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Elliot Page for Out100
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Elliot Page & 2021's new class of trans characters in mainstream media

Ariana DeBose, Sara Ramirez, Law Roach, Sara Ramirez, Symone, and Cassandra Peterson also appeared on the Out100 cover.

Amid an era of fear and lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and four long years of Donald Trump as President of the United States, the inauguration of President Joe Biden in January 2021 gave people some hope that things could get back on course.

During that period of time, Pete Buttigieg became the first out, gay, member of the Cabinet when he was appointed Secretary of Transportation, while Rachel Levine became the highest-ranking trans official within the U.S. government. Moreover, Biden reversed course on a number of anti-LGBTQ+ policies that had been enacted during Trump's time in office, including the ban on trans people serving in the military.

Unfortunately, the war on what conservatives labeled as "gender ideology" only intensified, with reports of a record-high number of anti-LGBTQ+ laws regarding education, healthcare, sports, and other issues having already been passed by May of 2021. Between over 250 new pieces of legislation, most of them specifically targeted trans students.

Having LGBTQ+ people and allies in positions of power became an even bigger imperative in order to fight back against so many bigoted laws plaguing our community. One such person was Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who graced the cover of the 2021 Out100. Polis became the first out, gay, elected governor in the U.S. after winning his race in 2018. Once elected, he increased LGBTQ+ rights and protections in the state and continued to serve as governor after winning his reelection in 2022.

Jared Polis  on Cover of 2021 Out100Jared Poliswww.out.com

This was also the year when Ariana DeBose burst into the film/TV scene with her landmark role in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story remake, becoming the first out, queer, actor of color to win an Oscar.

Meanwhile, Fashion stylist Law Roach reached a career-high milestone in 2021 after styling a whopping 10 celebrities for the Met Gala, winning the Gem Award for Jewelry Style, and appearing as a judge on the ballroom competition series Legendary from Max (née HBO Max). In subsequent years, Roach shocked the fashion industry by announcing his retirement, alluding to issues within the industry. He has, however, continued to work with Zendaya and other longtime clients such as Céline Dion.

Law Roach  on Cover of 2021 Out100Law Roachwww.out.com

Another rising statistic was the volume of LGBTQ+ representation in mainstream media. GLAAD's annual report, which broke down statistics about queer and trans characters on TV, highlighted that the numbers were at an all-time high, with trans representation in particular up by almost 45%. One of those characters was Che Diaz — a new face to the Sex and the City sequel series And Just Like That… — who was brought to life by Sara Ramirez.

Ramirez already had an iconic queer character under their belt with the groundbreaking role of Callie Torres on Grey's Anatomy. Thus, bringing the first nonbinary character to the Sex and the City universe in the revival seemed like a good fit — especially as Ramirez had come out as nonbinary themself the year before.

Sara RamirezOut100 Cover Star Sara Ramirez Reinvented TV — and the Worldwww.out.com

Elliot Page was another queer entertainer who had a huge 2021 and was honored in the Out100. After coming out, Page became the first trans man to appear on the cover of TIME magazine. While launching his new production company, Page also became a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in mainstream media.

The flagship RuPaul's Drag Race series found its season 13 winner in Symone, who captivated A-list superstars like Rihanna and went on to attend the Met Gala. Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, disclosed that she had been in a relationship with a woman for the past 19 years.

Symone  on Cover of 2021 Out100Symonewww.out.com

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.