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2000 Out100 Cover
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Reality TV stars broke new ground for LGBTQ+ people in 2000

Survivor winner Richard Hatch and The Real World heartthrob Danny Roberts were making waves.

The 2000s brought about the next phase of progress for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States, as Vermont became the first state to offer civil unions to same-sex couples. The move prompted voters to turn the state House of Representative red in retaliation, but they were unable to outlaw these new rights for queer couples.

And LGBTQ+ people were seeing themselves reflected more and more in film and TV, especially as reality television started to make a splash.

Richard Hatch became the first-ever winner of Survivor that year, inaugurating a franchise that helped reshape television. Although he was open about his sexuality in his personal life, he famously came out as gay during an episode of the series. But that $1 million prize didn't turn out to be all good news. After spending several years appearing on additional reality shows, Hatch was convicted of attempted tax evasion in 2006 and spent several years in prison, multiple times. In fact, it seems this history continues to haunt him in the present, despite his insistence that he didn't commit the crime.

While Hatch gained notoriety for playing a reality TV "villain," The Real World: New Orleans gave viewers a gay guy to root for in Danny Roberts. His appearance drew attention to the impact of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, as he was dating a serviceman at the time whose face had to be blurred out on camera when he came to visit. His stint on The Real World earned Roberts a role in an episode of Dawson's Creek the same year, before he turned his focus to LGBTQ+ advocacy and eventually returning to civilian life. The cast reunited for an eight episode series that aired in 2022.

Speaking of Dawson's Creek... the Kevin Williamson-created series aired the first romantic kiss between two men (Jack and Ethan, played by Kerr Smith and Adam Kaufman, respectively) in a primetime network drama in May of 2000. Greg Berlanti had taken over as showrunner, and was profiled in Out alongside fellow WB scribe Ryan Murphy and director Jamie Babbit — all of whom would go on to have a serious impact on bringing queer stories to TV.

Author E. Lynn Harris was also celebrated on the Out100 that year, as his sixth novel, Not a Day Goes By, hit the bestsellers list. He was slated to make his screenwriting debut penning the remake of Sparkle, which would have been produced by Whitney Houston and starring Aaliyah. Needless to say, it never came to fruition. And Harris's own life came to a tragic and unexpected end just nine years later, though he managed to publish five additional fiction novels and a memoir in that time. Three more novels were published after his death, and in 2019, he became one of the first 50 LGBTQ+ trailblazers memorialized at the Stonewall Inn's National LGBTQ Wall of Honor.

One more Out honoree of note from 2000 was Sinéad O'Connor. Eight years after she rocked the boat by tearing up a picture of the pope on Saturday Night Live, O'Connor came out as a lesbian during an interview for Curve. She would walk it back several years later, telling Entertainment Weekly that she was "three-quarters heterosexual, a quarter gay," and identifying as both asexual and someone who doesn't use labels at all at different points in her life. Although her career never fully recovered from SNL, O'Connor remained a fiercely admired musician and activist up until her death in 2023.

See All 2023's Most Impactful and Influential LGBTQ+ People
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Step into the Out100 Vault & celebrate 30 years of history-making LGBTQ+ folks!
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Step into the Out100 Vault & celebrate 30 years of history-making LGBTQ+ folks!

It's been 30 years since the annual Out100 list started highlighting the best and brightest of the community. To honor that milestone, let's take a look back at the many LGBTQ+ people who have changed the world.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Out100, Out’s storied annual list of LGBTQ+ people who have changed culture — and the world.

In celebration of this milestone, we are so proud to launch the official Out100 Vault, which highlights the Out100 covers from our archive as well as fresh essays and insights from past honorees.

The preservation of the LGBTQ+ past has never been more important, as the recent right-wing attempts at queer book bans and censorship demonstrate. For over three decades, Out has fought against mainstream erasure, telling the stories of the artists, warriors, and changemakers who made our history and our movement. Looking to the future, we hope you find inspiration from them in the ongoing fight for visibility and equality.

And if you, or someone you know, deserve to be on this list, please let us know through the Reader’s Choice submission page. Your stories and accomplishments need to be heard, and Out as always is here to tell them.

Sincerely,


Daniel Reynolds

Editor in chief, Out Magazine

Raffy Ermac

Editor in chief, Out.com

See All 2023's Most Impactful and Influential LGBTQ+ People
Artists
Disruptors
Educators
Groundbreakers
Innovators
Storytellers

Rachel Kiley

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.