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2016 Year in Review — Retrospective: GLAAD looks back at the past year’s great LGBTQ moments from the entertainment industry

GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy organization has released a look at the celebrities who “made waves” when they came out as LGBTQ during 2016. Each “have the unique opportunity to influence the global conversation on LGBTQ acceptance by sharing their stories and elevating the voices of others from their unique and individual platforms,” the organization shared.

In January 2016, Charlie Carver (MTV’s “Teen Wolf”), came out in a five-part Instagram post. Also joining Carver were Rowan Blanchard (Disney’s “Girl Meets World”) on Twitter, Amandla Stenberg (actor) through Teen Vogue’s Snapchat (then clarifying in a September interview with Elle, they felt that pansexual was a more “accurate label”).

February saw “American Idol” finalist Rayvon Owen coming out in tandem with his video release of “Can’t Fight It” which “ended in a kiss shared with his real-life boyfriend Shane Bitney Crone.”

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Then lead singer of Australian comedy band Axis of Awesome Jordan Raskopoulos came out as a “trans woman in a video posted online, where she discussed her struggles with dysphoria.”

In the following month, bending to threats by tabloid reporters, Lilly Wachowski “officially released a statement in her hometown LGBTQ media outlet The Windy City Times confirming that she is trans.” GLAAD’s Director of Programs for Transgender Media Nick Adams shared that it was “thrilled that Lilly Wachowski is able to be her true and authentic self today, however, she should not have been forced to disclose her transgender identity before she was ready to do so. Journalists must learn that it is unacceptable to out a transgender person, in the same way it is unacceptable to out a person who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual.”

Christian rock band Everyday Sunday lead singer Trey Pearson came out via open letter in May.

Trey Pearson, via Wikimedia Commons.

Actor Colton Haynes came out as gay in an interview with Entertainment Weekly Brianna Hildebrand (“Deadpool” and “First Girl I Loved,”) confirmed on Twitter that she had a girlfriend.

Mara Wilson (“Matilda” child actress) confirmed on Twitter that she identified as “bi/queer.”

In an interview in The Advocate, Aubrey Plaza came out as bisexual.

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Aubrey Plaza. Photo by David Shankbone.

Stephanie Beatriz (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) came out as bisexual herself in response to Plaza’s statement, GLAAD shared. Rebecca Sugar (“Steven Universe”) came out as bisexual during a panel at San Diego Comic Con.

Actress Bella Thorne also came out as bisexual over the summer, and tweeted several times during Bi Week, GLAAD added.

“East, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert confirmed in a Facebook post that “she divorced her husband and was in love with Rayya Elias, her longtime best friend.”

Others who came out are: transgender YouTube star Gigi Gorgeous who came out as a lesbian; Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui came out as bisexual in an open letter to Trump supporters; Bex Taylor-Klaus (MTV’s “Scream” and Netflix’s “Voltron”) came out as gay on Twitter; and “Grey’s Anatomy” actress Sara Ramirez came out as bisexual “while addressing the True Colors: 40 to None Summit, a two-day seminar on LGBT youth homelessness,” GLAAD reported.

For more detailed information on these individuals and to read GLAAD’s list of LGBTQ films for the year and more, plus inclusive programming for 2017, visit glaad.org.

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.