Girl Gallery: 35 Ladies Who Came Out As LBTQ In 2012

For the past few years, the ladies have been coming out in droves, each new year bringing another list of big stars breaking through to the other side — Wanda Sykes, Cynthia Nixon, Amber Heard, Evan Rachel Wood, Meredith Baxter, Chely Wright — the list goes on and on. This year lacked a definitive female megastar Coming Out Moment (Megan Rapinoe, maybe), but it didn’t lack a plethora of really fantastic Coming Out Situations. Perhaps most exciting is how many women of color came out this year — half of the women pictured below, in fact!

So, who came out this year?

The 2012 Summer Olympics brought a slew of out athletes to our attention: three-time US Olympic volleyball player Stacy Sykora, South African archer Karen Hultzer and WNBA Star and Team USA basketball player Seimone AugustusFurthermore, two Team USA Soccer players made their sexual orientation public at long last: Lori Lindsey, who actually came out right here on Autostraddle, and her best friend, heartthrob Megan Rapinoewho came out in an interview with OUT Magazine and made your pants explode.

Other athletes who came out this year are Mexican-American Mixed Martial Arts fighter Jessica Aguilar and Swedish skier Anja Pärson.

Some celebrities already known to be gay came out “officially” this year, like Style Icon JCrew Creative Director Jenna Lyons who essentially came out two years ago but officially came out last month. When comedian Tig Notaro revealed her cancer diagnosis in the most brilliant stand-up set of all time, she was also revealing her gayness publicly for the first time. Many were unaware of Australian chef Kylie Kwong‘s sexual orientation until she announced that her girlfriend of five years was pregnant. Celebrity Chef and Reality TV Personality Anne Burrell was herself shocked when Ted Allen allegedly “outed” her because she already felt pretty out, but now she’s really out.

Lots of musicians this year, too, like Australian country music artist Beccy Cole, former American Idol contestant Frenchie Davis (bisexual), Jamaican reggae singer Diana Kinghip-hop artist Azealia BanksCantonese pop star Denise Ho and controversial hip-hop artist Kreayshawn. Also, punk rock star Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! came out as transgender!

Screen stars who made the leap this year include Filipina singer/actress Monique WilsonBold & The Beautiful star Joanna JohnsonAustralian actress Magda Szubanski and child star and iconic 70’s/80’s tomboy Kristy McNichol. Actress/singer Raven-Symone didn’t officially come out, but she didn’t do so in a way that many interpreted to be essentially “coming out” in so many words — it’s debatable! — and The Matrix director Lana Wachowski spoke publicly about her experiences as a transgender woman for the first time.

The 2012 elections brought out queer politicians in droves: Texas State Rep Mary Gonzalez, previously out as queer or LGBTQ, came out as pansexual this year. Wisconsin State Rep JoCasta Zamarripa came out as bisexual and Kyrsten Sinema became Arizona’s first out bisexual congresswoman. Others came out because of relatives in politics, like Australian Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forrester.

Some of the people in this gallery have been “out” in their private lives for some time but didn’t have public lives until this year — humans vaulted from relative obscurity onto the gay mainstage in 2012 include reality TV stars like The Glee Project‘s Dani ShayThe VoiceDe’Borah Garner and America’s Next Top Model‘s Laura LaFrate. (Her fellow queer contestant AZMarie has been out in the public eye since before ANTM, otherwise we’d include her here too!).

Reality TV also proved an ample venue for other women to come out — on Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta, dancer Joseline Hernandez came out as bisexualas did R&B/soul singer/songwriter a K.Michelle, while R&B Divas offered R&B singer-songwriter Monifa Carter a platform from which to come out.

Without any further ado, the class of 2012:

Did I miss anyone? Do you feel upset about the inclusion of this or that person? If so, please refrain from beginning any sentences with “um…” but feel free to employ as much punctuation and all caps as possible. If you feel full of joy about the inclusion of all of these people, I encourage you to also employ a lot of punctuation and capitalization!

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3202 articles for us.


  1. At first I was like “ummm Justin Bei…OH HAI DANI SHAY!” I can’t believe that this is her life all the time.

  2. Wait. I thought Raven didn’t come out. Did I miss something? My reputation as an avid consumer of queer culture is at stake here!

  3. Yay Anja! :D Although I wonder why you put her with “2012 Summer Olympics” group. First, she is a skier (so Winter Olympics), and she didn’t come out in connection with anything to do with the Olympics. But anyway, it’s lovely that she felt finally felt confident enough to announce it on the radio to the whole Swedish people (it’s a recurring program that runs the whole summer with a different host every day, and EVERYONE listens more or less).

    • it’s in the summer olympics section because i’m an idiot! i fixed it though. it’s fixed now everything is okay now.

    • As a veteran ski racer myself (just graduated, what do I do without a team?!) I have a lot of feelings about Anja Paerson. It’s so good to see myself in the highest echelons of my sport I didn’t even realize this was something I was missing until I had it.

  4. I feel like that the list of musicians is severely lacking in nerdy department!!! You totally need Bunny Bennett (aka Rabbit) of the awesome steampunk robot band, Steam Powered Giraffe!!!

  5. Wow, it’s been an intense, sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful year, but what a beautiful and inspiring list of amazing people.

    Highlights for me have to be Megan just in general for her strength of character and coming out when she was on pretty much the biggest stage possible and also Laura Jane and Lana for more personal reasons.

    Also I just need to thank autostraddle for making me aware of the awesome, beautiful person that is Morgan McCormick. I try not to place human beings on pedestals, but she has helped and changed my life a lot with her videos and also just being herself. <3

    • I read an article where Kreayshawn was interviewed for curve magazine last September or so… She said she wasn’t a ‘raging lesbian, but an occasional” one… then something to the effect she is more attracted to the person. :)

      I don’t recall that she chose to use a label to help identify herself, but I’m too lazy to go digging up my magazine to see. Makes sense if she feels more fluid about things, or whatever. ;)

  6. This list makes me all too happy.
    PS ME TOO ME TOO I AM ALSO VERY OUT AND HAPPY THIS YEAR. It’s been weird and great.

  7. I hate that it happened this way but I think it would be unfair to not include her– Sally Ride. Though her public outing was posthumous, from what I’ve read she was out with her family and friends but just generally shy of the public eye. She came out upon her death, when her partner of 35 years was mentioned in her obit. If Sally didn’t want to be out, her partner never would have been included and included in a way that was not shocking or exploitative. It felt very normal, the way anyone’s partner would be included. Sally was a huge inspiration to me and so many of young girls and she was a national hero. And she is now, this year, someone who joins the the record-books an out lesbian. She will be even more of a hero to those kids still bullied or struggling in high school. I think she would have wanted to be included in a list like this, a list that both celebrates but doesn’t sensationalize.

    • you know i had her in here originally but then it just felt tacky so I took it out, like it seemed weird to put sally ride in here with all the other people, like what if she ended up next to kreyshawn, because sally ride was so special and now she’s gone — we wrote about it a lot at the time:

      anyhow if y’all think sally ride should be included i will put her back in!

      • I read your posts then– they were great. I think that you may have been the first magazine or blog I read that noticed that little tiny word, “partner,” in her obit and actually talked about it.

        That’s a really valid point and I honestly was conflicted before I wrote the response for many reasons but I came out on the side of, I think she would have wanted it.

        Of course, she was always her own special unique lady, so she can always get a special unique posthumous mention, right? Even if not on a list, exactly, I think linking back to your earlier posts is fine too.

        I just didn’t want to forget her.

      • As a child of the 80’s/90’s, Sally Ride was a big inspiration to me growing up. She definitely provided the “I can do that too!” encouragement that she intended. Then, when I realized I was a lesbian in high school, all these doors just kind of shut themselves in my head. No more military, no more astronaut, no more big dreams.

        Cut to many years later and I’m back in school for engineering. While there are more women in my classes than there used to be (I originally went to school for computer science), there are no other out women in my program that I can find. So when Sally Ride’s obituary was posted, she suddenly became a familiar but new encouragement in my life. Just knowing how awesome she was and that she probably struggled with the same problems I am right now has helped me get through this semester.

        I guess all that long-windedness means I think she should be on the list… I just wish she could/would have been publicly out years ago.

  8. I LIKE Azealia’s style and skills, but the song 212 also seems to promote homophobic slurs as a legitimate way to insult a dude. Look at the lyrics and message closely. I wonder, why is it cool or empowering for a woman to be openly queer/bi/whatever but at the same time to insult a man for being queer? I been trying to find someone to explain why this is okay… or do people feel like “she’s cute and raps about getting with girls, so who cares?”

    • Do you feel like that is especially more directed at dudes in that song, though? I’m not totally sure. I’ve read interviews where she’s discussed the theme running through it of sleeping with whoever to get ahead, and it seems like she puts herself in that role as well as the guy she’s dissing. (Which, as a theme, *is* completely weird, like really, to get ahead in the New York rap world these days you have to sleep with all these women?! I mean, maybe, I dunno! But it does feel like a really odd thing to harp on.)

    • See, what this kind of critique always makes me think about is not specific to that particular song, but a longstanding debate I’ve been having with myself over the habit that a few (also queer) friends and I have of using homophobic slurs to refer to ourselves. I think we can all agree that reclaiming slurs typically pointed at people like us is fine (e.g. dyke), but we also use slurs specifically aimed at queer guys, which none of us are. It’s not okay to adopt slurs not thrown at you, but what if the people they are thrown at have more privilege than you? And if they’re being denigrated for the same or similar reasons you’re being denigrated for, but while still having more privilege? I have no problem with marginalised groups using slurs against the groups that hold privilege over them, but does that even apply if we’re using them to refer to ourselves?

      212 is a whole ‘nother can of worms (because she’s not adopting these slurs for herself), but is it okay for Azealia Banks to mock queer male sexuality (if that’s even what she’s doing, it’s a bit ambiguous) when that’s a group which historically has had more privilege than her? Or is it not okay to mock the identities of other people under any circumstance? I mean, I’ve been known to have a laugh at the expense of straight people before, and obviously it’s different, but how and to what extent does it differ?

      Also, it’s two am and none of my thoughts make sense and I should just go to sleep so I can wake up and regret posting this.

      • Hey, Elinor! Thanks for your juicy response. :) I agree that it’s a very complex issue, and that we certainly should look at contextual factors when deciding when a “slur” is really some other kind of statement that’s worth trying to understand.

        I just get upset when we queers (in the midst of our excitement about queer-seeming stuff) exalt a performer such as Azealia for having “come out,” when it’s not entirely clear that she’s even done that. It’s great that she can get props for and make a living by rapping about sexytimes with ladies, but it makes me sad that it seems to come at the expense of gay men. I mean, maybe that particular man she’s addressing really deserves insult… but it’s not BECAUSE he’s gay that he deserves it. Can we even really claim her as queer? Does rapping about gay sex equal coming out?

        These are the things I think about. :)

    • I have the same feelings, also the fact that she repeatedly trashes women in her songs while exalting men. I know rap is partially about shitting on your haters, but that doesn’t mean you get a pass for being a misogynist….

  9. I like to imagine that the picture of Karen Hultzer with the rainbow in the background is actually a picture of Karen Hultzer using a rainbow as her bowstring.

  10. Anne Burrell’s gay? I guess that’s the secret of a restaurant chef! Zing.

    [sorry, I’ve been waiting to use that joke for a very long time]

  11. Thanks for making this list, and for making it diverse as well. :)

    There are still a few weeks left of 2012. There is still time to come out!

  12. Maybe it’s because I’m a Floridian, and maybe it’s because I’ve been a fan since I can remember, but the whole Laura Jane Grace situation still gives me all the fuzzy warm feels all of the time. Whenever I’m driving around jamming out to Cavalier Eternal, or I’m at a house party and people break into Sink, Florida, Sink, or I’m feeling really angry and sad and I’m drinking alone to Pints of Guinness, I get a little teary, in the good way, knowing she’s pretty much the strongest member of our family in the music business, and she’s so fucking major.

  13. I love the fact that Queen Latifah’s coming out then taking it back at Long Beach Pride does not get mentioned

  14. Kreayshawn? If she’s a white girl using the n-word, I could care less that she’s on the LGBTQ spectrum. Except that maybe it’s just another instance of white privilege: as soon as she comes out, white queers rejoice and instantly/conveniently forget her racist vocab.
    Celebrating her for coming out and providing hip hop with some queer representation WITHOUT having anything to say on her racism is not ok, autostraddle.

  15. So I was innocently clicking through the pictures until I got to Stacy Sykora and had to stop. Something about her name and volleyball sounded familiar but I just couldn’t place it. And then I remembered, I used to walk by a shrine dedicated to her once a week on my way to class because she went to my university. Gay Aggies represent!

    I was just too excited not to share.

  16. it was so nice to see so brave ladies to come out, but it is only a percentage of ladies who have turned the corner to true love. there are so many ladies who aren’t celebrities who have decided to stop hiding their true self’s. The hard part was telling friend and families and even in a few cases husbands.

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