In some ways, LGBT people have never been so visible. A gay man runs the U.S. Army. A lesbian actress was one of the top box-office stars of the summer. A transgender web series received a historic Emmy nomination.
Yet for every victory, there is a backlash. "Bathroom bills" threaten the rights and safety of transgender folks. Hollywood's glass closet is cracked, but it remains a reality for far too many actors, who fear living openly will lead to employment discrimination. Lax gun laws threaten the safety of all vulnerable communities. And Donald Trump is the president-elect.
In this volatile ecosystem, coming out is as necessary as ever. It changes hearts and minds in favor of equality. It tells the world, "We're here. We're queer. Get used to it." In this spirit, here is a list of the public figures who came out in 2016.