After 12 months rife with tragedy and tumult, the prevailing sentiment expressed by people around the world this New Year’s Eve is, simply, relief that 2020 has finally come to a close.
But as the COVID-19 pandemic and political fissures continue to divide families, both chosen and biological, the power of seeing queer public figures embrace their authentic selves feels as profound as ever.
With their access to the red carpet limited, actors like Elliot Page and Lili Reinhart used Instagram and Twitter to open up about their identities directly with fans. Others, like professional Alpine skier Hig Roberts and “Real Housewives of Orange County” star Braunwyn Windham-Burke, did so in lengthy sit-down interviews with major outlets.
Then there was comedian Niecy Nash, who quipped about a “plot twist” as she announced she’d married singer Jessica Betts with a gorgeous wedding photo on social media that’s believed to be her first public acknowledgement of her sexuality.
Each of their statements come at a pivotal time for the LGBTQ community as a whole. Many have expressed hope in President-elect Joe Biden, who has signaled his intent to reverse course from the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ platform. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign has found 2020 to be the deadliest year on record for transgender and gender-nonconforming people, with at least 43 known victims of violent deaths.
Below, check out 20 actors, artists and media personalities who expressed their authentic selves to the world in 2020. The challenges many members of the LGBTQ community face are numerous, but each of these notable names helped drive the global conversation on LGBTQ acceptance by living truthfully.