12 famous LGBT faces who made a big difference in 2015

PinkNews looks back at those who have used their public profile to raise LGBT visibility over the past twelve months.

1 Ruby Rose

Australian born Rose was one of the very first celebrities to come out as genderfluid.

The model-turned-actress-turned role model broke through into the mainstream this year, after her appearance as Stella on Orange Is The New Black.

Rose later spoke of her rise to fame, saying she “wasn’t expecting” to turn the entire internet into lesbians.

2 Caitlyn Jenner 

In April, former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner sat down with Diane Sawyer for a televised interview – announcing to nearly 17 million viewers that she was transitioning.

One month later, Jenner introduced herself to the world with her historic Vanity Fair cover.

“If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life.’”

3 Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus confirmed she identifies as “pansexual” – and not bisexual as widely reported in the media – back in August.

The pop star revealed she had dated men and women earlier this year, when she said: “There are times in my life where I’ve had boyfriends or girlfriends. I’m not hiding my sexuality.

“For me, I don’t want to label myself as anything.”

4 Olly Alexander

The singer, who has been open about his sexuality throughout his rise to success, has proven a positive role model to his ever growing fanbase.

He has hit out in the past at gay singers who sing about gender-neutral “lovers” in songs, saying: “It is kind of sad to me that we don’t have gay popstars singing about men using a male pronoun, but that could change hopefully.”

The singer also recently backed a campaign to stamp out homophobic bullying in schools.

5 Ellen Page

Page revealed in February last year that she was gay, in an emotional speech to GLAAD where she said she was ‘tired of lying by omission’ about her sexuality.

The actress has since become an international advocate for LGBT rights – she even attended a Pride event in Jamaica, despite homosexuality being illegal there.

Page also recently opened up about playing her first openly gay character since coming out herself.

6 Panti Bliss

Panti Bliss has become a household name in Ireland, after tirelessly campaigning for gay rights and same-sex marriage across the country.

Bliss, real name Rory O’Neill, caused controversy when she labelled Catholic lobbying group the Iona Institute ‘homophobes’ on an Irish talk show.

After the controversy, a heartwarming speech that Panti gave about the oppression that gay people face went viral online, and was even sampled as part of a Pet Shop Boys track.

7 Cara Delevingne 

World famous supermodel Cara Delevingne chose a suitably fashionable way to come out – in Vogue magazine.

“It took me a long time to accept the idea, until I first fell in love with a girl at 20 and recognized that I had to accept it,” she said.

“I think that being in love with my girlfriend [St Vincent] is a big part of why I’m feeling so happy with who I am these days. And for those words to come out of my mouth is actually a miracle.”

8 Keegan Hirst 

Keegan Hirst became the first British rugby league player to come out in August.

“At first I couldn’t even say ‘I’m gay’ in my head, let alone out loud. Now I feel like I’m letting out a long breath that I’ve held in for a long time.”

“I had a wife and kids. I tick every macho box. How could I be gay? I’m from Batley for goodness sake. No one is gay in Batley.”

9 Gus Kenworthy 

Champion free skier Gus Kenworthy came out as gay on the cover of ESPN.

He revealed he knew he was gay from a very early age – but felt immense pressure to fit in to the “macho world” of sport.

“I know hooking up with hot girls doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world. But I literally would sleep with a girl and then cry about it afterwards. I’m like, ‘What am I doing? I don’t know what I’m doing.'”

10 Laverne Cox

Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox has continued to shed light the issues facing the trans community, from transphobia to what makes a beautiful trans women.

“All the things that make me uniquely and beautifully trans—my big hands, my big feet, my wide shoulders, my deep voice—all of these things are beautiful.

“I’m not beautiful despite these things, I’m beautiful because of them.”

11 Nyle Dimarco 

America’s Next Top Model winner Nyle DiMarco came out while he was appearing on the series.
When asked if he was attracted to “boys or girls”, the series’ first deaf contestant casually replied “fluid”.

He preceded to share a link to an article explaining fluid sexuality and was praised for shedding light on the subject.

12 Ellen DeGeneres 

The popular TV host candidly discussed the fear she felt before opening up about her sexuality.

“I didn’t think I was going to come out, period… I didn’t think I’d be coming out on a show, ever.”

She also took Caitlyn Jenner to task over her beliefs on gay marriage, as well as lending her support to a young boy coming to terms with his sexuality.