Coming Out - celebs speak

Coming out as lesbian, gay, or bisexual is a something which as a rule we dread dealing with, the build up to telling your parents that you are gay is something that we don't ordinarily relish - unless your mum is like my friend Sara's - who had been praying for a lesbian daughter!

At school, kids hear the word "gay" used as an insult on a daily basis, but there is nothing wrong about being gay.

Many of the world's most influential figures have identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual, from Sappho to Alan Turing, from Oscar Wilde to Frida Khalo; they all have left a lasting contribution to the world.

By way of inspiration we’ve quoted a few famous people who have come out to millions of people across the world at various stages of their life. Please read what they have to say about their own coming out stories and hopefully their stories will inspire you too.

In good company 

“Coming out publicly turned out to be the best  thing I ever did, from a personal and professional standpoint. I feel that there’s nothing I can’t do now.”

SIR IAN McKELLEN
 
“For me it’s normal and nothing to be ashamed of. I’m gay and I’m comfortable with that. I really don’t know what the fuss is about.”

WILL YOUNG

“It’s important for me to have come out because it means I can be totally honest and I don’t have to keep looking over my shoulder in case somebody is going to expose me.”

SIR ELTON JOHN
 
“Just by being out your doing your part. It’s like recycling. You’re doing your part for the environment if you recycle; you’re doing your part for the gay movement if you come out.”

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA
 
“What happened to me is exactly the opposite of what closeted people fear: They think they’ll lose everything if they come out.This did not happen to me at all. In fact everything came back tenfold.”

MELISSA ETHERIDGE
 
“I think coming out helped a lot for me personally, because living in honesty and living in open, and in truth is an amazing feeling and I highly recommend it for anyone, no matter what you’re hiding, just let it go.”

KD LANG

 
“I’ve had a lot of good press off the back of coming out from friends, family, newspapers and the public; I’ve been very lucky. I get a lot of nice comments saying ‘well done’’ from gay people and ‘fair play to you.’”

STEPHEN GATELY
 
“As far as I’m concerned the difference between being straight or gay is as simple as whether you prefer dogs or cats, or coffee or tea. There is no better or worse, no right or wrong, and if there is a why, who cares?’’

GRAHAM NORTON
 
“It's funny because when you do come out you've spent years in the closet beating yourself up about it and you come out and everyone's cool, It’s a terrible anti-climax.”

MATT LUCAS
 
“I don’t think people have a problem with it (coming out) young people of my generation are a lot more liberal than their parents.”

SCOTT MILLS
 
“I want people to know the truth about my sexuality. I am gay and I’m very proud of who I am. I’m not asking for any sympathy or to be a role model to anyone else. I’m not worried about how people react because I’m happy being who I am.”

WESTLIFE’s MARK FEEHILY
 
“Do I like women sexually? Yes, I do, totally! I think a woman and a woman together are beautiful."

DREW BARRYMORE
 
"The people who need to know I'm gay know, and I'm somehow living by example by continuing on with my career and having a full, rich life, and I am incidentally gay.”

PORTIA DE ROSSI
 
"When I was 20, I fell in love with somebody who happened to be a woman. I was open about it because I wanted people to know that I had been with a woman."

ANGELINA JOLIE

“When I was 21, I hadn't come out to myself or anyone else. I was in denial and I thought if I didn't tell anyone that it wasn't real. No one believed me for a week, so I had to keep going on about it. I said it in the studio one day and only the runner heard me.

On dropping the gay jokes from his stand-up routine; "It feels really old. No one cares any more. There are so many homos on TV. It's why Matt Lucas ended up doing the only gay in the village. It was a twisted coming-out story because the old one is so boring."
 
SIMON ANSTELL


“These people who criticize gay people for being camp, have they looked in the mirror? Are they particularly butch?”
“My humour isn't camp - I am camp. And it annoys me when camp in the gay world is seen as a handicap. Personally, I find the 'straight acting' gays ridiculous, come off it I mean we can all grow a moustache and shop at Matalan can't we? “ 

ALAN CARR

Useful links

QUEER YOUTH NETWORK

CHANNEL 4 (COMING OUT)

ICEBREAKERS (Manchester, UK)

LESBIAN & GAY YOUTH MANCHESTER (UK)