In our annual portfolio, we capture this year's most entertaining, heroic, and intriguing figures, from all walks of life--including some of our most talented entertainers, a group of transgender veterans, and a legendary tennis ace. Our four collectible covers for the 2017 OUT100 are no less inspiring.
Lena Waithe has been one of an OUT favorite for years, and first appeared in this list in 2014. But it was her beautiful Emmy speech, for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, that stole our hearts. Her shout out to the LGBTQI community was as rousing as it was compassionate: "The things that make us different, those our superpowers," she said. "Every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape... go out there and conquer the world, because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren't in it." That could serve as the summary for the entire OUT100.
ForJonathan Groff, being very visibly aligned with the queer community, in large part thanks to his role in HBO's Looking, was no barrier to being cast in Mindhunter, the latest television "event" to be helmed by David Fincher. The Netflix series is a career high for the actor who is acutely aware that he's a beneficiary of many who came before. "I watched the Tab Hunter documentary on Netflix, about the actor who was gay and closeted and set up on dates with Natalie Wood, and I just thought, Wow, I feel like a product of my time in that It's 2017 and I can be out and playing these parts," he says. "That's not wasted on me."
It's been an extraordinary year for Chelsea Manning, who had her 35-year life sentence commuted by the departing President Obama in January. Released on May 17, she has spent the subsequent six months establishing her credentials as a leading voice of the progressive left, using her social media presence to motivate those agitating for change. "This is not a new reality--this is what reality has been the whole time," she says. "It's more in our face than it's ever been before, but after this we're still going to be facing the same threats--they just seem bigger now."
This year saw Shayne Oliver bring Hood By Air's disruptive edge to Helmut Lang as the brand's first ever guest designer. For spring '18, he created a "love letter" to Lang himself, subverting the brand's minimalist DNA with his unabashedly queer, femme lens. "The idea is that I'm different than you, and you have to respect it," Oliver says of his designer ethos. "As opposed to, I'm different and I'm also the same as you. We actually don't like the same things, and that's OK. Queerness has to do with me being different than you and you saying you can handle it."
Click here for the complete list of this year's OUT100 honorees.