Coming out about your sexuality or gender identity can be intense. It can be a gratifying declaration of self-love, but also has the potential to make you feel very vulnerable. That's why seeing representation in film and on television can empower you to claim your identity, and why reading trans celebrities' quotes about identity can be both inspiring and life-affirming. Seeing your journey reflected in their words can help you feel like part of a community. It's a strong reminder that everyone's on a journey, and it's OK to embrace yours.
The celebs below are paving the way for thousands of trans and non-binary people to be their most authentic selves. Here's what they had to say about coming out and coming into their own. Let them serve as a wonderful reminder that who you are is valid, beautiful, and worthy.
1. ”Self-definition and self-determination is about the many varied decisions that we make to compose and journey toward ourselves... It’s OK if your personal definition is in a constant state of flux as you navigate the world." — Janet Mock in Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
2. “All of us are put in boxes by our family, by our religion, by our society, our moment in history, even our own bodies. Some people have the courage to break free." — Geena Rocero in their TED Talk on coming out
3. “I’ve never been interested in being invisible and erased." — Laverne Cox to Bust
4. “I identify as what I am." — Andreja Pejic to New York Magazine
5. “I didn’t necessarily have a Facebook announcement moment or like a 'stop it all, everything changes' moment. I really just kind of wanted to become who I was supposed to be and continue to do what I was always meant to do – and I did!” — Peppermint to The Huffington Post
6. "The therapist asked me if I knew the difference between a boy and a girl. And in my infinite wisdom as a third-grader... I said, 'There is no difference.'" — Laverne Cox in a speech at Grand Valley State University
7. “I knew even as a teenager that my femininity was more than just adornments; they were extensions of me, enabling me to express myself and my identity." — Janet Mock In Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
8. ”Being transgender is not just a medical transition. ... [It's about] discovering who you are, living your life authentically, loving yourself, and spreading that love towards other people and accepting one another." — Jazz Jennings to Advocate
9. ”Transgender people, whoever they are, they’re ordinary people. They deserve respect. They’re just human beings." — Ines Rau to Vogue
10. “To all trans youth out there, I would like to say respect yourself and be proud of who you are. All human beings deserve equal treatment no matter their gender identity or sexuality. To be perceived as what you say you are is a basic right.” — Andreja Pejic to GLAAD
11. “I believe much more in love and heart. ... That’s much bigger [than] to see what you have in the middle of your legs." — Lea T. on Oprah: Where Are They Now?
12. ”There isn’t a trans moment. ... It’s just a presence where there was an absence. We deserve so much more." — Hari Nef to The New Yorker
13. “I think trans women, and trans people in general, show everyone that you can define what it means to be a man or woman on your own terms. A lot of what feminism is about is moving outside of roles and moving outside of expectations of who and what you’re supposed to be to live a more authentic life. — Laverne Cox to Dame
14. ”Gender doesn’t need – and doesn’t have – gatekeepers. This is where the media needs to wise up. I have no idea why news producers are asking cisgender people for details of things they have no experience of. When it comes to trans issues, you can either get the experience from a trans person or an opinion from a cis person. Opinions are like a**holes: Everyone’s got one. They’re neither facts or news." — Juno Dawson to LAPP
Ultimately, coming out is about freedom: the freedom to be your full, beautiful self and to love yourself exactly as you are. And that's something definitely worth celebrating.