The Out100 is our magazine’s greatest and most well-known tradition: a prestigious compilation of the year’s most impactful and influential LGBTQ+ people. For quite some time, I’ve found it an absolute treasure trove of discovery—a mix of the celebrities we all know and call our own with the activists and community leaders who are pushing our agenda forward.
This year, of course, is no different. Hopefully you’ve seen by now one of six special covers we’ve produced, featuring a stunning roster of incredible talent.
Many of our cover stars are each doing their part to advance the limits of representation and push (sometimes, quite hard) against the boundaries of respectability. Jeremy O. Harris, the creator and writer of Slave Play, which bowed on Broadway this year, has become the golden child of the fashion and media worlds, all while embracing his role as the enfant terrible of the theatre. Our senior editor Mikelle Street compiled an oral tradition of the show’s “Blackout Night,” where the audience consisted entirely of people of color—an anomaly for the (aptly named) “Great White Way.”
And then there’s the brilliant metamorphosis of multiple Grammy-award winner Sam Smith. Sam’s personal evolution has been, they reveal, long in the making, and in this photo spread by Terry Tsiolis, they finally got to play with both clothes and makeup that—much like them—blur the lines of gender.
But beyond the boldfaced names, there are so many people to celebrate in this portfolio, including the trans people fighting for our rights at the Supreme Court to the organizers of this year’s Queer March, who reminded us all about the true origins of Pride. Over the course of one week, our team will be publishing stories to this website honoring the many individuals who makeup the Out100—and we’ll be adding them here for your viewing ease.
No matter what, though, I hope you look at this list and only realize how vast our community is, and how far-reaching our talents and contributions are. There are so many people who deserve to be held within these pages, and every time we publish this magazine, I can’t help thinking how we’ve fallen short and will do better next time. Numbered lists, like these, may be great for celebration, but they always raise questions about who’s not present, who can’t be visible, or who’s no longer with us. With that said, I hope the Out100, with this expansive tribute to so many wonderful and deserving queer folks, is just a starting point.
In 2020, may we all make it a resolution to uplift and celebrate one another, regardless of whether or not magazines or Hollywood or scores of Instagram followers call us special. Next year, we will need community more than ever—so let’s start embracing each other now.
Thanks for reading, and have a Happy New Year.
THE 2019 OUT100:
Evolution of the Year: Sam Smith
Showman of the Year: Jeremy O. Harris
Rapper of the Year: Young M.A
Journalist of the Year: Ronan Farrow
Designer of the Year: Nicolas Ghesquiere
Introducing: The Trans Obituaries Project
Culture and Entertainment
Film, TV, and more: From Pabllo Vittar and Dan Levy to Ts Madison and Crissles
Party of the Year: Papi Juice
Drag Queens of the Year: Trixie Mattel, Sasha Velour, Shangela
Showgirl of the Year: Charlene Incarnate
Breakout of the Year: Bowen Yang
Fashion and Beauty
Fashion Designers of the Year: from Miss Fame and Sir John to Tokyo Stylez and Drew Elliott
Beauty Figures of the Year: Prabal Gurung, Christopher John Rogers, Stefano Pilati
Models of the Year: Aaron Philip and Teddy Quinlivan
YouTube Creators of the Year: Lilly Singh and Carlos Maza
HIV Activists of the Year: Gareth Thomas, Dr. Steven Thrasher, and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis + Dr. Oni Blackstock