The act of coming out in the media has ebbed and flowed over time as the novelty and the stigma of being openly gay has gradually worn off. For as long as the idea of homosexuality has existed as a social construct—and therefore as something identifiable and as an identity in and of itself—identifying as such has carried with it a penalty. Whether leading to the loss of one's social standing, one's employment, or one's life completely, coming out has been nothing short of a revolutionary act.
It is only now when being out is so commonplace that the process can seem unnecessary, but the cost of freedom is constant vigilance. The more people come out, the more ordinary it becomes to be queer, the harder it is for anyone to take away the rights for which we've fought so hard.
In honor of today, National Coming Out Day, here are 13 people whose coming-out helped to alter the conversation on LGBTQ people in society.