Public Figures in Support of the LGBT Community

LGBT communityThere have been many notable public figures in the support of the LGBT community whether as allies or coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Some of these people have been actors and actresses, musicians, athletes, politicians and even everyday folks with a wide reaching audience.

These people have been brave to embrace themselves for who they are and what they stand for in the midst of sometimes a very angry opposition.

Outlined here are just a few of those very special people:

Hilary Clinton (politician)

  • Released an online ad on Dec 6, 2015 to show her support for LGBT equality
  • On Oct 3, 2015 she argued that 14,000 soldiers who were forced to leave the military because of their sexual orientation should have their records updated to reflect an honourable discharge
  • In June of 2015 she applauded a Supreme Courts decision to uphold marriage equality while criticizing the Republicans rejection of marriage equality

Martin O’Malley (former governor of Maryland)

  • July 23, 2015 he was the first candidate to support the Equality Act
  • He tweeted “I proudly support the new LGBT civil rights bills – we must continue to fight for a more open, respectful and inclusive nation.”
  • On June 26, 2015 he tweeted “So grateful to the people of MD for leading the way on this important issue of human dignity and equality under the law.”
  • March 2012 he signed a bill allowing same sex marriage in Maryland

Bernie Sanders (politician/senator)

  • June 26, 2015 he issued this statement on his senate website “Today the Supreme Court fulfilled the words engraved upon its building: ‘Equal justice under law.’ This decision is a victory for same-sex couples across our country as well as all those seeking to live in a nation where every citizen is afforded equal rights. For far too long our justice system has marginalized the gay community and I am very glad the Court has finally caught up to the American people.”
  • He also voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment which declared “that: (1) marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman; and (2) neither the U.S. Constitution nor the constitution of any state shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon any other union.”

Lincoln Chafee (politician/mayor/senator)

  • Tweeted his reaction to the June 26, 2015 ruling “Congratulations to Supreme Court on today’s good ruling for marriage equality!”
  • In 2013 he showed his support for equal marriage by writing in The New York Times “Much of the argument for and against gay marriage has revolved around the morality of the issue. Each side feels intensely that its position is more righteous than the other side’s. I personally feel that Rhode Island is a better state, and America is a better country, when we are as inclusive as possible.”
  • In 2000, he cosponsored an amendment which expanded the definition of hate crime to include sexual orientation

Lawrence Lessig (attorney/political activist)

  • In 2008 he opposed a ballot that was seeking to make same sex marriage illegal. When it passed in November he wrote the following on his blog “This is a democracy. We win when we persuade people of our ideals. I believe strongly that Proposition 8 is against our ideals. I have so argued. But we have failed to convince the other members of this democracy. We need to try again. Let us launch, now, a new petition movement. Let us spend a year talking to people who disagree with us. Let us win this battle by persuading the other side. I volunteer to do whatever would help, including traveling to every church or community in this state to make the case for equality. But please, let’s not try to win this battle by summoning the Supremes. Even if it is right that this Amendment is contrary to the best interpretation of Equal Protection, let us bring the ideals of Equal Protection to life, by getting people to support them.”

Tim Cook (Apple CEO)

  • First openly gay CEO on the Fortune 500 list
  • He backed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would prohibit employers from discriminating against LGBT people

100 technology leaders including PayPal founder Max Levchin, Twitter’s Dick Costolo and Square’s Jack Dorsey released a joint statement asking for nationwide LGBT protection.

Max Levchin (founder of PayPal)

  • Made a statement to Wired about the new legislation “The Equality Act ensures no one will be at risk of being fired, evicted from their home, or denied services because of who they are or whom they love.”

Tammy Baldwin (senator)

  • Stated this after the Supreme Court decision “After an historic Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, I believe America is ready, ready to take more steps forward.”

Caitlyn Jenner (Olympic gold medalist & reality TV star)

  • Came out as transgender during a televised interview with Diane Sawyer on “20/20”
  • After receiving the ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award she stated “It’s not just about one person, it’s about thousands of people. It’s not just about me, it’s about all of us accepting one another. We’re all different.”

Jussie Smollett (actor on Fox hit show)

  • During a backstage interview with Ellen DeGeneres the star of “Empire” came out publicly as being gay.
  • The character he played, Jamal Lyon, is also gay and at the time he came out he was the only openly black gay male lead actor in a primetime TV show and only 1 of 3 black gay characters who had recurring roles on TV

Mike Honda (congressman)

  • He opened his support for the transgender community as well as his transgender granddaughter on February 18, 2015 on Twitter as he tweeted “As the proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild, I hope she can feel safe at school without fear of being bullied.”
  • Each year he’s been in congress he’s earned 100% on LGBT equality on the HRC Congressional Scorecard
  • He also cosponsored the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Respect for Marriage Act
  • He’s also been a public supporter since at least 2000 at this time only a few public officials did so

Miley Cyrus (singer/actress)

  • In an interview with Paper Magazine came out as being fluid. Miley stated, “I don’t relate to being boy or girl, and I don’t have to have my partner relate to boy or girl.”
  • Posted a photo of herself on Instagram in an Equality T-Shirt. Partnered with Instagram to launch #InstaPride in order to help share transgender stories
  • She launched a non-profit organization, Happy Hippie Foundation which raises funds and awareness for homeless and LGBT youth
  • She also has a tattoo on her finger, an Equal Sign, in support of same sex marriage

Ellen Page (actress)

  • Came out as gay during a Human Rights Campaign “Time to Thrive Conference” in 2014 in which she gave an eight minute speech about the turmoil she went through as a closeted actress
  • Since then she serves as a host of Vice’s travel series Gaycation, in which she visits cities around the world to explore the different perceptions of LGBT culture

Kerry Washington (actress)

  • Accepts the Vanguard Award in March 2015 for being a notable ally of the LGBT community
  • During her speech she called for more LGBT representation in the media which prompted a standing ovation
  • She said “We need more LGBT characters and more LGBT storytelling. We need more diverse LGBT representation, and by that I mean lots of different kinds of LGBT people living all different kinds of lives,” she said. “We need more employment of LGBT people in front of and behind the camera … We have to continue to be bold and break new ground until that is just how it is, until we are no longer ‘first’ and ‘exceptions’ and ‘rare’ and ‘unique.’ “

Brad Pitt (actor/producer)

  • In 2012 before the nationwide legalization of gay marriage, he donated $100,000 to the Human Rights Campaign to support their efforts towards same sex marriage
  • Pitt said in an email to Human Rights Campaign “It’s unbelievable to me that people’s lives and relationships are literally being voted on in a matter of days. Every person’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is enshrined in our country’s Declaration of Independence, but powerful, well-funded groups are flooding the airwaves with lies trying to take away those rights from certain people … and we can’t stand for it.”
  • He also supports charities like the American Foundation for Equal Rights and Human Rights Watch

 

Shane Dawson (YouTube celebrity with nearly seven million subscribers)

  • Came out as bisexual in a video he posted to his channel viewers. In it he stated, “I am bisexual…I’ve never really talked about it until now…I’m making this video because I feel like it can help a lot of people. I feel like a lot of you might be confused and scared and not talking about it. I’m here for you.”

Aaron and Austin Rhodes (YouTube sensations with over 20 million views)

  • Twins came out to their father and the public in a YouTube video
  • At first they were nervous and emotional until their father says “It’s the way things are. I love you both. That’ll never change.”
  • The Rhodes brothers posted this to the YouTube page, “With 2015 now here, we think it is time to finally just be ourselves. We hope by our actions today you can finish watching this video feeling encouraged and inspired. Thank you for all the support. We love you.”

Ingrid Nilsen (YouTube channel on fashion, lifestyle and makeup)

  • Posted a video titled “Something I Want You To Know (Coming Out)” She states she grew up suppressing her true self and later coming out to her friends and family
  • She states “There’s something I want you to know; And that something is I’m gay. It feels so good to say that…I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

Joey Graceffa (YouTube singer)

  • Released a song called “Don’t Wait” and features Graceffa kissing his male co-star at the end of it. Two days later he confirmed his sexual orientation with another video called “Yes I’m Gay”
  • He told People in an interview “I felt like I was hiding such a big part of my life…I definitely feel more open and free with who I am.”

David Denson (Baseball Pitcher)

  • In an interview with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel came out as being gay
  • According to ESPN he is the first openly gay active player on a team affiliated with Major League Baseball
  • In his interview he said that his teammates gave him the confidence he needed he states “I never wanted to feel like I was forcing it on them. It just happened. The outcome was amazing. It was nice to know my teammates see me for who I am, not my sexuality.”

Other athletes who have come out include Michael Sam, Jason Collins, Robbie Rogers, Brittney Griner, Orlando Cruz, Megan Rapinoe, Lori Lindsey and Tom Daley.

Although those mentioned above are just a few of the fine examples we have currently supporting the LGBT community, it is this writer’s humble opinion that we can never have enough folks to stand up for their beliefs and shout them out to the world. After all, we are all HUMAN BEINGS with the struggle Life! Let’s stop discriminating and start accepting each other for who we are.