21 Amazing Women Who Came Out, Showed Up Or Got Girlfriends In 2014

It’s that time of year again, when we look back and think about all the lesbian, bisexual, queer, transgender and otherwise-identified ladies who we didn’t even know were of the LGBT persuasion last year! It was actually a little harder to find a long list this year than it was in 2013 and 2012 — perhaps because everybody already came out last year!

The biggest shift this year was how many women have come out by not coming out at all. They never made a big pronouncement, they just suddenly had a girlfriend and the world was pretty cool with it. It’s a brand new day, y’all.


January

1. Robin Roberts, Television Personality

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Technically, Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts came out in December, but it was after last year’s “22 women who came out this year” post, so let’s run with it anyhow. On December 29th, 2013, Robin Roberts came out via facebook, thanking her longtime girlfriend Amber Laign for her support while Roberts battled breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome. In 2014, she released her fourth book, Everybody’s Got Something.


February

2. Casey Stoney, Soccer Player

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2012 British women’s soccer captain and Arsenal Ladies defensive player Casey Stoney came out to BBC Sport, making her UK’s most famous gay soccer player. “For the last 10 years… I was frightened of the stereotypes, frightened of being judged, frightened of what other people might say, especially the abuse you can get through social media,” she told the BBC. “I think I’m in a place where I feel so comfortable in my own skin, I feel so loved by the person I’m with, that I feel I can face anything.”

3. Ellen Page, Actress

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This was the year’s biggest coming out story. All around the world, lesbians stopped scissoring with their Valentines to scream wildly on the internet regarding this development, which occurred in a speech Page delivered at an HRC benefit.

“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… It’s weird because here I am, an actress, representing — at least in some sense — an industry that places crushing standards on all of us. Not just young people, but everyone. Standards of beauty. Of a good life. Of success. Standards that, I hate to admit, have affected me. You have ideas planted in your head, thoughts you never had before, that tell you how you have to act, how you have to dress and who you have to be. I have been trying to push back, to be authentic, to follow my heart, but it can be hard.”

Our lives changed forever that day. Nothing was ever the same. Even if straight people didn’t get it.

4. Cara Delevingne, Model

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Cara Delevingne is one of a few people on this list who didn’t actually “come out” in a formal way — but she has been increasingly public about her relationships with women. In this case, it was her whirlwind romance with Michelle Rodriguez, which we covered exhaustively on the website much to everybody’s acclaim/despair, that catapulted her sapphic tendencies into the public eye.

5. Monica Raymund, Actress

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Chicago Fire and The Good Wife actress Monica Raymund came out on twitter in February, declaring that she is “so proud to be Bi.” When asked if she’d “just come out,” she said that “nope, I didn’t just come out — you just late to the party. But I have drinks for all y’all. #BiandProud#10YearsOut&Proud.”

6. Kristen Merlin, Singer

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Merlin, a butch lesbian who had always been out in her private life, entered the public stage this past February when she showed up on The Voice. She made it to the Top Five and recently released an album, entitled “Boomerang.”

7. M.K. Nobilette, Singer

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Another reality television queer came to us in the form of M.K Nobilette, American Idol‘s first openly gay top ten contestant. She also chose to come out on air rather than afterwards, making her the first Idol homo to do so.


March

8. Djuan Keila Trent, Speaker & Writer

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Trent, who competed in the 2011 Miss America pageant, describes herself as “Georgia Peach by Birth. Unbridled Kentuckian by Choice. Modern Day Griot. Speaker. Writer. Lover. Enthusiast turned Activist. Miss KY 2010,” and, on her blog this past March, as queer:

For months, I have been contemplating how I would write this post, how I would position it, when would be the right time to post it. Should I make it funny? Should I make it mysterious? Should I make it serious? Should I pick a special date to do it? Should I build some kind of anticipation around it? Hmmm…ain’t nobody got time for that. I have written and re-written and deleted and restarted this post more times than I care to share, and after all of that I have finally realized: “There ain’t nothin’ to it, but to do it.” So, here we go folks…

I am queer.

She’s been living out and proud ever since, writing on her own website and even on Autostraddle! She also appeared on the cover of STORY Magazine this summer.

9. Shailene Woodley, Actress

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This year, Secret Life of the American Teenager and Divergent star Shailene Woodley went public about a lot of things: like that she’s a weirdo hippie who likes organic leggings, Vibram FiveFinger shoes, used clothing, “the earth” (which she considers a religion), hugging, Mugwort Tea, cramp-curing tree bark, drinking out of Mason Jars, harvesting her own drinking water, foraging for fruit and meditation. Oh, and she also told The Hollywood Reporter that “I fall in love with human beings based on who they are, not based on what they do or what sex they are.”

10. Zoie Palmer, Actress

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Palmer, best known to the queers as Doctor Lauren from Lost Girl, thanked her “incredible partner” Alex LaLonde in her Fan’s Choice Award acceptance speech at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards. She also thanked her son, Lucas, who is Lalonde’s son from a previous relationship. Lalonde is a TV Producer who has worked on many of the same projects as Palmer, and had been spotted with the British-born actress as early as 2011.

11. Kristen Kish, Chef

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The winner of Top Chef Season Ten came out quietly by declaring on Instagram that she was dating Jacqueline Westbrook, who is Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief of FOOD & WINE magazine. “She was the contestant you want to be best friends with because she’s smart and an excellent chef but she’s also hilarious,” wrote Hansen in our coming out post for Kristen.


April

12. Debbie Harry, Musician

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“Today in news that shattered everything we once knew about life, love and the world at large,” Stef wrote for Autostraddle, “Blondie frontwoman and professional cheekbones-haver Debbie Harry announced that she identifies as bisexual, and that she has enjoyed relationships with both men and women.” The legendary singer of seminal new wave rock band Blondie confirmed longstanding rumors in an interview with a German magazine promoting their tenth studio album. Although she had enjoyed more longstanding relationships with men, she told the magazine, “let’s just say women are more sensual.”

13. Lauren Neidigh, Swimmer

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In a column on OutSports, the University of Arizona athlete talked about the difficulties of being a closeted athlete and told the story of how she came out to her swim team near the end of her first year at Arizona, telling them, “”This is really hard for me but at this point I have to stop pretending that I can hide this forever. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore and I keep putting myself in really hard situations. I just want to live my life. There’s no easy way to tell you that I’m gay and I just hope it doesn’t change anything. You’re all beautiful, but you can’t have me.”


May

14. Lauren Morelli, TV Writer

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In May, Autostraddle favorite Lauren Morelli came out in an essay on Mic Magazine entitled While Writing For Orange is the New Black, I Realized I Am Gay. “The sound stage for Orange, where we proudly employ what has to be at least 64% of lesbians in the New York City metro area, is not a place where you can shy away from women or sexuality,” Morelli noted after recalling her realization that she as “higher on the Kinsey scale than she thought” after long conversations about Piper’s sexuality in the writer’s room. Her story was detailed and oh-so-relateable to all of us who, despite living in liberal areas surrounded by accepting queers, didn’t realize until much later that we were one of those queers. She divorced her husband and eventually fell in love with an OITNB actress. We’ll get to that one in a second.


July

15. Emily Rios, Actress

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Rios, who plays lesbian reporter Adriana Mendez in FX series The Bridge and played Tami Taylor’s troubled student Epic in Friday Night Lights, came out during TCA’s FX Day.  Rios told AfterEllen, “I’m gay, personally, so being Mexican and a lesbian — this is why I love the character because I deal with the same type of things with my own family.”

16. Andreja Pejic, Supermodel

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The model who made a name for herself for her androgynous look and ability to model either menswear or womenswear came out publicly this summer as a trans woman and announced her intention to only model womenswear going forward. Pejic has already appeared on the covers of magazines like Elle and French Vogue, appeared on the Out 100 list and won a NewNowNext Award. She gave this statement via GLAAD:

“To all trans youth out there, I would like to say respect yourself and be proud of who you are. All human beings deserve equal treatment no matter their gender identity or sexuality. To be perceived as what you say you are is a basic human right.”

17. Julia Nunes, Musician

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25-year old Julia Nunes is another person on this list who didn’t ever have a “coming out,” but this year she moved to Los Angeles and before long, she and Everyone is Gay‘s Dannielle Owens-Reid became one of the cutest couples instagram ever did see. Nunes rose to YouTube fame many moons ago with her mega-popular ukelele covers and has since put out four albums of original work. She also plays the guitar, melodica and piano, and has performed at Bonnaroo, toured with Ben Folds, appeared on television and played shows in her fans’ living rooms. You can keep up with her on YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr and Insta, and toss some cash into her kickstarter for her next sure-to-be-fantastic album.


August

18. Vicky Beeching, Christian Rock Singer

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This British Christian rock singer, theologian and commentator came out as a lesbian in an interview published in The Independent.

I increasingly began to feel like I was living behind an invisible wall. The inner secrecy of holding that inside was divorcing me from reality — I was living in my own head. Anybody I was in a friendship with, or anything I was doing in the church, was accompanied by an internal mantra: “What if they knew?” It felt like all of my relationships were built on this ice that would break if I stepped out on to it.

19. Samira Wiley, Actress

via OUT

via OUT

It was a monumentally important day for us all, because all of us are in love with Samira Wiley: the day we may or may not have received permission to break the story already broken by The Daily Mail about Samira and aforementioned Orange is the New Black writer Lauren Morelli hitting up the Emmys bash hand-in-hand. This followed months of suggestive instagram photos.

Wiley later appeared in the OUT 100 as the “Ingenue of the Year,” with a photo shoot memorializing Josephine Baker‘s appearance in 1934’s “Zouzoou,” the first time a black woman starred in a major motion picture. “I grew up in the church,” she told OUT Magazine. “I have seen my parents inspire people and give them hope and faith most of my life. I feel like I’ve always wanted to have my work be some sort of ministry, because that’s what my parents do and that’s the only word I have for it.”

Wiley is a Julliard graduate who has also appeared in TV commercials, The Sitter, and Person of Interest.

20. Patricia Yurena, Miss Spain 2013

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24-year-old Patricia Yurena became the first openly gay national beauty queen when she posted a picture of herself and her girlfriend, DJ Vanesa Cortes, on Instagram, captioning it “Romeo and Juliet.” The positive reaction to the photo encouraged Yurena to make a more direct statement, saying, “I published quite naturally and impulsively. I appreciate the outpouring of support and even more to rejoice in my happiness. Thank you!!”


October

21. Melissa King, Chef

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Melissa King is another woman who was already out, but was unknown to the world-at-large until she showed up on Top Chef this past fall. She graduated at the top of her class at the Culinary Institute of America and currently works in San Francisco. The show’s not over yet, but she’s still in the Top Five!


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41 Comments

  1. I know you mean well…. and want us to feel better about being lesbian… and being female and loving females….but can you please understand that our being a lesbian is about the feelings in our heart for a woman…. and has nothing to do with a celebrity, or religion, or our parents, or my co-worker….or any of the “team”.
    Being a female and being a lesbian is a journey of discovery of gender and sexuality that is absolutely private.
    But I know you mean to “make it ok” for us to be female ….and lesbian.
    Please talk more about “being in love” with a woman….what makes it different from being in love with a male.
    Thank you.

    • You’re entitled to define your own experience, Sarah, but I feel like here you are putting forward very particular ideas about sexuality and gender that don’t necessarily apply to everyone. For one thing, the target audience of this website isn’t just lesbians but also includes women who are bisexual, pansexual, queer, or otherwise not straight. Not all these women necessarily experience being in love with a woman as that different from being in love with a man (or from being in love with a non-binary person). So it feels like you are promoting a very lesbian-centric perspective. Not all of us experience our sexuality or our gender as an intensely private thing either. Personally, I live who I am openly, and I like hearing about celebrities who are also out LGBTQ women.

      • just came out to my wife tonight.

        your lecture is meaningless to me as a lesbian

        But … best wishes to your life…

        And, no!, she doesn’t understand that I am a female…and love MS at my store…. why? because my heart feels like I am her girlfriend….. her sweet love. girlfriend…. who is more her gf ever has been in her life….. why? because I see the real girl MS is…. has ever been in her life….. and I love that girl with all of MY girl heart.

        It is Sarah…. and the woman I aml.

        • Wow Sarah. That’s a pretty big deal–coming out to your wife. I’m sorry she’s not being more accepting of you. That’s awful that she doesn’t understand that you are female.

          I certainly wasn’t trying to lecture you earlier. I was simply trying stand up for the bi women and other non-lesbians who I know use this site–and that includes bi trans women! It felt like you were erasing them to me.

          But in any event, I wish you the best on your continuing journey. I know from experience that claiming a lesbian identity as someone who was supposedly “born male” is never an easy thing.

      • Becca, I really wasn’t meaning to “erase” anyone. I would certainly want everyone to a topic discussing all viewpoints of what love is and what gender identity is and what sex is, too.

        All of us come from different places and have different views on those three words that determine so much how happy our lives will be.

        I was hoping that AS would create a recurring , open thread discussion topic about the members thoughts about love, gender identity, and sex…..so that we can learn from their perceptions and hopefully help all of us find a clearer path to love and happiness. 🙂

        I wish I had not written the comment about my co-worker. Irrelevant self-pity.

    • I see and understand your point (as much as I can being a guy and all…) but I think lists like these are very much needed.

      Not so much for secure, out, and self-confident non-hetero women like yourself, but rather for latent homophobic women like my mother and sister whom I love dearly – but both thought EVERYONE IN THE MEDIA (including Robin Roberts) had their facts wrong when Robin Roberts came out this time last year.

      I had to politely explain to my sister that, no, celebrities coming out is almost never about attention-seeking, but rather usually about people who realize the reach and effect they have leveraging it to help positively affect the Leelah Alcorns of the world. These, at times young, closeted, and frightened souls need to realize they are NORMAL in every damned way, no matter what their communities may believe. And I for one believe that the more who people who can come out DO come out unambiguously do help those who are afraid to in even small ways.

      I totally don’t mean to demean or diminish your position or feelings toward lists like this, so please don’t take my response as such – I just don’t think that, for the most part, they’re primarily directed at people in your awesome state of life/personal relationships for more than a momentary diversion.

      • Your point is well taken. I had not thought about their celebrity being used as validation of the feelings that young queer identifying people are feeling, and hoping to find support for those feelings within their family and friends.

      • I don’t think men should be offering an opinion as to what trans women such as Leelah Acorn “need to” realize. Focus on putting your own house in order and let trans women think and feel whatever we think and feel.

        Leelah Acorn didn’t die because she believed she was abnormal; she died because she was being abused and oppressed by her parents and many others. Her parents have blood on their hands.

        Also, what’s wrong with recognizing you’re abnormal anyway? As a vegan, witchy, anarchist, mentally ill, left-handed lesbian trans woman with a disability who is 6’2″ (taller than a lot of WNBA players), there isn’t much about me that’s normal. I deviate from the statistical norm in all sorts of ways, usually in ways that are looked down on, too. But so what? This society is deeply fucked up and most of what is normal in this society is fucked up, too. So screw normal people. I prefer the weirdos and the freaks any day.

        Also I don’t know why you are assuming Sarah is in an “awesome” place in her life. She said she just came out to her wife and that her wife doesn’t understand that Sarah is a woman. Doesn’t sound very awesome to me.

        • Becca, consider that he seems to be replying to the original post, and possibly didn’t read the rest. Also, you’re being really hostile for someone who started out defending other people who come to read here who may not be expected. For all you know, this man may actually be here because he’s considering mtf life as a lesbian. Keep the open mind that you used so diligently earlier.

  2. How could I have missed Julia Nunes?! I was practically in love with her a few years ago before I was out to anyone… I actually came out to one of my friends because I had a picture of her (Julia nunes) as my computer background and my friend was like “ellen… is there a reason you look at pictures of girls so much?”

    ANyway I am so happy for all of these women!

  3. I cried so much over Ellen Page’s coming out speech. I’ve had a crush on her since Juno so it was both heartwarming and kind of a dream come true.

    Also surprised and very pleased to see two Asian Americans on this list! Being queer and Asian American, I feel like it’s quite rare to see people who look like me in the community.

  4. Lauren Morelli’s story definitely hit close to home for me- this past year, at age 27, I finally realized, and came to terms with, the fact that I’m trans. Wrestling with how I could’ve possibly missed this and managed to live a decently happy life (or at least what I knew as decent happiness then) as a hetero cis dude for so long was really hard- sure, in retrospect, there were signs, but you’d figured they would’ve been more obvious!

    Still, it’s been tremendously liberating, and has given me a peace and fulfilment I didn’t know was possible (admittedly, it helps that I’ve been very lucky and my partner has stuck with me through this, and my family/friends have all been very supportive). But, man, it took a long time to get there!

    • Totally agreed – both Morelli’s story and Page’s speech also helped me to come to terms with myself and finally come out as a lesbian this year (also at age 27). I’m so happy your friends and family have been supportive, and you’ve found that peace and fulfillment!

      This is kind of an aside, but I’ve found that sometimes it can feel strange coming out as LGBTQIA as an adult, because so much focus and so many resources are devoted to teens grappling with their identities (as there should be). Sometimes it definitely makes me feel like I was a bit behind the curve, ya know?

      • “Sometimes it definitely makes me feel like I was a bit behind the curve, ya know?”

        Oh yeah, I totally get that. I remember in particular that it was hard finding information from PFLAG and the like for family members for when I came out to them, because all of their pamplets were written with teenagers in mind.

  5. I came out in 2014 too! 🙂 🙂

    (Cheesy comment, I know. But I’ve been reading Autostraddle for a long time and I remember previous ‘Amazing Women Who Came Out This Year’ lists and feeling sad that I couldn’t come out that year…)

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