How Gay Stars Have Come Out

In just the last few years, there has been a cultural shift in how Americans view same-sex unions. A recent poll found that today more Americans support gay marriage than oppose it compared to 2008, when 58 percent of Americans opposed it — and one cause for this is how outspoken public figures have become about their own sexuality.

There are a growing number of stars who have paved the way for gay people everywhere by coming out, including Frank Ocean, Anderson Cooper, and Jodie Foster, who came out at the Golden Globes in January. Be inspired with these celebrities who've used magazines, talk shows, and their blogs to come out!

Anderson Cooper
In 2012 Anderson Cooper emailed The Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan thoughts on his sexual orientation and gave Sullivan permission to print the email in his column. In part, it read: "I've always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn't matter. Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."

Neil Patrick Harris
In 2006, NPH told People he's gay, saying, "I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest." The Doogie Howser, M.D and How I Met Your Mother actor is engaged to partner David Burtka and a father to twins!

Ellen DeGeneres
It was a whirlwind of coming out for comedian, actress, and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in 1997. She came out publicly on The Oprah Winfrey Show, appeared on the cover of Time magazine with the quote, "Yep, I'm gay," and then her character on the sitcom Ellen came out to her therapist, who was played by Oprah!

Frank Ocean
Last year, hip-hop singer Frank Ocean revealed his first love to be a man in a heartfelt Tumblr post. He avoided using the words "gay" or "bisexual," but wrote: "I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that Summer, and the Summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I'd see him, and his smile. I'd hear his conversation and his silence . . . until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless."

Jason Collins
NBA center Jason Collins made history in April 2013 when he became the first male US athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay. He addressed his sexuality in an interview for Sports Illustrated, telling the magazine, "I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different.' If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand." He recently marched in the 2013 Boston Pride Parade alongside his former Stanford University roommate, Congressman Joe Kennedy, who tweeted a photo of the fun and called it a day he'd "never forget."