Fresh Wave of Celebrities, Athletes Coming Out in 2021

The WNBA's Layshia Clarendon is one of many stars chronicling their coming out journey.
Twitter/ Layshia Clarendon

More stars are coming out about their sexual orientation and gender identity in 2021.

From former WWE Superstar Gabbi Alon Tuft to the WNBA’s Layshia Clarendon, this year has seen a wave of celebrities openly expressing their queerness and transness — and many of the stars hope their visibility can translate into better representation for the LGBTQ community.

Tuft came out as a transgender woman in an Instagram post on February 4. The 42-year-old penned a heartfelt message about her journey alongside a photo in a red, spaghetti strap tank top with ripped denim jeans.

“The ball dropped early today as this is now worldwide news,” Tuft wrote. “This is me. Unashamed, unabashedly me. This is the side of me that has hidden in the shadows, afraid and fearful of what the world would think; afraid of what my family, friends, and followers would say or do.”

In the post, she credits her wife and family for helping her through her transition, especially the first couple of months, which she described as the hardest.

“The previous eight months have been some of the darkest of my entire life,” Tuft wrote. “The emotional turmoil of being transgender and having to face the world has almost ended me on multiple occasions.”

Meanwhile, Clarendon, a WNBA player for the New York Liberty basketball team, revealed their top surgery results in a Twitter post on January 29. Clarendon is trans and non-binary and uses all pronouns. While they have been out as a non-cisgender person for years, this is the first time they have shared their medical transition photos.

In an Instagram post, they expanded on the surgery and how it renewed their joy.

“On Jan 13th at 10 a.m., I hugged my wife in front of my surgery building, walked in, and took a deep breath…The day was finally here,” Clarendon said. “The day I got to have Top Surgery!!!!!!!”

“It’s hard to put into words the feeling of seeing my chest for the first time free of breasts, seeing my chest the way I’ve always seen it, and feeling a sense of gender euphoria as opposed to gender ⁣dysphoria. Sighhhh…freedom… freedom at last,” Clarendon added.

Relatedly, country star T.J. Osborne came out as gay during an interview with Time magazine published on February 3. The 36-year-old musician said that his sexual orientation is known among his friends, family, and within his small Nashville, Tennessee community, but the world was still in the dark.

“I’m very comfortable being gay,” Osborne told Time magazine. “I find myself being guarded for not wanting to talk about something that I personally don’t have a problem with. That feels so strange.”

The star feared telling others could appear disingenuous. Plus, few openly queer country singers make it big.

“People will ask, ‘Why does this even need to be talked about?’ And personally, I agree with that,” he told Time. “But for me to show up at an awards show with a man would be jaw-dropping to people. It wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh, cool!’”

Osborne hopes being open about his identity can pave the way for other queer musicians. Most importantly, the country singer wants the love stories detailed in his songs to reflect his real life.

Among others, Nats Getty, the long-time partner of trans YouTube star Gigi Gorgeous, came out as transgender and non-binary in January, while another YouTube personality, JoJo Siwa, also came out to her fans earlier this year.

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