Closet Busters! Coming Out of Hiding in 2013

In 2013, a slew of celebrities came out of the closet, and, for the first time, a male pro athlete came out of the closet while
still playing on a team.

Two weeks into 2013, long-rumored-to-be lesbian Jodie Foster (“Silence of the Lambs,” “Little Man Tate”) came out at the Golden Globes while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.”

She was followed out of the closet by Matt Dallas (“Kyle XY”) who announced his engagement to musician Blue Hamilton, also in January. By April, the two had walked the red carpet for the first time as a couple at the 2013 GLAAD Media Awards.

Jason Collins, who played with the NBA’s Washington Wizards, disclosed he was gay, making him the first active openly gay male athlete in basketball. Collins revealed his sexuality in the May 6
issue of “Sports Illustrated.”

Collins wasn’t the only basketball player to come out. Britney Griner of the WNBA opened up her closet door as well. Griner
said, “I didn’t have a real role model that I could look up to that was out openly.” The Phoenix Mercury player added, “I knew there were a lot of younger girls that needed someone.”

In April, she became the first openly gay athlete to sign with Nike.

In college basketball, Derek Schell became the first openly gay NCAA Division II player. In an essay for OutSports.com he wrote “I came out as gay to all my closest friends because I wanted to see who was really a true friend to me. There was nothing wrong with me. I didn’t want to be someone else’s idea of normal. To me,
normal is a boring, stereotypical mold that encourages conformity and trying to fit in. I just wanted to be accepted.”

Jasmine Jordan, the daughter of famed basketball player Michael Jordan, came out as a lesbian on Instagram.

International soccer star Robbie Rogers came out in February of 2013 when he announced his retirement from the game. The midfielder told the British newspaper The Guardian that he felt uncomfortable being the first openly gay man on a professional football [soccer] team. But after a wave of support from players
and fans alike, he returned to the game in May when he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Former NFL hopeful Kevin Grayson made a similar proclamation. One of Virginia’s most decorated college players gave an exclusive interview to Virginia television station WTVR and candidly discussed having to hide his sexual identity while playing for the
University of Richmond. The athlete said, “If you are an athlete, you want to be an athlete.” Grayson told the station, “You want to be known for what you’ve done on the basketball court, football field, tennis court, or whatever.”

Also in sports, WWE superstar Darren Young announced he was gay when TMZ stopped him at LAX and asked him if a gay wrestler could succeed in WWE. Young laughed, saying, “Absolutely. Look at me. I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy.”

Young wasn’t the only person to reveal his sexuality on television. Grammy-winning record executive Clive Davis announced his bisexuality to Katie Couric when he admitted that he is currently in a monogamous relationship with a man. He added, “I opened
myself up to the possibility that I could have a relationship with a man as well as the two that I had with a woman. I’m still attracted to women …you don’t have to be only one thing or another. For me, it’s the person.” His book, written with Anthony DeCurtis, The
Soundtrack of My Life
details some of his exploits with both men and women.

Actor Ben Wishaw wasn’t secretive about his August 2012 wedding, but the news broke in 2013. Wishaw, who puts the queer in Q playing the gadget man in the James Bond series, disclosed that he had been married to his partner, Australian composer Mark Bradshaw, for a year.

He wasn’t the only “spy” to come out.

Victor Garber (best known as double-agent Jack Bristow on Alias) had opened his closet a few years ago, but it became public in an interview with Greg Hernandez, a veteran Hollywood reporter who writes about gay celebrities. Hernandez said, “So, I quickly looked at his Wikipedia page and there it was: “He lives in New York with his companion of 13 years, Rainer Andreesen.” I then found all kinds of photos of this most handsome couple together. I wondered, ‘Did he come out publicly and I missed it?’” Garber responded, ‘I don’t really talk about it but everybody knows.”

Raven-Symone tweeted out loud. In August, actor Raven-Symone Pearman told the birdie that she was delighted by the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn DOMA (the Defense
of Marriage Act). The “That’s So Raven” star announced, “I
can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you.”

Another actor tweeted about DOMA. In June 2013, Greg Rikaart (The Young and the Restless) came out by posting a picture of himself and his boyfriend, writer Robert Sudduth. He wrote a caption that said, “Not getting married anytime soon, but celebrating equality tonight nonetheless.”

In response to Russia’s treatment of gay citizens, Wentworth
(Prison Break) came out on GLAAD’s website. He wrote an open letter to the Saint Petersburg International Film Festival declining their invitation to attend. He also revealed that when he was a teenager he attempted suicide as a result of his burgeoning sexuality.

Lucas Cruikshank, who played Fred Figglehorn in Fred: The Movie, revealed he was gay in a video he posted to YouTube while lounging in bed with his straight female friend and actor Jennifer Veal.

On the video, Cruikshank, in response to a fan’s question, said, “I’m gay. I feel so weird saying it on camera. But my family and friends have known for like three years. I just haven’t felt the need to announce it on the Internet.”

Bob Harper, fitness guru from The Biggest Loser, finally revealed his sexuality on an episode of the eponymous show. He came out to encourage Bobby, a gay contestant on the show who was struggling with his own sexual identity.

Maria Bello (Coyote Ugly) revealed her sexuality in the “New York Times.” In a first person account the actor described to her twelve-year old son, Jackson McDermott, about her relationship with Clare Munn.

Bello described herself as having a Modern Family, citing the popular ABC television show. After she told her son about her relationship with Munn, she fretted about his reaction to the
news. She wrote; “He looked at me for what seemed like an
eternity and then broke into a huge, warm smile. ‘Mom, love is
love, whatever you are,’ he said with wisdom beyond his years.”

New Zealand-born swimmer and Olympian, Amini Fonua dove into the deep end when he came out on campus during his freshman year. The Olympian came out in part to defend his
school from the perception that it is a hostile environment for
LGBT students. Fonua attends Texas A&M University, which
the Princeton Review ranked as the most conservative university
and 7th-most unfriendly LGBT campus in America.

Another swimmer made a splash when he came out. Tom Daley
came out as bisexual when the swimmer revealed he was dating a
man on YouTube. The nineteen-year old British diver is in a relationship with screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk). Daley said, “I am in a serious relationship with a man and I couldn’t be happier.”

YouTube became a popular site to come out. Jimmy Lee Hales, a
Mormon student at Brigham Young University, came out to his family and friends in a touching, fiveminute video. Mormon doctrine on homosexuality has been fairly conservative, but Mormon Church goers on the website mormonsandgays.org are hopeful that the church may change its policy. Another Mormon, Marie Osmond, interviewed actor Tuc Watkins who came out of the closet on her talk show. Watkins is best known for his role as Bob Hunter, the gay lawyer on Desperate Housewives.

Crystal Bowersox is using her Christmas album to tell the world
about her sexuality. The 2009 American Idol runner-up cut off her
dreads and announced that she is bisexual in a new song, Coming Out for Christmas. The song tells the story about a woman who tells her mother on the phone that she will be bringing a guest to the Christmas table this year. Bowersox sings, “Finally I will introduce my love as not just my friend.”

In August, Australian actor Troye Sivan came out on the Internet.
The actor is best known for playing young James Howlett, the boy who grows up to be Wolverine, in X-Men Origins:Wolverine.

Toward the end of the year, another Australian actor Harry Cook came out of the closet. On December 9, 2013 his YouTube video went viral with 35,000 people watching it in one day. UK born Cook was named the Number One Hottie in the August edition of
Australia’s Girlfriend magazine this year with the magazine writing ‘we reckon he’s going to be big.’

In politics, Representative Michael Michaud (D-Maine) confirmed he was gay in November. He wrote an article in the Portland Press Herald, which also ran in the Bangor Daily News titled, “Yes. I am gay. But why should it matter?”

In the article Michaud writes “I write this now merely to let my opponents and the outside interests who fund them know that I am not ashamed of who I am. And if seeing someone from my background, in my position openly acknowledge the fact that he’s
gay makes it a little bit easier for future generations to live their lives openly and without fear, all the better.”

Here’s to even more celebrities, sports figures and politicians coming out in 2014.

Michael Buzzelli is a stand-up comedian and sit-down author. As a comedian, he has performed all around the country, most notably, the Ice House, the Comedy Store and the Improv in Los Angeles. As a writer, Michael Buzzelli has been published in a variety of websites, magazines and newspapers. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant,’ Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine. He is also a Moth Grand Slam storyteller and actor. His books, "Below Average Genius," a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column in the Observer-Reporter, and his romantic comedy,  “All I Want for Christmas," are on sale at Amazon.com. He is working on a LGBTQ romantic comedy called, “Why I Hate My Friends.” You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. (He / Him / His)