In one of his last interviews before leaving Congress, Rep. Barney Frank gave a preview of the kind of no-holds-barred pundit he will be as he moves on to write books and become a TV commentator. The retiring 16-term openly gay Massachusetts Democrat called for the legalization of prostitution, cheered Washington State and Colorado for legalizing marijuana, labeled Justice Antonin Scalia “an unreconstructed bigot,” criticized those who took Prop 8 to the Supreme Court, defended the free speech of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, and heralded the arrival of Congress’s first “gaysian” -- the election of Mark Takano, an openly gay Asian-American from California to the House. (Listen to the full interview below)

Reflecting on his career, Frank recalled when he first came out publicly as gay in the House in 1987, though the media today often erroneously reports that he came out or was outed two years later in a sex scandal. It was after seeing the AIDS death of married, closeted bisexual Connecticut Republican Congressman Stewart McKinney that Frank decided it was important to move on from being privately open to friends and family to being publicly out.

“He was a wonderful congressman,” Frank said of McKinney. “A genuinely liberal Republican congressman. He could not have existed as a Republican today and be welcome in the party given his views. He died of AIDS and there was a major debate: Was he gay? Was he not gay? How did he contract AIDS? That was early ‘87. Now, I had been thinking of coming out for some time [as a state legislator in Massachusetts]. And I was going to go public with it. And then, the Pope intervened -- mainly by ordering my predecessor, [Congressman] Father Robert Drinan, not to run for re-election. And I knew I had a chance to run for Congress.”

"I simply would not have won in 1980 if I was out,” he continued. “The fact would have destroyed my chances. I didn’t deny it but just did not volunteer it. I came to Washington and it was just not satisfactory. I told myself, ‘I’m going to be a gay man privately and publicly I’m not going to say anything.’ And what I learned is that, particularly in a prominent position, you can’t live half gay and half closeted. So I decided to come out, and I was wrestling with when to do it, and the Stewart McKinney funeral drove me over the top.”

At the time, colleagues thought he should have stayed closeted.

“When I did come out in ’87,” he recalled, “many of my straight friends, my group of colleagues who supported me, said, ‘Oh, why do you have to tell anybody?”

But Frank realized it was important to be out, particularly two years later, when a male prostitute that Frank had befriended and who was living with him, tried to use Frank’s personal life to blackmail him, going public about their relationship and claiming he was running a prostitution ring from Franks home.

“Two and half years [after coming out], a hustler I was involved with tried to extort me,” he says bluntly.

Frank asked the House to investigate the claims of Steven Gobie, the male prostitute The investigation found that Frank had no knowledge of any illegal activity on the part of Gobie, and Frank was reprimanded mostly for fixing Gobie’s parking tickets. Frank did acknowledge he had paid Gobie for sex early on, before they became friends.

“I always have thought prostitution should be legal,” he said. “I know people said, ‘Oh it victimizes women.’ And the women are vulnerable. We’ve seen this recently where the women are prosecuted when the customers, the men customers, have gotten away with it. But I think in the first place it’s a matter of personal choice. I’m for legalizing marijuana. I’m for legalizing gambling. I don’t think the government should be trying to make you a better person. But beyond that, the practical effect, the women, who are predominantly the prostitutes, they’re worse off when it’s illegal, because they’re outside protection of the law. They’re more subject to violence and subject to abuse because they can’t go to the law for protection.”

Though he was was reprimanded in the House in the Gobie affair, there was a failed attempt to go further censure him, a move that he says was driven by attitudes about his gay.

“Newt Gingrich, that exemplar, was the one who led the [failed censure] vote,” Frank recalled. Also supporting censure was Larry Craig, then a House member, who in 2007, as a senator from Idaho, was arrested for trying to have sex with an undercover cop in an airport men’s room.

“Hypocrisy,” Frank says in regard to Craig, underscoring that he continues to to support the outing of politicians who vote antigay while living a closeted life.

“Yes, I believe the policy should be that people have a right to privacy but not to hypocrisy.” he said. He noted that he’d once written a letter to Ken Mehlman, the former Bush campaign chief and chair of the Republican National Committee, who came out as gay in 2010.

I had written to him [before he came out],” Frank says. “I wrote him a letter. It was a little snarky. He knew what I was getting at. I think it would have been a very good thing if this man would have been exposed.”

Frank is an adamant defender of free speech, and was one of only three House members to vote against barring the horrendously antigay Westboro Baptist Church from protesting at military funerals.

“It was me and Ron Paul and one other member,” he said of the vote in the House to defend the free speech rights of the church members who’ve threatened in recent days to protest at the funerals of the victims of the Newtown school shooting. “The test of free speech to me is whether you support the right of people to say vicious things you strongly disagree with.”

On the votes this past November in Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana, Frank, who has sponsored several bills supporting medical marijuana use and also removing federal criminal penalties for marijuana use, said, “I was very happy to see that.”

“On the question of whether or not you should send someone to prison for possessing marijuana, the public is ahead of the politicians,” he continued. “President Obama said he is not going to prosecute people in those states.”

Regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the Prop 8 case, Frank is less jazzed.

“I was critical of the decision to take Prop 8 to court,” he said. “I don’t the think the five-member Supreme Court majority that we have is ready to declare that there is a constitutional right to marry everywhere. To bring a lawsuit when you’re not likely to win it, prematurely, is a mistake. So I was very critical of those people in California who were doing that. When the Supreme Court decides the Prop 8 case, what I believe is likely to happen is that they will accept the decision by of the circuit court in the west coast [ the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which had narrowed the decision to apply only to California]. It’s people being rescued from themselves. Some of them are still trying to push the broader case, which I think is a mistake.”

On Justice Scalia and his latest anti-gay outburst, Frank is actually happy to see the Scalia being honest.

“I was glad that he made clear what’s been obvious, that he’s just a flat out bigot,” Frank said. “I’d previously said he was a homophobe. And Fox and the rightwing said, ‘Oh just because he’s not for same-sex marriage? And I said, ‘No, let me be very clear. That’s not it. This is a man who has said you should go to prison for having sex.’ It was an extraordinarily abusive sentiment and it was dead wrong. And, by the way, for a guy who is supposed to be so smart -- quite stupid.This young man said to him, ‘Why do you compare sodomy to murder?’ And he said, ‘Well because I have a right to say if I think something is immoral.’ Well the question wasn’t about his right. The question was, By what morality is expressing your love for someone in a physical way equivalent to killing that person? It makes it clear that the man is an unreconstructed bigot, and given that you have a bigot on the Supreme Court like that, it is useful to know.”

Upon retiring in a matter of days, Frank is confident about his LGBT colleagues in Congress taking up the baton.

“We’re now in the majority position in Congress and people know that,” he said. “Tammy [Baldwin] in the Senate will be doing great work. [Openly gay Colorado congressman] Jared Polis is very well-respected and is now joined my Mark Pocan [of Wisconsin] and Kyrsten Sinema [of Arizona] and Mark Takano [of California]. One of the Asian-American straight members of Congress came to me the other day and said, ‘Good for us! We have a “gaysian.’” Mark Takano is a gay Asian.”

He’s also optimistic about the future of LGBT rights, and transgender rights in particular.

“The next time we have a Democratic House, president and Senate,if DOMA hasn’t been found unconstitutional -- which, I still believe it will be -- then it will be repealed,” Frank stated. “And you’ll be able to get a transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The transgender issue -- it’s interesting to see how time speeds up. In 1972, I filed the first gay rights bill in Massachusetts history [as a state legislator] and I remember at the time encountering this sense almost of disgust and discomfort from my colleagues. They didn’t want to think about it. And over time we eroded that. Now, the transgender issue is a new issue in the sense of being raised. When we were first dealing with it even five or six years ago, we ran into this same discomfort, unease, etc. We’ve made much quicker progress there. The time on this has sped up. So I believe we are now at the point, which we weren’t at even a few years ago, where we’re we’ll be able to get the transgender legislation.”

And though no one could possibly say Barney Frank wasn’t taken seriously as a member of Congress, Frank says he’s going to be an even more of potent force as a pundit and commentator.

“I think I’ll have more credibility,” he observed. “There’s a great cynicism of politicians today -- unduly and excessive in my judgement -- so when I say what I think now, people say, ‘Oh, you’re just trying to curry favor.’ Well, they won’t be able to say that anymore.”

Listen to the full interview here:

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  • Jim Parsons, 2012

    <em>New York Times </em>scribe Patrick Healy confirmed "The Big Bang Theory" star's sexuality<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/theater/jim-parsons-prepares-for-his-lead-role-in-harvey.html?_r=1" target="_hplink"> as part of a profile</a>. The revelation came late in the article, when Healy describes the 39-year-old actor's role in the 2011 revival of Larry Kramer's HIV/AIDS crisis drama, "The Normal Heart." Wrote Healy: '"The Normal Heart" resonated with him on a few levels: Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again onstage was like nourishment, he said." Though the <em>Times </em>didn't identify Parsons' partner, he has been romantically liked with art director Todd Spiewak (pictured).

  • Gillian Anderson, 2012

    The "X-Files" actress <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/13/gillian-anderson-lesbian-relationships-out-magazine_n_1342801.html" target="_hplink">revealed she's had numerous relationships</a> with women in a 2012 interview with <em>Out</em> magazine. The 43-year-old mother of three, who's long enjoyed a sizable lesbian fanbase, told <em>Out</em> that she first had a relationship with a woman while still in high school, after moving from her native England to suburban Michigan. "If I had thought I was 100 percent gay, would it have been a different experience for me?" Anderson, who was voted "Most Bizarre" and "Most Likely to Be Arrested" in high school, ponders. "Would it have been a bigger deal if shame had been attached to it and all those things that become huge life-altering issues for youngsters in that situation? It's possible that my attitude around it came, on some level, from knowing that I still liked boys."

  • Neil Patrick Harris, 2006

    The "Doogie Howser, MD" and "How I Met Your Mother Star" came out on the cover of <em>People</em> magazine in November of 2006. <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1554852,00.html" target="_hplink">Harris told the magazine</a>: <blockquote>"The public eye has always been kind to me, and until recently I have been able to live a pretty normal life. Now it seems there is speculation and interest in my private life and relationships. So, rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love." </blockquote>

  • Anderson Cooper, 2012

    Anderson Cooper's sexuality had been <a href="http://www.out.com/entertainment/2008/09/22/glass-closet">scrutinized for years</a> but it wasn't until July 2012 that he finally addressed the issue when he <a href="http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/07/anderson-cooper-the-fact-is-im-gay.html">came out in an email </a> to his friend and fellow journalist, Andrew Sullivan, this summer. In Cooper's message, which was posted on Sullivan's blog, "The Dish," on <em>The Daily Beast</em>, the CNN anchor states, "The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."

  • Matt Bomer, 2012

    The 34-year-old "White Collar" hunk <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/matt-bomer-comes-out-gay-thanks-partner_n_1272997.html" target="_hplink">thanked his partner</a> Simon Halls and his three children during Saturday's Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, where he received the New Generation Arts and Activism Award for his work in the fight against HIV/AIDS. "I'd really especially like to thank my beautiful family: Simon, Kit, Walker, Henry," he told the crowd. "Thank you for teaching me what unconditional love is. You will always be my proudest accomplishment."

  • Kelly McGillis, 2009

    Kelly McGillis, known as who starred opposite Tom Cruise in "Top Gun," <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1175410/Im-lesbian-declares-Top-Gun-siren-Kelly-McGillis.html">revealed she's gay</a> on lesbian website SheWired.com. McGillis, who was married twice to men and has two daughters, said, "It's a part of being true to yourself. That's been a challenge for me personally."

  • Anne Burrell, 2012

    "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef" host Anne Burrell confirmed she's a lesbian and in a committed relationship with a woman, just days after "Chopped" host Ted Allen made a reference to her sexuality in a radio interview. "Anne doesn't feel she was outed," Burrell's rep told Page Six. "She has made no secret of her relationship." The rep went on to note, "Her significant other is a very private woman. They have been together for a couple of years and spend a lot of time together."

  • Jonathan Knight, 2011

    The New Kids On The Block singer was out-ed by fellow '80s teen pop star Tiffany in January 2011 when she revealed she dated Knight before "he became gay later." In response, Knight posted a message on his website <a href="http://www.towleroad.com/2011/01/jonathan-knight.html#ixzz1azmexp8H" target="_hplink">stating in part</a>: <blockquote>"I have never been outed by anyone but myself! I did so almost twenty years ago. I never know that I would have to do it all over again publicly just because I reunited with NKOTB! I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay!"</blockquote>

  • Ellen DeGeneres, 1997

    DeGeneres came out in 1997, both in real life and on TV, on her sitcom "Ellen." "The Puppy Episode," which aired in April 1997, <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/column/2005/4/backintheday.html" target="_hplink">featured a who's who</a> of Hollywood, including Oprah Winfrey, Demi Moore, Billy Bob Thornton, and Laura Dern as Ellen's love interest. DeGeneres's character became the first openly gay prime time lead character on television.

  • Zachary Quinto, 2011

    Long rumored to be gay, the actor, most famous for his roles on "Heroes" and in the recent "Star Trek" film, came out in a October 2011 <em>New York</em> magazine profile, saying: <blockquote>"In light of Jamey's [Rodemeyer] death -- it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it -- is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality. Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country."</blockquote>

  • Elton John, 1976

    In <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/elton-john-lonely-at-the-top-rolling-stones-1976-cover-story-20110202" target="_hplink">an interview</a> with <em>Rolling Stone</em> in October 1976, the rock star came out by saying, "There's nothing wrong with going to bed with somebody of your own sex. I think everybody's bisexual to a certain degree. I don't think it's just me. It's not a bad thing to be. I think you're bisexual. I think everybody is."

  • Clay Aiken, 2008

    After becoming a father in August of 2008, the "American Idol" runner up <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20228488,00.html" target="_hplink">came out on the cover</a> of <em>People</em> magazine in September 2008 saying, "[Coming out] was the first decision I made as a father... I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that."

  • Wanda Sykes, 2008

    The comedian and actress came out in November 2008 <a href="http://thestrippodcast.blogspot.com/2008/11/wanda-sykes-lv-gay-rally-im-proud-to-be.html" target="_hplink">while speaking at an anti-Prop 8 rally</a> in Las Vegas. Sykes said in part: <blockquote>"I got married Oct. 25, I don't really talk about my sexual orientation, I felt like I was living my life, I wasn't in the closet, but I was just living my life. Everybody who knows me personally, they know I'm gay. And that's the way people should be able to live our lives, really. We shouldn't have to be standing out here demanding something we automatically should have as citizens of this country."</blockquote>

  • Ricky Martin, March 2010

    In March 2009 pop star Ricky Martin <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/29/ricky-martin-comes-out-im_n_517625.html" target="_hplink">posted a message on his website</a> telling the world, "I am a fortunate homosexual man."

  • Laura Jane Grace, 2012

    Against Me! singer, Tom Gabel, made headlines and shook the music world in May with his announcement that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/tom-gabel-transgender-against-me_n_1501731.html">he is transgender and will be living as Laura Jane Grace</a>. The punk rocker, who shared her story in <em>Rolling Stone</em>, said "For me, the most terrifying thing about this was how she [my wife, Heather] would accept the news. But she's been super-amazing and understanding." The couple has a 2-year-old daughter.

  • Chely Wright, 2010

    Country singer Chely Wright <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20365936,00.html" target="_hplink">came out in May 2010</a>. She told <em>People</em> magazine, "There had never, ever been a country music artist who had acknowledged his or her homosexuality... I wasn't going to be the first." But she changed her mind and said of her decision, "Nothing in my life has been more magical than the moment I decided to come out."

  • George Michael, 1998

    After being caught performing a "lewd act" in a public restroom, Michael came out to CNN in April 1998. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/9804/11/george.michael/" target="_hplink">Michael said</a>, "This is as good of a time as any... I want to say that I have no problem with people knowing that I'm in a relationship with a man right now. I have not been in a relationship with a woman for almost 10 years." Later that year Michael spoofed the incident in the music video for his single "Outside."

  • Don Lemon, 2011

    The CNN news anchor came out to the <em>New York Times</em> in May 2011. Lemon <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/16/business/media/16anchor.html?_r=3" target="_hplink">told the paper</a>, "It's quite different for an African-American male... It's about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You're taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away."

  • Adam Lambert, 2009

    The singer's sexuality was always a topic of discussion for viewers when he was performing on "American Idol," but Lambert didn't come out until after the competition had wrapped. In a June 2009 <em>Rolling Stone</em> cover story, Lambert said, "Right after the finale [of "AI"], I almost started talking about it to the reporters, but I thought, 'I'm going to wait for <em>Rolling Stone</em>, that will be cooler,'.. I didn't want the Clay Aiken thing and the celebrity-magazine bullshit. I need to be able to explain myself in context."

  • Chaz Bono, 2009

    Chaz Bono revealed his plan to transition in May 2009. TMZ.com broke the story <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2009/06/11/chastity-bono-becoming-a-man/#.TptSZ2VPkqU" target="_hplink">via a prepared statement</a> from Bono's publicist that read, in part: <blockquote>"Yes, it's true -- Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity... He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones. It is Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his 'coming out' did nearly 20 years ago."</blockquote>

  • Chris Colfer, 2009

    The "Glee" actor came out on the "Chelsea Lately Show" in December 2009: Chelsea Handler: "Your character on the show's gay. We know that you're gay. That's good for you. Congratulations. Don't be shy about that. Seriously. You shouldn't be shy about that because every time...an actor like you is helping a zillion other people that are scared to talk about their sexuality so good for you." Chris Colfer: "Thank you. You know what my answer to that question was prior to coming out -- was that I was straight as every other actor in Hollywood."

  • Meredith Baxter, 2009

    In December 2009 Baxter, most famous for playing Elyse Keaton on '80s sitcom "Family Ties," went on the "Today Show" and told Matt Lauer that she was a lesbian. Baxter said, "Some people would say, well, you're living a lie and, you know, the truth is -- not at all. This has only been for the past seven years."

  • Orlando Cruz, 2012

    History was made in October when active professional featherweight boxer <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/orlando-cruz-comes-out-gay_n_1939204.html">Orlando Cruz of Puerto Rico came out</a>. He said in a USA Today article, "I've been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself. I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career." He continued, "I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man."

  • Lance Bass, 2006

    The 'N Sync pop star came out on the cover of <em>People</em> magazine in July 2006. When asked why he decided to come out then, <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1219142,00.html" target="_hplink">Bass said</a>, "The main reason I wanted to speak my mind was that (the rumors) really were starting to affect my daily life. Now it feels like it's on my terms. I'm at peace with my family, my friends, myself and God so there's really nothing else that I worry about."

  • Heather Matarazzo, 2004

    The actress, perhaps best known for her role as tormented teen Dawn Wiener in the film "Welcome To The Dollhouse," <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/archive/ellen/People/82004/heathermatarazzo.html" target="_hplink">came out in August 2004</a> by telling the <em>NY Daily News</em> about falling in love with Caroline Murphy: <blockquote>"I met the person I'm so madly crazy in love with...She's not famous yet. She will be. She wants to do musical theater and stage, which is not as demoralizing as the movie business is."</blockquote>

  • Melissa Etheridge, 1993

    The rock star came out in January 1993 during the Triangle ball, the first ever ball thrown for the LGBT community during a president's inauguration, in this case Clinton's. <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/archive/ellen/column/2005/2/backintheday.html" target="_hplink">Etheridge recalls</a>: <blockquote>"I didn't even think, Oh, I'm going to come out here...It was, 'Gee, I'm really excited to be here, and I'm really proud to have been a lesbian all my life.' And a big cheer went up through the whole hall, and k.d. [lang] came out and hugged me. I remember walking back, and my friend said, 'I think you came out!'"</blockquote>

  • Darren Hayes, 2006

    The former Savage Garden front man came out by marrying Richard Cullen in June 2006. He announced the civil union on his website <a href="http://chartrigger.blogspot.com/2006/07/darren-hayes-comes-out.html" target="_hplink">saying in part</a>: "As so many of you have given me your heart and soul over the past 10 years I thought it only fitting that I too return the respect and inform you of the most significant event in my life... On June 19th 2006 I married my boyfriend of two years, Richard, in a Civil Partnership ceremony in London."

  • Lady Sovereign, 2010

    In May 2010 the British rapper came out in <em>Diva</em> magazine. <a href="http://perezhilton.com/2010-05-12-lady-sov-comes-out#.Tpt-2WVPkqU" target="_hplink">Sovereign said</a>: <blockquote>"Magazines would always ask about it but [questions about my sexuality] would get stopped by my publicists. It was my choice, too, because I was a bit worried about it but now I don't really give a shit. You can't hide away forever. It's just stupid and now I've come out I feel a lot more comfortable with myself. But it was a bit scary back then because some people do have horrible opinions."</blockquote>

  • Sam Champion, 2012

    ABC's "Good Morning America" weatherman, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/fashion/weddings/patrick-abner-and-thomas-roberts-vows.html?pagewanted=3&_r=1&ref=weddings">Sam Champion,</a>, not only came out of the closet in October 2012, he also announced his engagement to longtime boyfriend, Rubem Robierb, at the same time. <em>The New York Times</em> subtly mentioned the news in an article about MSNBC personality <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/01/thomas-roberts-married-msnbc-host-weds-longtime-boyfriend_n_1928841.html">Thomas Roberts' recent wedding</a>, where Champion and Robierb were guests. After his revelation, Champion, 51, discussed about his plans on "GMA" and thanked everyone for their support (see video clip).

  • Rosie O'Donnell, 2002

    The comedian and talk show host <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/2002/2002-02-27-rosie.htm" target="_hplink">came out by revealing</a> "I'm a dyke!" during her stand up act at the Ovarian Cancer Research benefit at Carolines Comedy Club in February 2002.

  • Portia de Rossi, 2005

    The actress had been out to friends for quite some time, but she told the entire world in the fall of 2005 in interviews with <em>Details</em> magazine and <em>The Advocate</em>. "I've had my years of being not open, many years of it... It's an honor for me to do this; it's just nice to be asked," de Rossi said in her September 2005 <em>Advocate</em> <a href="http://crispie764.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=Urgent&action=display&thread=35" target="_hplink">cover story</a>, her first with the gay press.

  • Sean Hayes, 2010

    Long dogged by rumors about his sexuality, the "Will and Grace" actor <a href="http://www.advocate.com/Arts_and_Entertainment/People/Sean_Hayes_I_Am_Who_I_Am/" target="_hplink">finally came out</a> in <em>The Advocate</em> in April 2010: "I am who I am. I was never in, as they say. Never," he said.

  • Cynthia Nixon, 2004

    The "Sex And The City" star was out-ed in 2004 when the <em>NY Daily News</em> and the <em>New York Post</em> <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/People/92004/cynthianixon.html" target="_hplink">reported she was living</a> with another woman in September 2004. Nixon half-heartedly confirmed the rumors when she told the <em>Daily News</em>, "My private life is private... But at the same time, I have nothing to hide. So what I will say is that I am very happy."

  • Frank Ocean, 2012

    No mainstream black male hip-hop artist had ever come out until <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/07/arts/music/frank-ocean-draws-praise-for-declaring-his-homosexuality.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0">Frank Ocean did in July 2012</a>, just before he debuted his first solo album, "Channel Orange." The singer-songwriter posted a Tumblr post which read, in part, "4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide.” After that, Ocean received support from fellow hip-hop artists Jay-Z (and wife, Beyoncé), 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and more. Daryl Hannah, director of media and community partnerships for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said, "[The support for Frank is] an extension of the overall kind of support we’re seeing across the country for LGBT people, and not just in a broad sense, but specifically from iconic members of the black community.”

  • Suze Orman, 2007

    Financial guru Suze Orman came out in a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/25/magazine/25wwlnq4.t.html">2007 <em>New York Times Magazine</em> article</a>. The 61-year-old Chicago native was asked if she was married in the interview, which prompted her to officially come out and set the record straight (so to speak).

  • Sean Maher, 2011

    Sean Maher, known for his roles on "Firefly" and "Playboy Club," confirmed his sexuality in an <a href="http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/09/26/firefly-playboy-club-actor-sean-maher-comes-out-ga/"><em>Entertainment Weekly</em> interview</a>, saying, "This is my coming out ball. I’ve been dying to do this.”

  • Amber Heard, 2010

    "I personally think that if you deny something or if you hide something you're inadvertently admitting it's wrong. I don't feel like I'm wrong," said actress Amber Heard, 26, who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/06/amber-heard-lesbian_n_792419.html">came out while attending GLAAD's 25th anniversary party</a>. Heard has starred in movies like as "Pineapple Express" and "Zombieland."

  • Nathan Lane, 1999

    The hilarious Nathan Lane, who's well known for starring in films like "The Birdcage," officially came out in an <a href="http://www.eonline.com/news/37588/nathan-lane-comes-out-finally">interview with <em>The Advocate</em></a> in 1999. In the issue, the 56-year-old Emmy- and Tony-winner said, "It's never been something I kept a secret." But Matthew Shepard's murder led the actor to publicly coming out. "It was like somebody slapped me awake," Lane said. "At this point it's selfish not to do whatever you can."

  • Lana Wachowski, 2012

    Award-winning filmmaker <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0905154/">Lana Wachowski</a>, who's best known for co-writing and -directing the "Matrix" trilogy with her brother, Andy Wachowski, is the first major Hollywood director to come out as transgender in July 2012. The Chicago native recently released "Cloud Atlas" and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/lana-wachowski-transgender-cloud-atlas-director-reveals-pain-suicide-attempt_n_2009112.html">received the Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Award</a> in October 2012, where she delivered a revealing and heartfelt speech (VIDEO).

  • Sara Gilbert, 2010

    Sara Gilbert, who's best known for her role on "Roseanne," <a href="http://popwatch.ew.com/2010/07/28/sara-gilbert-lesbian-the-tal/">officially came out in 2010</a>. At that time, she was getting ready to launch "The Talk," a daytime talk show which focuses on parenthood and families, so Gilbert felt compelled to acknowledge her sexuality. “I don’t ever really think of things as out or in,” Gilbert said. “I just think I am who I am, and when topics come up that are appropriate, I’ll talk about them and share when it seems right.”

  • George Takei, 2005

    The beloved George Takei, known as Sulu on "Star Trek," <a href="http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/9845944/ns/today-entertainment/t/george-takei-mr-sulu-says-hes-gay/#.UHWbJ0JAsu8">came out</a> in a 2005 article in Frontiers, a biweekly LGBT Los Angeles magazine. Takei, 75, cited the political landscape surrounding LGBT issues as one reason for coming out. Since then, Takei has been an outspoken (and humorous) advocate for LGBT rights.

  • David Hyde Pierce, 2007

    "Frasier" actor David Hyde Pierce kept a low profile and <a href="http://www.afterelton.com/blog/brianjuergens/exclusive-david-hyde-pierce-is-officially-out">subtly came out</a> in an article on <em>CNN</em> where he mentioned his longtime partner, TV writer and producer Brian Hargrove. Later, while on "The View", Pierce spoke about Hargrove and his sexuality and said,"What you choose to talk about yourself is a personal decision."

  • T.R. Knight, 2007

    <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20008737,00.html">T.R. Knight's coming out</a> wasn't necessarily ideal. The actor, who played George O'Malley on ABC's <em>Grey's Anatomy</em>, was called a "faggot" by co-star Isaiah Washington, prompting Knight to stand up for himself and others. He told Ellen DeGeneres, "I've never been called that to my face. So I think when that happened, something shifted, and it became bigger than myself."

  • Mika, 2012

    The flamboyant singer-songwriter played coy about his sexuality for many years before finally coming out as gay in the September 2012 issue of Instinct magazine. Mika <a href="http://instinctmagazine.com/blogs/blog/exclusive-sneak-peek-mika-tells-instinct-%E2%80%9Cyeah-i%E2%80%99m-gay-%E2%80%9D?directory=100011">told the magazine</a>: <blockquote>"If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah... Are these songs about my relationship with a man? I say yeah. And it’s only through my music that I’ve found the strength to come to terms with my sexuality beyond the context of just my lyrics. This is my real life."</blockquote>

  • Kristy McNichol, 2012

    People magazine reported In January 2012 that Kristy McNichol, who was beloved for playing Buddy Lawrence in the '70s show "Family," for which she won an Emmy, and later Barbara Weston on the "Golden Girls" spin-off "Empty Nest," revealed she is a lesbian because she is "approaching 50" and wants to "be open about who I am." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/07/kristy-mcnichol-comes-out-as-lesbian_n_1191204.html">McNichol</a> also cited the wave of antigay bullying stories for coming out, hoping to help bullied LGBT youth who need support.

  • Ezra Miller, 2012

    Breakout, up-and-coming actor Ezra Miller, who stars in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," <a href="http://www.out.com/entertainment/movies/2012/08/15/ezra-miller-im-queer">came out as queer in an interview with Out magazine</a> in August. The 20-year-old actor, who's also known for his big screen roles on "City Island" and "We Need To Talk About Kevin," told Out: "I have a lot of really wonderful friends who are of very different sexes and genders. I am very much in love with no one in particular."

  • Todd Glass, 2012

    Comedian Todd Glass <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/16/todd-glass-comes-out-as-gay-on-wtf-with-marc-maron_n_1209291.html">came out in January</a> in an episode of the "WTF with Marc Maron" podcast. Glass cited the slew of LGBT teen suicides for coming out. He told Maron: "I cannot listen to stories about kids killing themselves any longer without thinking [to myself], 'When are you going to have a little blood on your shirt for not being honest about who you are?'"

  • Denise Ho, 2012

    Hong Kong's fourth annual LGBT Pride Parade in November saw beloved Cantonese pop star <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/denise-ho-singer-gay-coming-out-hong-kong_n_2122773.html">Denise Ho come out as a lesbian</a>. This announcement made her the first mainstream female singer in Hong Kong to say she's gay, according to several Hong Kong media outlets. "As a celebrity, I think I have an obligation, a duty to stand forward for the sake of love and equality," the 35-year-old singer told the crowd.

  • Joanna Johnson, 2012

    "Bold and the Beautiful" star Joanna Johnson became daytime soap opera's only active "out" actor when she said <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/14/joanna-johnson-lesbian-bold-and-the-beautiful_n_1515489.html">she was a lesbian in May</a>. Johnson said she feared coming out would prohibit her from getting acting roles. Johnson told <em>TV Guide</em> in an exclusive interview that she's married to L.A. club promoter Michelle Agnew, with whom she has two children, five-year-old Julian and Harlow, who is two.

  • Rosie Pierri, 2012

  • Andrew Rannells, 2012