National Coming Out Day – Lesbian and Bi Women Who Came Out in 2018

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Today is National Coming Out Day.

I wish coming out wasn’t important. I wish coming out was becoming less important as the days go by. I wish there wasn’t even such a thing as coming out. But those remain wishes. The truth is that coming out is more important now than ever. If that feels unfair, that’s because it is.

Straight people don’t have to come out because being straight continues to be what is deemed “normal.” Although it feels extra unfair to ask us to not only deal with people’s prejudice, but also to be examples of what it is to be gay, here we are.

Visibility is imperative right now. People think we have agendas beyond brunch and U-Hauling when the truth is that recruiting is the very last thing on most of our minds, and all we really want is to be left the fuck alone. “Lesbians don’t care about you, people. Why do you care so much about us?”

The answer is simple – we still remain these bizarre mysteries to too many people. The only explanation I have is that they simply don’t know us – or they don’t know that they don’t know us. Yes, I know. That means they are ignorant, head under a rock Neanderthals. And, yes, I know, you’re wondering why this is our problem.

It’s not a requirement. But, as lesbians, we can make a massive impact by just, well, being lesbians. By coming out, being visible, and making our presence known, we are advancing people’s understanding of who we really are and fighting the myths about who people think we are.

If you’re a celebrity, your impact in coming out and being out can be even greater. This year there have been a bounty of women coming out, and in honor of National Coming Out Day, we wanted to share just a few.

Abbi Jacobson

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Jacobson came out this year as bi, telling Vanity Fair, “I kind of go both ways. I date men and women. They have to be funny, doing something they love. I don’t know—I’ve never really been interviewed about this before. The world is my oyster.”

Alyson Stoner

Stoner wrote an essay for “Teen Vogue” about her coming out journey in which she wrote, “I, Alyson, am attracted to men, women, and people who identify in other ways. I can love people of every gender identity and expression. It is the soul that captivates me. It is the love we can build and the goodness we can contribute to the world by supporting each other’s best journeys.”

Amandla Stenberg

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In an interview for Wonderland, Stenberg explained, “ I was flooded with a sense of calm and peace because everything that I struggled with or felt discomfort around finally made sense to me,” Stenberg said. “And once those floodgates opened and years of pent up pain and shame were released, I found the freedom to live my best life waiting for me just underneath.”

“I was so overcome with this profound sense of relief when I realized that I’m gay – not bi, not pan, but gay – with a romantic love for women. ”

Andrea Russett 

Coming out in an Instragram post, Russett posted in part, “And to anyone who is struggling with anything similar in their life, you are not alone. You are not any less of a person because of who you may choose to love. How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you. Love is love.”

Anne-Marie 

Her song “Perfect” contains the lyric, “And I’ll love who I want to love, ’cause this love is gender-free,” and said in an interview with website The Line of Best Fit, “I’ve never ever just been attracted to men. I’ve never just been attracted to women”.

Brigette Lundy-Paine 

Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images

In September, while talking to The Advocate about the new season of Atypical, Lundy-Paine came out and said of the experience, “I can’t quite tell if it’s my presence as Brigette or the show. But I’ve gotten some really, really lovely messages.”

Cassandra Bankson 

Bankson, who is known for vlogging about her struggle with cystic acne, told her YouTube audience that being gay has been her deepest secret. “It got to a point where having acne was my life. I was not Cassandra; I was acne. It wasn’t until I discovered makeup that I finally found my identity outside of it. I cleared my skin — now it’s time to clear the entire slate.”

Deidre Downs Gunn 

Gunn got married in her home state of Alabama this year, and told People Magazine that. “Saying our vows in front of our family and friends and making that commitment to the love of my life was the most meaningful part of the day for me. I feel overjoyed to have found someone to share life’s adventures.”

Hennesey Carolina 

Carolina came out in an Instagram post, identifing herself as “a proud member of the LGBTQ community.” In the photo, she stands in front of the Eiffel kissing her girlfriend, while the caption confirms her coming out.   

Janelle Monae 

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Monae told Rolling Stone that as “someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker…I’m open to learning more about who I am.”

Jessie Paege 

Paege came out on her YouTube channel and told The Advocate, “I’ve wanted to come out for years now and I kept telling myself I’d do it without actually taking the actions. Once I would actually start coming out, I’d realize how difficult it can be, emotionally, and I’d tell myself ‘tomorrow.’ I started posting a lot more LGBT-related content this month and I think it was a subconscious sign that I really needed to come out.”

Lizzie Marvelly – Singer

Marvelly came out on Instagram after being nominated for a Celebrity Ally award at the 2018 New Zealand LGBTI Awards. She said in the post she was unable to accept the award because, “Over the last few years, I’ve slowly been going through the process of coming out. While I feel really honoured that someone nominated me… it’s important that I acknowledge that I’m actually a member of the rainbow community.”

Sasha Lane 

Sundance.org

During a press junket for her new film, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Lane said, “The story really hit home for me, coming from a household where my brother’s gay and I’m gay. I liked Jane, who has a free spirit and her own way of thinking. She grew up in a community where everyone was free and lived life in a certain way. Then her mother brought her into a community that was very conservative and unaccepting of her. But both those communities were boxes. I could relate to that because, regardless of how free I am in spirit, I grew up in Texas and that is kind of like a box.”

Tessa Thompson 

When speaking to Net-A-Porter, Thompson said that in her family, “you can be anything you want to be. I’m attracted to men and also to women…I want everyone else to have that freedom and support that I have from my loved ones. But so many people don’t. So, do I have a responsibility to talk about that? Do I have a responsibility to say in a public space that this is my person?”

For me, the answer is yes. But that is only because I have chosen to take on that responsibility. Each of us must make that decision for ourselves. But, should you be looking for inspiration to come out or help others to come out, let these stories and this day celebrating all of us and our true selves, serve as that inspiration. Besides, as far as I’m concerned, being lesbian is the only identity I could imagine anyone wanting. We’re the best of the bunch on all counts. So why not brag a little about being one of the chosen ones?

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