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Whether it’s coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or as an ally, countless American actors, athletes, musicians and YouTube stars advanced the movement for equality in 2015.

Olympic gold medalist and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner came out as transgender and two members of Congress, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Mike Honda, opened up about their transgender family members.

Celebrities Michael Angelakos, Miley Cyrus, Joel Grey, Jussie Smollett, Jill Soloway and Holland Taylor came out publicly and showed their solidarity with the LGBT community.

Several YouTube stars, including The Rhodes Bros, Joey Graceffa and Ingrid Nilsen, came out in emotional videos on their YouTube pages. YouTuber Shane Dawson increased awareness and provided important visibility when he came out as bisexual. Millions of viewers around the globe watched as these individuals shared publicly, for the first time ever, their true and authentic selves.

Minor League Baseball player David Denson, NBA referee Bill Kennedy, U.S. figure skating champion Adam Rippon and U.S. Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy all came out as gay. Comic book characters Iceman and Catwoman came out as gay and bisexual, respectively.

HRC also released a video highlighting people who came out publicly this year.

While this year marked another historic time for LGBT visibility, coming out, whether it's for the first time ever or the first time today, is a deeply personal journey for each individual. Coming out and living openly not only provides role models for LGBTQ youth, it creates a stepping stone of understanding and acceptance for LGBT people everywhere.

Learn more about coming out at HRC’s Coming Out Center.

Counting down to 2016, HRC is celebrating our greatest milestones and victories in 2015. It has been another incredible year for LGBT equality and we could not have done it without you -- our members, readers and supporters--and we look forward to continuing our work in 2016. Stay tuned for more highlights from 2015.

Filed under: Coming Out, Community

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