Queer is a word that has been around for a very long time. It was first used as a word to mean ‘strange’ or ‘peculiar’ when describing innocuous things, but then it became a pejorative and a slur term for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
However, since those days the LGBTQ+ has been taking the word back and giving it a new meaning that defines it as a word for the LGBTQ+ community, turning the original LGBT to LGBTQ.
In the modern, many famous people have either come out as queer or have been queer for a long time, and this representation helps young people and indeed people of all ages come out on their own.
As a moniker, ‘queer’ now means someone who is not heterosexual or cisgendered and though some people may not liken the term as one of endearment, the LGBTQ+ community has embraced it wholeheartedly.
In this article, we are going to look at a few queer celebrities that those needing inspiration can look up to.
1. Elliot Page
We have to start with someone who took a momentous step and became the person they wanted to be all along.
Elliot Page was known for his roles most famously in ‘Juno’, ‘Inception’ and ‘Hard Candy’, all the while presenting as the gender he did not want to be.
In December 2020, he came out as transgender with a public proclamation before doing an interview about it in time magazine.
He was also the first openly trans man to be featured on the cover of Time magazine, which gave hope of recognition to thousands of young queer people.
2. Cara Delevingne
The British model who made a successful move to film, Delevingne is not afraid of the limelight and not afraid to be who she wants to be.
She has had many high profile relationships with women, but refuses to be labelled as gay. Instead, she prefers to be known as pansexual – attraction to all sexes and genders of humanity.
In 2018, she also came out as gender-fluid – a term meaning defining genders outside the normal gender binary of male and female – however, she still prefers the pronouns of she/her.
3. Tim Cook
One that may shock people is Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple. That’s right, the Tim Cook considers himself gay, as he revealed in an editorial for the Bloomberg Business magazine.
The interesting thing is that many people knew Cook was gay for many, many years, including a lot of people at Apple.
The reason it never came about to be public knowledge is that Cook wanted to focus on Apple’s products and their customer base, as he saw his personal life as separate from it.
He even timed his coming out to the public at large to ensure it wouldn’t interfere with business interests.
4. Amandla Stenberg
The young actress has been on a tear in the past few years with the amount of films and TV shows that she has starred in.
Although her breakout role as Rue in ‘The Hunger Games’ wasn’t her first role, it was certainly the one she is most known for and since then she has starred in many hits like ‘Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Everything, Everything’.
Stenberg is also well known for her constant activism for LGBTQ+ rights and has previously come out as pansexual, before understanding that she is gay.
Stenberg has also come out as non-binary in the past and uses the pronouns of she/her and they/them.
5. Lil Nas X
Everyone has a difficult road to go down when coming out, but when your community has a streak of discrimination against the queer community, then it can be very difficult.
This is something that Lil Nas X experienced in 2019 when he came out as gay on the last day of Pride month with a tweet.
Being a rapper of the Hip-Hop scene, this came as a shock to a lot of people. However, while he believed he may lose a lot of fans, many people were incredibly positive about it.
There was a small group who sent some deeply homophobic tweets to Lil Nas like Pastor Troy about his outfit, but Nas simply responded with: ‘Damn, I look good in that pic.’
6. Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae’s career has buttoned up over a number of different coats: rapper, singer, songwriter, sci-fi author, and actress. But she also has become a part of the queer community by being pansexual and non-binary.
Responding to a question about her gender, she said: ‘Am I a boy or a girl? I’m an experience.’
7. Elton John
We can’t include a list on the queer community without talking about Mr Elton Hercules John. He has been a man who has been outspoken about his views for a very long time, especially about his sexuality.
Although his friends and close associates knew he was queer in 1970 – 3 years after it had been decriminalized –, he came out publicly in 1976 in a Rolling Stone interview as bisexual and then again as gay in 1992.
8. Jameela Jamil
Known for her roles in ‘The Good Place’ and – in the UK – as the first solo female radio host on BBC Radio 1, Jameela Jamil has had quite a few career changes.
She came out as queer after she began presenting the LGBTQ+ reality competition TV show ‘Legendary’ that focuses on voguing in 2020, when her appointment to judge the show was seen as controversial.
9. Sam Smith
A real trailblazer for the LGBTQ+ is Sam Smith, as he was one of the first celebrities to come out as non-binary.
He announced he would prefer if people used the pronouns ‘they/them’, instead of ‘he/him’ in 2019. In the post, he stated that he understands there will be mistakes, but to ‘please, please try.’
10. Sarah Paulson
Sarah Paulson is an icon of the horror genre, starring in most of the American Horror Story franchise and box office hits like ’12 years a slave’ and ‘Serenity’.
She is an absolute treasure of American media, and she is a confirmed queer icon. Although she refuses to directly address her sexuality, she refers to it as a fluid situation and is currently dating Holland Taylor, another TV and movie icon.
11. Andrew Scott
Andrew Scott has been known to British audiences since his role in Sherlock as Moriarty, but really took the world by storm when he took on the role of the ‘hot priest’ from Fleabag, the British comedy series.
He has been out for a while, but hates the media’s constant attention to being ‘openly gay’ thinking the term is ridiculous, because it is just who he is.
12. Wanda Sykes
Beloved comedian and actress, Wanda Sykes has been in many movies and TV shows where she has the audience in stitches. However, her journey to live her most authentic life as a gay woman only happened in her late 30s and early 40s.
She admits it was a difficult process, especially coming out to her conservative parents, but she preserved and is now happily married to Alex Niedbalski, a woman.
13. Victor Garber
Probably most famous for his roles in ‘Titanic’, ‘Argo’, and ‘Deception’, Victor Garber is well known throughout Hollywood for his tireless work ethic and his deeply private personal life.
When it was announced that he was marrying his long-term partner of 20 plus years, Rainer Andreessen, he merely mentioned how he doesn’t ‘really talk about it, but everyone knows’, and that he never really hid his sexuality in the first place.
14. Jodie Foster
Another Hollywood powerhouse, Jodie Foster has been in some of the best movies of all time, including ‘Silence of the Lambs’, ‘Taxi Driver’, and ‘The Accused’.
Since the early days, she has also appeared in TV shows and has even made the transition to director as well. In 2013, she came out in a speech at the Golden Globes, before her partner Alexandra Hedison a year later.
15. Ben Whishaw
Finally, we have the wonderful actor who plays ‘Q’ in the James Bond franchise, though he is also roundly known for his performance in ‘Perfume’ as Jean-Baptiste and his performance in ‘I’m not there’ as Arthur Rimbaud.
For many years, the actor refused to answer questions on his sexuality – rightly so, it is personal – but eventually came out for the reason he felt like it was having a negative impact on his career.
He eventually came out in 2014 with some trepidation, but has since said everyone was lovely about it, much to his shock and happiness.
Thanks to a lot of queer celebrities in the world today, many people have come to accept themselves for who they are, while others are more than happy to accept other people that are not part of the cisgender norm.
It may seem like a small thing to people who have not had to do it, but coming out is a terrifying and sometimes dangerous affair that could kill someone’s career or social life.
By putting themselves in the firing line, these people have given other’s confidence.