Since AfterEllen was founded in 2002, the amount of openly LGBT-identified women who are also public figures has grown exponentially. As the world becomes a more accepting place to live out and proud, more high-profile women feel safe enought to share their sexual identities with family, friends and fans alike. While many of these women tend to be in their 30s and above, we’ve had the privilege in the past year of young gay/bi actors, writers, directors, producers, singers and activists representing our community in the mainstream. In no particular order, here are 30 women under 30 who we are thrilled to have as part of our queer community and are doing big things here and now, poised to continue in the future.
Raven Symone (28)
An actress since the age of three, Raven has been a part of this generation’s television tapestry from scene-stealing appearances in The Cosby Show, Hanging with Mr. Cooper to her own Disney series, That’s So Raven. Currently taking a break from acting to go to college in San Francisco, Raven doesn’t comment on her personal life other than to say she is happy that she’s now able to get married under California law and, most recently, commenting, “I’ll just say I love my LGBT community and I’m a part of them always.”
Ali Stroker (24)
After finding fame on The Glee Project and then Glee, Ali Stroker came out about her relationship with Dani Shay in a sweet music video. But it’s her work as an activist that has us thrilled to call her part of our team. Ali, paralyzed from the waist down from a car accident, is a spokeswoman for Colours Wheelchairs and The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation as well as the Be More Heroic anti-bullying campaign. “To be able to be a role model and an example for somebody young who is exploring their sexuality,” Ali told us in 2012, “that feels so good.”
Ellen Page (27)
A successful Hollywood actress before she came out this year, Ellen Page is just beginning to wow us. She’s working with Evan Rachel Wood on out director Patricia Rozema‘s upcoming Into the Forest, and Julianne Moore on the Freeheld feature film adaptation after years of championing the true story about a lesbian couple’s tragic fight for equality. She’s also directing her first film: Miss Stevens, starring Anna Faris. “I expected so much more hate,” Ellen said in an interview of her coming out. “It was just remarkably positive, which is beautiful, because it’s indicative of the change that’s happening.”
Evan Rachel Wood (26)
An actress, singer and new mom, Evan Rachel Wood has been in no less than 40 TV shows and movies throughout her 26 years on this Earth. An avid tweeter, Evan is an outspoken voice for feminism, bi visibility and equality for women in and out of Hollywood. In addition to Into the Forest, she’s got two other films coming out in 2015: Facing the Wind and the Untitled Gerardo Naranjo Project. “I think if there was ever a time to come out, now would be the time,” Evan told us in 2013. “And if I can use my status to draw awareness and get people talking about it, then that means the world to me.”
Megan Rapinoe (29)
The Seattle Reign player posed for this year’s ESPN “Body Issue” where she spoke candidly about her choice to come out. “Everyone in my life already knew,” she told the magazine. “If you want to stand up and fight for equal rights but then won’t even stand up for yourself and say ‘I’m gay’ — that just started to feel weird.” Megan will be part of the U.S. team battling for World Cup 2015 in Canada, and we can’t wait.