March 07, 2018 at 07:57 AM EST

NOTE FROM JESS CAGLE, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, PEOPLE AND ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:

In the moving comedy-drama Love, Simon (in theaters March 16) Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel star as the parents of Simon, a high schooler played by Nick Robinson who struggles to tell loved ones that he’s gay. Acceptance in America has increased dramatically in recent years, but coming out as LGBTQ is still a profound and often traumatic experience.

PEOPLE and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, along with GLSEN, the non-profit that fights to make schools safe for all kids, invited individuals from all walks of life to share real-life coming out stories. COMING OUT STORIES (produced by Ryan Buxton) can be seen at people.com/comingoutstories and on PeopleTV (download the app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device).

As doctor Callie Torres on Grey’s Anatomy, Sara Ramirez played one of TV’s groundbreaking bisexual characters — but “I didn’t know if I was ready to come out publicly,” says Ramirez, 42, who identifies as queer and bisexual herself.

Ramirez, who currently stars on CBS’s Madam Secretary, says hearing about continuing violence against the LGBTQ community, including the 2016 shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, convinced her she needed to speak out. She also shares how she told friends (during their movie night!) that she was about to share her truth with the world.

 

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