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"I didn’t know anyone who was gay." 11 celebrities on what it was like coming out.

Earlier this year, 17-year-old pop star, Jojo Siwa, came out as gay via social media. 

The singer and social media influencer first hinted at her sexuality in a video she shared to TikTok where she lip-synced Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' while wearing a rainbow bow. 

"No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I'm on the right track baby, I was born to survive," the teen star sang. 

Then in January this year, JoJo confirmed it with a single photo to Instagram and Twitter. 

She uploaded a photo of herself wearing a shirt that said, "Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever."

Talking to Jimmy Fallon in February, Siwa said: "If I lost everything that I've created because of being myself and loving who I want to love, I don't want it...

"It's not something that I'm ashamed of, it's just something I haven't shown the internet yet.

"I'm just so happy. Now I get to share what makes me the happiest with the world and it makes my heart so happy."

At 17 years old, JoJo Siwa wanted to share with the world how proud of her sexuality and identity she is. 

But for many celebrities, revealing their sexuality or gender hasn't been easy - especially with the scrutiny that comes with being in the public eye. 

From Miley Cyrus to Sam Smith, we look at how 10 celebrities came out to the public. 

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Tessa Thompson

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Actress Tessa Thompson came out as bisexual in 2018 in response to rumours that she was dating singer, Janelle Monáe.

In an interview with Net-A-Porter, she said: "I’m attracted to men and also to women."

“Janelle and I love each other deeply. We’re so close, we vibrate on the same frequency. If people want to speculate about what we are, it doesn’t bother me,” Thompson said.

"It’s tricky, because Janelle and I are just really private people and we’re both trying to navigate how you reconcile wanting to have that privacy and space, and also wanting to use your platform and influence."

Tessa Thompson has recently been photographed in a three-way kiss with Rita Ora and Taika Waititi in Sydney while filming the new Thor movie. 

Listen to Mamamia's daily entertainment podcast, The Spill, discuss the photos that have surfaced of Taika Waititi, Rita Ora, and Tessa Thompson. 


Cara Delevingne

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Cara Delevingne opened up about her sexuality on The Goop podcast with Gwenyth Paltrow earlier this year, sharing that she felt "suicidal" when coming to terms with her sexuality.

"I didn’t know anyone who was gay," she said. 

"I didn’t know that was a thing and actually I think growing up… I wasn’t knowledgeable of the fact that I was homophobic. The idea of same-sex [partners], I was disgusted by that, in myself. I was like, 'Oh my God, I would never, that’s disgusting, ugh.'"

She continued: "There is still a part of me where I’m like, ‘Oh, I wish I could just be straight.' There is still that side to it. It is really complicated. But actually, that was the part of me that I [now] love so much and accept."

Kristen Stewart

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Twilight actress Kristen Stewart first spoke about her sexuality in a comedy skit while hosting SNL in 2017, where she read tweets [about her] that were made by Donald Trump.

In one particular tweet, Trump wrote that her Twilight co-star, Robert Pattinson "should dump [Stewart]."

"If you didn't like me then, you're probably not going to like me now, cos I'm hosting SNL and I'm like, so gay, dude," she said in response to the president.

She later spoke to The Guardian, saying: "The whole issue with sexuality is so grey. I'm just trying to acknowledge that fluidity, that greyness, which has always existed.

"But maybe only now are we allowed to start talking about it. I think things (the culture) are changing. Individually we are all part of that change and so I can take some credit for it, I guess – there's no reason why I should shy away from that."

Lil Nas X

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'Old Town Road' singer and rapper, Lil Nas X, came out as gay in Pride Month 2019 with the release of his song 'C7osure'.

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In an interview with the Guardian last year, he confessed that he "planned to die with the secret... [but] there was nothing really holding [him] back anymore.

"I don’t want to encourage [closeted fans] to do something they don’t 100% want to do. Especially in, like, middle school or high school. Because it’s just super hard.

"It’s easier for me. I’m not depending on anybody. There’s no one who’s going to kick me out of the house – nobody to start treating me shitty."

Miley Cyrus

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Miley Cyrus came out as pansexual in 2015.

In a 2016 interview with Variety, she said: "My whole life, I didn’t understand my own gender and my own sexuality. 

"I always hated the word 'bisexual,' because that’s even putting me in a box. I don’t ever think about someone being a boy or someone being a girl.

"My eyes started opening in the fifth or sixth grade. My first relationship in my life was with a chick. I grew up in a very religious Southern family. The universe has always given me the power to know I’ll be OK. Even at that time, when my parents didn’t understand, I just felt that one day they are going to understand."

Sarah Paulson

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In 2005, Sarah Paulson 'outed' herself as a lesbian at the Tony Awards.

In an interview with NoTofu, Paulson recalled the moment she accidentally kissed her girlfriend at the time, Cherry Jones, when she won a Tony Award. 

"She won a Tony Award, I kissed her, and all of a sudden I was outed. I didn’t really think about it in that way at the time - I was just doing what one would do when a person they love has just won a big fat acting prize.

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“What am I gonna do, pat her on the back and say ‘Good job, dude?’ It didn’t occur to me to do anything but what I did.

"I do want to live responsibly and truthfully without hiding ... What else can I say? We love each other."

In 2015, Paulson spoke to Pride Source about her history of dating both men and women but said she refuses “to give any kind of label just to satisfy what people need”. 

“All I can say is, I’ve done both, and I don’t let either experience define me,” Paulson said. 

“I don’t let having been with a man make me think I am heterosexual, or make me want to call myself that, because I know I have been attracted to women — and have lived with women. So, for me, I’m not looking to define myself, and I’m sorry if that is something that is seen as a rejection of or an unwillingness to embrace [my sexuality] in a public way, but it’s simply not. It’s simply what’s true for me, and that’s all I can speak to.” 

Sam Smith

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In 2019, Sam Smith came out as nonbinary in an interview with British GQ.

“Ever since I was a little boy, ever since I was a little human, I didn’t feel comfortable being a man, really. I never really did,” they said. 

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“Some days I’ve got my manly side and some days I’ve got my womanly side, but it’s when I’m in the middle of that switch that I get really, really depressed and sad. Because I don’t know who I am or where I am or what I’m doing, and I feel very misunderstood by myself. I realised that’s because I don’t fit into either.”

“I was with my mum… and she said something so beautiful,” Smith said. 

"[She said] ‘I’m so relieved that you and me and your whole family have a way to explain this, because it’s also been eating me up your whole life.’ Because my mum could see it and that it was a torture going on in my mind."

Elliot Page

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Inception actress Elliot Page first came out as gay at the Human Rights Campaign's Time to Thrive conference in 2014.

In the speech, Page said: "I'm here today because I am gay, and because maybe I can make a difference, to help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility.

"I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I'm standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain."

In 2020, Page shared they're transgender, and go by he/they pronouns.

"I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive," he wrote.

Earlier this week, Page posted a photo of himself on Instagram, sharing: "Trans bb’s first swim trunks."  

Laverne Cox

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Like Elliot Page, Laverne Cox has two coming out stories.

Talking to Out in 2017, Cox said: "I have kind of two coming-outs. So I always knew I liked boys, so I came out as gay first."

She added: "I’m from Mobile, Alabama, but I went to Alabama School of Fine Arts. The funny thing about coming out in art school was that everybody was like, ‘Yeah, of course you are.’

"I came out to my mum first as gay my sophomore year, and she freaked out. And then, when I came out to my mother as trans a few years later, it was after I started my medical transition - she took that easier.

"This time I was living in New York, I was supporting myself, and so she never said, ‘I don’t want you in my life.’ It was just that she didn’t understand and she had issues with the pronoun thing and the name change; it was just like, ‘Girl, you gotta get this together.’"

Ricky Martin

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Ricky Martin first came out on his blog in 2010.

“I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am,” he wrote.

Speaking to Variety ten years later, he said:

"I just remember growing up and looking at Elton [John] and saying like, 'I love his music. I like his colours. I love his wigs. I love it. Do I want to be him or do I like him? I’m so confused.' 

"At the end of the day, I remember just warm, loving, comforting… just emotions every time I saw him. Let’s give him a lot of credit for that."

Feature Image: Getty.

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