Entertainment Weekly issued six
covers featuring out celebrities for its annual Pride issue.
Melissa Etheridge, Anderson Cooper,
Janet Mock, Ruby Rose, Neil Patrick Harris, and Wilson Cruz each
grace their own magazine cover.
celebrity discussed their coming out journey.
“I personally came out when I was
leaving home when I was 18. I’m like, 'I’m gay!' And they were
like, 'We know!'” Melissa Etheridge said. “My mother didn’t
talk to me for a while, but that all came back. Then I entered
Hollywood, and the funny thing was, the only work I could get as a
musician was at gay bars. Every-place else, you pay to play. It was
crazy. I started working in lesbian bars, which was fun, but it was
hard to get people to come see me. And when they did, it was like,
'Yeah, I’m gay, and here I am playing.' I got turned down by every
record company. But finally, when Chris Blackwell signed me to Island
Records, he said, 'Okay, what are we gonna do about this gay thing?'
And I said, 'I don’t know. I’m not gonna be anyone I’m not.'
And he said, 'Well, as long as you don’t flag-wave.'”
Etheridge says Trump won't last long.)
“There was this funny 'don’t ask,
don’t tell.' Nobody in the press would ask in the ’80s, early
’90s. I kept thinking, 'All you gotta do is look up where I used to
play and you can figure it out.' And nobody asked. It wasn’t until
I did a lot of work for Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign
– I met so many incredible gay leaders and I went to the inaugural
ball, and we had the [LGBTQ] Triangle Ball, it was the most fun ball
of all, of course. And I just said, 'Oh, I’m gay.' There comes a
time when you just…you just do it,” she said.
Anderson Cooper, who came out publicly
in 2012, said that he came out to his friends in high school.
“I was in love with this guy and I
was so desperate, I just asked all my friends how I could get him,”
Cooper said. “And I sort of always felt like, I was out, I had
boyfriends, I’d go dancing, I’d go to bars and stuff. But
reporters didn’t really talk about their personal lives. And then,
with Twitter and the internet, suddenly you could access something
about anybody. And the expectation became 'You’re a public person,
you should be public.' And in the world of journalism, that was kind
of still…I don’t know. It was a difficult thing to navigate.”
Cooper was in Africa when his coming
out statement was published. “As soon as I got to Johannesburg, my
phone lit up. And I'd realized I'd forgotten to tell my mom. I was
making this announcement. I'd come out to her a long time ago, but
she was like, 'Oh, you could've given me a heads up!'”
Neil Patrick Harris said that he kept
his private life private because as an actor “you have to have the
opportunity to be seen as a bunch of different things without a
potential bias from someone else.”
“And so, I didn't deny anything at
all,” Harris said. “But then I was dating my now husband [David
Burtka] and I realized it was most disrespectful to him to go in the
car to an opening of a movie, and then I would go down the carpet and
he would go with our publicist, behind where the camera guys were,
and we’d meet up at the end. And it just felt disrespectful. All
that said, though, I don’t think that anyone should be told when
anything is supposed to happen.”
Ruby Rose, who stars in the upcoming CW
series Batwoman, said that she came out to her mom at 12.
“I actually got outed by one of those
[blind items in a magazine]. I was just like, 'What took you so
long?' Because I came out when I was 12 and my mom was like, 'Yeah. I
know,'” Rose said. “Some were worried about me coming out as gay
and suggested I try coming out as bisexual, and I was like, 'No! I
don’t know how to pretend to be bisexual. That’s weird!' I don’t
even know what that looks like because I’ve only ever been gay.
lesbian relationships will be normalized, says Ruby Rose.)
Janet Mock said that she came out
transgender at the age of 12.
“When I was 26 I decided to step
forward, and be open, and invite the world into knowing that I’m
trans. Having grown up in Hawaii, I came out at 12 years old and
transitioned through middle school and high school. And so, when I
went to college and grad school in New York City, I didn’t think
that it was something that I needed to go up and say, 'Hi, I’m
Janet. I’m trans.' I came there to be a writer, right? I wrote for
a number of years at your sister publication People. And I was
following certain stories like the murder of Larry King [the out teen
who was killed by a classmate in 2008]. I saw the suicide of Tyler
Clementi,” said Mock, who is currently working on the FX series
“We covered both those stories for
People. They were on the cover. And there was a part of me
that just felt like I had a different, affirming experience that I
hadn’t seen. And I was holding on to that. And the reason I wanted
to write was that I could tell the truth. In that sense, my career,
for me, really started when I stepped forward and told my own story.
As a young trans person of color, there had been no affirming images
for me. And so I was basically like, 'Bitch, I guess you gotta do
Wilson Cruz said that he came out to
his parents because he was preparing to come out publicly while
playing a gay teenager on ABC's My So-Called Life.
“I was 20 years old when I did My
So-Called Life, and I was playing the first gay teenager [series
regular] on primetime TV,” Cruz said. “And so it was not lost on
me, the responsibility that came with that. I literally came out to
my parents because of My So-Called Life, because I knew I was
gonna come out publicly and I was like, 'Well, I should probably tell
them first.' But it was a conscious choice. And it was a conscious
choice for people like you, [Janet,] because it was lonely out there.
And then, to be inspired by you in return is a full-circle moment for