Feature: Why was 2013 the year of coming out?

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

As well as a landmark year for equal marriage around the globe, we also saw a record number of notable coming out stories this year.

While we cannot claim a thoroughly scientific approach to the rankings, the stories are ordered through a combination of how widely read they were, how much debate they provoked and our own editorial judgement as to the effect they will have on LGBT life.

Because of the realities of life, PinkNews reports a lot of unfortunate and stark negativities around LGBT issues around the world, so it is our pleasure to present some of the most significant, inspiring (and heartwarming) coming out stories of 2013, in no particular order.


Tom Daley 

In a five-minute YouTube video, the British diving bronze medallist, and star of ITV’s Smash, revealed that he had been in a relationship with a man since Spring 2013. Notably, he specifically chose not to use a label to describe his sexuality, but said it was “love at first sight”, when he met his boyfriend.

Daley has been hailed by many including Lady Gaga and Clare Balding (among many others), and has been accepted by his grandparents for the announcement. He was also immortalised in Russian doll form, alongside Sir Elton John, Graham Norton, George Michael and Stephen Fry, in a charity auction.



The US started off 2013 with a bang, coming out as bisexual in US teen magazine Seventeen, and saying she wanted to stand up against anti-LGBT bullying and discrimination.

She later said that she’d like to kiss President Obama for his support of LGBT rights, and that if she were made US President, she would ensure equal rights for all.


Wentworth Miller

Prison Break star Wentworth Miller gave us a double whammy in August, as he came out in style, at the same time declining an invitation to the St Petersburg film festival in protest against Russia’s anti-gay laws passed in June.

He wrote: “It would make me happy to say yes, however, as a gay man, I must decline.” Well played, Wentworth.


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Jodie Foster

Turning heads at her acceptance speech for the Cecil B DeMille Lifetime Achievment Award at the Golden Globes, Foster joked that her publicist was probably more nervous than she was, but that she suddenly felt able to talk about her sexuality.

After thanking her family and friends, Foster thanked Mel Gibson saying: “Mel Gibson, you know you saved me too.” In 2010,Winona Ryder claimed that Gibson was a homophobe.


Robbie Rogers

The former Leeds United player, US-born Robbie Rogers revealed his sexuality in the early stages of this year, and was one of two ground breaking US sportspeople to come out as gay this year.

He retired and came out as gay at the same time, but shortly after returned to play football in the US, inspired countless others to come out, and spoke passionately about LGBT rights issues.


Masha Bast

Masha Bast, the chair of the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights, spoke out in mainstream Russian media to oppose the country’s anti-gay law, simultaneously coming out as bisexual and transgender.

Ms Bast said she explained to her wife when they first started dating “I wasn’t the gender I appeared to be. I am female and have always wanted to be a girl.”


Jason Collins

This NBA star was the second high-profile US sportsman to come out in early 2013, and the first player in a major US team sport to do so.

Coming out in Sports Illustrated magazine, Collins wrote: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

Two-thirds of US residents supported his decision to come out, and he received thousands of messages of support, including from President Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, his teammates, coaches, the Commissioner of the NBA, and countless others.


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Baroness Liz Barker

Liberal Democrat peer Liz Barker came out in a moving speech during the equal marriage debate in the House of Lords this summer. She was among the first to speak and said she had to “declare an interest”.

“Many years ago, I had the great good fortune to meet someone,” she said. “She and I have loved each other ever since.”

She went on to say it was a “great relief” to read the letter by the Bishop of Salisbury to Lord Alli, in which he argued “Whilst marriage is robust and enduring, what is meant by marriage has developed and changed significantly”.

Andrew Scott

The star of BBC’s Sherlock in November spoke out publicly for the first time to say that “as a gay person” he condemns Russian president Vladimir Putin for introducing anti-gay legislation to the country. 

Playing down the revelation, Scott said: “Really I just want to get on with my job, which is to pretend to be lots of different people. Simple as that.”


Richard Wilson

Actor and director Richard Wilson, opened up about being gay in an interview, after he was named by Time Out in a list of influential gay people.

The 76-year-old actor, best known for playing Victor Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave, said his mention at number 80 in the Time Out list was “the most blatant outing”, but that he didn’t mind people people knowing the truth.

Oops – at least he doesn’t mind. (We really had to stop ourselves from using that phrase here, but we wonder if he said it when he read the Time Out article.


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Michelle Hardwick

The Emmerdale star best know for playing Vanessa Woodfield, this summer spoke publicly for the first time to say that she is gay.

The 36-year-old actress said she is in a happy relationship with her girlfriend Rosie Nicholl, and said: “Life is good”. Lovely.

“I don’t want to hide anything. I’ve never actually been able to talk about ‘my girlfriend’ or ‘partner’ – this person that means everything to me, and it feels good to be able to finally do it.”

“I don’t want to hide anything. I’ve never actually been able to talk about ‘my girlfriend’ or ‘partner’ – this person that means everything to me, and it feels good to be able to finally do it.”

Darren Young

This WWE wrestler came out in an interview at LAX airport, during which he was asked whether he thought an openly gay wrestler could be successful.

He said: ”Absolutely, absolutely! Look at me. I’m a WWE Superstar, and to be honest with you I’m gay. And I’m happy, very happy.”



This brave teenager at his high school graduation ceremony

Jacob Rudolph took to the stage at his high school to accept a senior class award for being Class Actor, but went on to come out as an “LGBT teen” during his acceptance speech delivered to over three hundred classmates. His friends and fellow students applauded him for his bravery.

His dad recorded the video, and posted it online. In its introduction he wrote: “His acceptance speech took more guts to do than anything I’ve ever attempted in my life.”

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Professor Dinesh Bhugra

The new head of the World Psychiatric Association, Professor Dinesh Bhugra, came out as gay in an interview and said his profession should apologise for the way it has treated gay people and women.

“There are still countries where it’s seen as an illness,” he said. “We need to make a stand.”

The 61-year-old is also professor of psychiatry and diversity at King’s College London, and chair of the Mental Health Foundation.

He is already ‘out’ in his personal life but hadn’t spoken about his sexuality publicly


Derek Mackay

Derek Mackay, a senior Scottish Government minister, publicly came out as gay in November after separating from his wife.

The 36-year-old, who had two young sons with his wife Jennifer, has been living apart from his family after he informed them several months ago.


Brian Boitano

The Olympic medal winning figure skater who two days prior was announced as part of the US delegation going to the Sochi Winter Olympics, came out as gay.

Boitano, 1988 gold medal-winning figure skater will join the openly gay tennis star Billie Jean King and ice hockey medal-winner Caitlin Cahow, in the delegation to the Winter Olympics in February.


From the PinkNews team, we wish all of our readers a happy 2014.