paradise" made headlines during Season 6 this summer when Demi Burnett, who was attached to Derek Peth at the time, shared that she'd been dating a woman back home before coming on the show. The woman, Kristian Haggerty — who'd never previously been a part of Bachelor Nation — eventually headed to paradise to reunite with the reality star and the two ended up engaged by the finale. Sadly, they'd split by the end of October.
In August, Julianne Hough told Women's Health Magazine that she's not straight, despite being married to retired pro hockey player Brooks Laich since July 2017. She told the outlet about a conversation with her husband where she asked him, "'You know I'm not straight right?'" She added, "'I'm not. But I choose to be with you.'" Her husband was supportive of the news, and Julianne shared: "… the more I dropped into my most authentic self, the more attracted he was to me." Brooks later praised Julianne's announcement on social media, writing on Instagram, "So proud of my wife @juleshough for the woman she is, and her courage to share her journey of trials and triumphs!"
This year on Season 4 of The CW's "Supergirl," history was made with the character Nia Nal (aka Dreamer). Dreamer, who's played by trans actress Nicole Maines, became television's first transgender superhero. Of the casting, Nicole told Variety earlier this year, "We can be whoever we want, we can do whatever we want, we can be superheroes, because in many ways we are." As for Nicole's superhero status off-screen? The young activist is actually the anonymous plaintiff in a 2013 lawsuit that resulted in a judgement that her local school district violated the Human Rights Act after she was prohibited from using the girls' restroom at school.
While talking to Out in June, Jonathan Van Ness came out as nonbinary. The "Queer Eye" star shared, "The older I get, the more I think that I'm nonbinary — I'm gender nonconforming." He added, "Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman. I don't really — I think my energies are really all over the place." A few months later in September, the "Gay of Thrones" star also came out as HIV-positive in a profile in The New York Times to promote his new memoir, "Over the Top." Jonathan explained he felt it was important in the current political climate to include himself as a "member of the beautiful HIV-positive community."
Miss Universe Myanmar Swe Zin Htet became the first openly gay contest to ever compete in a Miss Universe pageant after she came out as a lesbian in an interview posted on the pageant forum Missosology shortly before the Dec. 8 competition in Atlanta (Miss South Africa took the crown). "I want the world to accept the LGBTQ+ community and their right to choose their own path and pursuit of happiness," she is quoted as saying, as reported by CNN. "We should always have the freedom of choice and promote equality." Her revelation is also notable as being gay is still a crime in her home country.
Former "The Real Housewives of New York" star Cindy Barshop opened up about parenting a transgender 9-year-old son, Jesse, in August. Her revelation came in the wake of wildly controversial comments TV host Mario Lopez made on "The Candace Owens Show" in which he erroneously conflated sexuality and gender identity and called it "dangerous" for parents to allow their kids to make a "determination" about their gender identity before their formative years. (Mario later walked back his remarks and apologized.) Cindy explained to People magazine, "When a child feels comfortable and open, identity issues are able to be discussed in the family environment." She also noted the importance of "creating an open and positive home so they are able to express themselves." A month later she talked to the outlet again, sharing that "nothing's really changed" since she went public with her family's news. She also shared when she realized her son was trans, telling People, "You notice very young, it's very young. The other parents I've spoken to, we're talking at 2. Even the movement that they make. At 3, 3 1/2, I was 100 percent sure."
After premiering his music video for the song "Ease My Mind," in which he essentially came out as a gay man in February, Tony Award winner Ben Platt of "Dear Evan Hansen" fame opened up about his sexuality to People magazine. Though the star of "The Politician" noted he'd been out to his family and friends since he was 12 years old, he felt now was the time for him to come out publicly. "I've never sort of hidden that or been ashamed by it. It's just part of me," he told the outlet.
In April, NBA star Dwyane Wade publicly shared his support for son Zion (with first wife Siohvaughn Funches), who was born in 2007, when wife Gabrielle Union took her stepson to the annual Miami Beach Pride festival. "We support each other with Pride," Dwyane — who was devastated that he couldn't be there too (he had an out-of-town game) — wrote on his Instagram Stories on top of a pic of his son and wife. On another, Dwyane wrote, "Zion had his [own] cheering section today. Wish i was there to see you smile kid!" Zion's big brother, Zaire Wade, also publicly supported his sibling, writing on Instagram, "Love you lil bro no matter what."
New late night TV host Lilly Singh announced her bisexuality in February on Twitter, adding it to a checklist alongside the labels "female" and "coloured." After writing the list, she added, "Throughout my life these have proven to be obstacles from time to time. But now I'm fully embracing them as my superpowers." When her show "A Little Late with Lilly Singh" debuted on NBC in September, she became the only female, bisexual and Indian-Canadian person to host her own late night show on a major network.
Bella Thorne announced her pansexuality in July on "Good Morning America." The young star, who'd previously shared on Twitter in 2016 that she identified as bisexual, explained, "I'm actually pansexual, and I didn't know that." She added, "You like what you like. Doesn't have to be a girl, or a guy or… you know, a he, a she, a this or that. It's literally, you like personality, like you just like a being."
Trans model Hunter Schafer made a splash in 2019, becoming one of the breakout stars of the year. The beauty starred on HBO's hit series "Euphoria," on which she plays a transgender high school student. Her character, Jules, falls in love with Zendaya's character, Rue. The dark, gritty series chronicles the troubles modern-day teens face.
Life imitated art for Disney star Joshua Rush this year. The 17-year-old actor came out six months after his character on "Andi Mack," Cyrus, did the same on the popular Disney Channel show. Joshua took to Twitter to share his news, writing, "I saw so many of you watch Cyrus come out and said 'Hey! I can be me!' How ironic, isn't it, that me, playing that character, never had mustered up that courage?" He added, "Instead of feeling the courage to tell you today that I am an out and proud bisexual man because of the character I played for four years, I feel that courage thinking of all of you, who felt emboldened by Cyrus to come out."
This year, model Tess Holliday expanded upon her previous sexual identity proclamation. In July, Tess opened up to Nylon magazine to share that she's pansexual, telling the outlet, "I've been thinking a lot about my relationship to my own queerness, and I think the word pansexual speaks to me more than bi does."
Former "Pretty Little Liars" heartthrob Tyler Blackburn opened up about his sexuality to The Advocate in April. The actor, who now stars on "Roswell: New Mexico," shared, "I'm queer," adding, "I've identified as bisexual since [I was] a teenager."
"RuPaul's Drag Race" won outstanding reality show at the 2019 Primetime Emmys. It was the second time the show's earned the prestigious accolade; RuPaul himself has four wins for outstanding host for a reality/reality competition program under his belt now too. While accepting the award, RuPaul shared how proud he was of the "gorgeous kids" who've been on the show, thanked the TV Academy for voting for the show and on that same note also encouraged everyone watching to vote in the next elections.
In lieu of a host doing the honors, the 2019 Academy Awards opened up with a performance from Queen featuring Adam Lambert. The gay star, who has been performing with the iconic group since 2012, sang the band's famous songs "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" in celebration of "Bohemian Rhapsody," the Oscar-nominated 2018 film about late frontman Freddie Mercury's amazing life. Rami Malek later took home a best actor Oscar for his performance as the legendary rocker in the film.
In June, Willow Smith opened up on mom Jada PInkett Smith's show, "Red Table Talk," about her ideal relationship. The teen shared that it's actually with a woman and a man, explaining, "I feel like I could be polyfidelitous with those two people. I'm not the kind of person that is constantly looking for new sexual experiences. I focus a lot on the emotional connection and I feel like if I were to find two people of the different genders that I really connected with and we had a romantic and sexual connection, I don't feel like I would feel the need to try to go find more."
In April, fashion designer Marc Jacobs married model-turned-candlemaker Charly Defrancesco at their newly purchased Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in Rye, New York, in front of just 40 people. One day later, the men celebrated their nuptials again, this time at The Grill in New York City with 700 guests — many of them famous. Gigi Hadid and sister Bella Hadid, Kate Moss and daughter Lila Hack, Naomi Campbell, Emily Ratajkowski, Rita Ora, Kaia Gerber, Mya, Lil' Kim, Anna Wintour, Bette Midler, Erika Jayne, Christy Turlington and Edward Burns, Alek Wek, Helena Christensen, Justin Theroux, Rachel Zoe, Chloe Sevigny, Luka Sabbat, Christina Ricci, Debbie Harry, Sandra Bernhard, Amber Valletta and more were among the revelers. The grooms both wore suits from Savile Row tailors Huntsman for their celebration — Marc added high-heeled Gucci boots to his look while Char chose custom Christian Louboutin sneakers.
"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Cynthia Bailey's daughter Noelle Robinson, whose dad is actor Leon Robinson, came out to her mom — she revealed that she identifies as sexually fluid — on the Nov. 10 episode of the Bravo show. "People try to box everyone in and put labels on everything, but I don't really do that," Noelle, who began exploring her sexuality during her freshman year at Howard University, told Cynthia during an emotional conversation. "I just like who I like, and that's just what it is. There's a lot of attractive guys, and there's a lot of attractive girls." Cynthia gave her full support to her daughter. "I just want you to be happy, Noelle," she said. "If you meet an amazing young lady, that's a blessing. If you meet an amazing young man, that's a blessing. As long as they're good people and they love and support you."
"Fuller House" star Juan Pablo Di Pace came out as gay during a TEDx Talk in March 2019 given to students at United World College in the Netherlands that made headlines after it was uploaded to YouTube in June 2019. Though he told his friends and family about his sexual identity decades prior, this was the first time he'd ever publicly spoken about it. During his talk, he shared a story about what happened after he landed the role of Jesus Christ in 2015's "A.D. The Bible Continues" and how it helped him accept himself. "Of all the people in the world that could play this part, they gave it to me," he shared, adding, "So, there I am, hanging on the cross, in Morocco, and I look up at the sky, and I think, 'You could still strike me down with lightning. Are you sure you want me to play your son? Me?'" The experience was very powerful, resulting in what Juan explained was "an overwhelming feeling of love and acceptance and freedom that I could never even put into words."