Posted by Karly Rayner @KarlyR
Moviepilot's celebrity savant.
Karly Rayner

LGBT awareness and acceptance might be coming on in leaps and bounds, but there is a long way to go just yet when it comes to equality.

Many gay or bisexual celebrities feel the need to hide their sexuality to protect their careers, but a courageous band of younger stars is determined to slam stereotypes about LGBT people back into the past where they belong and live as their authentic selves.

Below is a list of five stars who have officially come out in 2016. Hopefully, their actions will help lead the way for some of the thousands of young people who have been made to feel ashamed of their sexuality. You do you, y'all.

1. Bella Thorne

18-year-old Bella Thorne confirmed that she identifies as bisexual recently after a Snapchat kiss she shared with BFF Bella Pendergast got her fans whispering about her sexuality.

The video which was streamed to Bella's Snapchat followers showed the former Disney star planting a passionate kiss on her gal pal Bella's lips after waxing poetic about "finding her."

Although the silly smooch could simply be seen as BFF high jinks, some people took to Twitter to ask Bella if she identified as gay or bisexual after seeing the lip lock. Bella quickly answered a question that asked "are you bisexual?" with a simple, concise answer:

2. Kristen Stewart

Kristen and her girlfriend Alicia Image: Getty
Kristen and her girlfriend Alicia Image: Getty

Kristen Stewart hasn't exactly been in the closet since she boldly told Nylon Magazine, "Google me, I'm not hiding anything," when they questioned her about her sexuality, but the Cesar-winning actor has finally set the fact that she's gay in stone.

The 26-year-old told Elle UK in no uncertain terms that she is in a relationship with her former personal assistant and long-time friend, Alicia Cargile, saying:

"I think also right now I'm just really in love with my girlfriend. We've broken up a couple of times and gotten back together, and this time I was like, 'Finally, I can feel again.'"

Stewart also explained how she changed the way that she acted in terms of personal displays of affection when she started dating women because she didn't want people to think she was ashamed of her sexuality.

"When I was dating a guy I was hiding everything that I did because everything personal felt like it was immediately trivialized, so I didn't like it. We were turned into these characters and placed into this ridiculous comic book. But then it changed when I started dating a girl. I was like, 'Actually, to hide this provides the implication that I'm not down with it or I'm ashamed of it, so I had to alter how I approached being in public. It opened my life up and I'm so much happier."
Kristen felt trapped by the media representation of her relationships with men
Kristen felt trapped by the media representation of her relationships with men

But, why did it take her so long to "come out," to use the old-fashioned term? Kristen has previously spoken about how refusing to label her sexuality is just as much of a statement as publicly declaring her LGBT status.

3. Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevingne's sexuality has always seemed pretty fluid (remember that whirlwind romance with Michelle Rodriguez?), but the supermodel has only recently spoken out about being in a same-sex relationship.

The high priestess of eyebrow game told Vogue magazine that she was head over heels in love with her girlfriend, the singer St. Vincent.

“I’m completely in love. Before, I didn’t know what love was - real love. I didn’t understand the depth of it. I always used to think it was you against the world. Now I know the meaning of life is love. Whether that’s for yourself or for the world or your partner.”

Delevingne also said she was proud to call herself gay even though, like many other ignorant young people, she had previously used the word as a slur.

"As a child I used gay as a bad word. As in, ‘that’s so gay’. All my friends did. I’m obviously in love, so if people want to say I’m gay, that’s great. But we’re all liquid - we change, we grow.”

Delevingne is in good company in her role as Enchantress in the upcoming Suicide Squad because a surprising number of fellow Marvel stars also identify as LGBT.

4. Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson came out as bisexual on Twitter in a gesture of solidarity with the victims of the horrifying Orlando club shooting that explicitly targeted LGBT individuals.

The 29-year-old actor shared an image of her at a gay club when she was 18 and thanked the LGBT community for embracing her, even before she knew she had feelings for other women.

The star admitted that she used to identify as "mostly straight," but has since embraced the Bi/Queer label because it more accurately describes sexuality on a spectrum.

5. Colton Haynes

The Arrow star was forcibly outed by a Tumblr post that spoke of his "secret gay past," but the way Haynes dealt with it led to him being called out by other stars and advocacy groups for inadvertently sending negative messages to LGBT youth.

Instead of making a statement about the Tumblr post, Haynes simply replied, "was it ever a secret?" because he felt like he simply wasn't ready to face the headlines that publicly coming out would bring.

“I wasn’t ready to be back in the headlines. I didn’t feel like I owed anyone anything. I think in due time, everyone has to make those decisions when they’re ready, and I wasn’t yet. But I felt like I was letting people down by not coming forward with the rest of what I should have said."

The 28-year-old star has now fully embraced his sexuality and is much happier than he was living a lie, he explained to EW that:

"People want you to be that GQ image that you put out, but people don’t realize what it’s like to act 24 hours a day. I’d go home and I was still acting. People who are so judgmental about those who are gay or different don’t realize that acting 24 hours a day is the most exhausting thing in the world. It took me so long to get to this point, but I’m doing so good,” Haynes said. “I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and healthier than I’ve ever been, and that’s what I care about.”

Hopefully these wise words can provide inspiration to other young LGBT people who are struggling to come to terms with letting the world know their sexuality.

6. Amandla Stenberg

Amandla Stenberg told her fans she identified as bisexual when she took over Teen Vogue's Snapchat in 2016, she said:

"It’s a really, really hard thing to be silenced and it’s deeply bruising to fight against your identity and to mold yourself into shapes that you just shouldn’t be in. As someone who identifies as a black, bisexual woman, I’ve been through it and it hurts and it’s awkward and it’s uncomfortable.”

The 17-year-old also hammered home how it's important to be your authentic self, no matter what society or other people tell you.

“I definitely believe in the concept of rebellion through selfhood and rebellion just by embracing your true identity, no matter what you’ve been told,” she said. “Here I am, being myself and it’s hard and it’s vulnerable and it’s definitely a process but I’m learning and I’m growing.”

To hear more inspirational bisexual celeb stories, click HERE.

False Alarms

7. Tyler Posey

Plenty of headlines have tentatively outed Tyler Posey over last couple of days thanks to a Snapchat video the Teen Wolf star shared basically proclaiming the fact that he's gay.

The star almost immediately apologized for his actions amid criticism that he trivialized the often painful act of coming out and made a joke of the struggles many LGBT young people face.

Maybe we've found ourselves another anti-thinking activist here?

Do you think it is important for celebrities to come out in the public eye?

(Source: Elle UK, EW (2), US Magazine)