(WM) Pride Month 2020 has inspired the coming-out of a handful of public figures.
Actress and “Orange Is the New Black” star Taylor Schilling came out on Instagram on June 28. Schilling is currently dating visual artist Emily Ritz, who posted a photo of the two on her Instagram story, which Schilling later reposted on her own account.
Actress and “Hairspray” lead Nikki Blonsky came out via a TikTok video, which showed the actress and singer lip-syncing to the Diana Ross hit “I’m Coming Out.”
“Hi, it’s Nikki Blonsky from the movie I’m Gay!” Blonsky stated in the video’s caption.
Four professional snowboarders have also recently come out.
In a June 25 profile story for the snowboarding magazine Torment, snowboarder Tanner Pendleton came out as gay.
“To be honest, it was a confusing road, and not everything is black and white, in my opinion,” Pendleton said. “I also think there’s a difference between knowing that you’re gay and accepting that you’re gay.”
Following Pendleton’s coming-out, the outlet profiled three additional snowboarders – Kennedi Deck, Chad Unger and Jill Perkins – each of whom came forward with declarations of their own queerness.
Deck describes her younger self as a “dirty tomboy preteen” and reflected on her struggles with self-acceptance that plagued her adolescence.
“I struggled a lot from then to 16, constantly trying to convince myself I wanted to wear dresses and kiss boys,” Deck said. “It didn’t work.”
While Unger never hid the truth of his sexuality, the obliviousness of his peers most likely kept his queerness from becoming widely known.
“Chad was openly out before, but it wasn’t well known, because few had dug deep enough to ask,” Spencer Schubert wrote in an introduction to a video interview conducted with Unger. “Maybe that’s because his snowboard friends hadn’t taken the time to see the world as he does, to take a step back from the banter and bullshit to observe.”
Perkins said that accepting her sexuality has been a process for her but also expressed that it’s important for LGBT individuals to feel comfortable in their own skin before disclosing the truth of who they are to others.
“I feel like I just recently started to accept myself and my feelings,” Perkins said. “I wasn’t necessarily fighting them; I just never fully embraced them. That being said, it took time for sure. But that’s important. Nobody should feel forced into situations or feel like they need to express themselves in ways they aren’t ready to.”
Other public figures who came out earlier this year include French ice dancer and Olympic silver medalist Guillaume Cizeron, “Moana” star Auli’i Cravalho, “Angel” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” star J. August Richards, YouTuber Rebecca Black and rapper Da Brat.
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