Six celebrity trailblazers from the LGBTQ+ community sat down with EW to reflect on living proud in Hollywood — and take spectacular photos honoring New York’s legendary Stonewall Inn.
Check out the full roundtable interview here.
Neil Patrick Harris
The Albuquerque, N.M., native was 16 when he debuted as the lead in ABC’s drama Doogie Howser, M.D. The Emmy and Tony-winning multi-hyphenate was on CBS’ How I Met Your Mother when he publicly came out as gay in a 2006 People magazine article. Harris and chef David Burtka got engaged that same year, but kept the engagement secret until the passage of the Marriage Equality Act in New York in 2011. The two wed in 2014 and are fathers to twins — son Gideon and daughter Harper — whom they welcomed in 2010. The A Series of Unfortunate Events star has produced the upcoming documentary Wig (June 18), which tracks the origins and the influence of the annual drag festival known as Wigstock.
The actor, a Brooklyn native, was living with his parents in Southern California when, at the age of 19, he landed the part of Rickie Vasquez on ABC’s My So-Called Life. The role made Cruz the first openly gay actor to play an openly gay character as a series regular on a prime-time television show. Cruz went on to join the Broadway cast of Rent, and has appeared in the film Party Monster and on TV shows like Party of Five, Grey’s Anatomy, 13 Reasons Why, Pushing Daisies, and more. The GLSEN board member can currently be seen on CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery, where he stars alongside his former Rent castmate Anthony Rapp, playing the first openly gay couple in the Star Trek universe.
Born and raised in Honolulu, Mock began her transition from male to female through middle and high school. She has been open about funding medical care related to her transition partially by earning money as a sex worker in her teens. After years as a staffer at People, Mock came out publicly as a transgender woman in a 2011 Marie Claire article. The activist and New York Times best-selling author has released two memoirs, 2014’s Redefining Realness and 2017’s Surpassing Certainty. In 2018, working on Ryan Murphy’s Pose, she became the first transgender woman of color to write and direct a TV episode. She also writes and directs on season 2 (premiering June 11 at 10 p.m. on FX).
The Melbourne native was 21 when she made the transition from modeling to hosting, competing against thousands of hopefuls to win a gig as an MTV VJ in Australia. The gender-fluid star — who came out as a lesbian to her mom at age 12 — moved to the United States to pursue acting, but it wasn’t until after her self-produced 2014 short film Break Free that she found success on Orange Is the New Black. After movie roles in XXX, Resident Evil, John Wick, and the Pitch Perfect sequels, Rose scored the title role on The CW’s Batwoman (airing Sundays at 8 p.m. this fall), the first TV series headlined by an out LGBTQ superhero.
The son of writer Wyatt Emory Cooper and author/fashion designer/heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, Cooper is a Manhattan native who made his TV debut at the age of 9 when he appeared as an impostor on the game show To Tell the Truth. He was a tween model for Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Macy’s. After studying political science at Yale, Cooper began working in journalism in the early 1990s, landing first at youth-oriented Channel One before ABC and, ultimately, CNN. The GLAAD award-winning Anderson Cooper 360° host and author had been out to his friends since high school but came out publicly as gay on Andrew Sullivan’s blog in 2012.
The Leavenworth, Kan., native picked up her first guitar around the age of 8 and dropped out of Berklee College of Music to pursue a professional career. She released her eponymous debut album in 1988, which spawned the Grammy-nominated hit “Bring Me Some Water.” It was just the first of her 15 Grammy nominations, including wins for her vocals on 1992’s “Ain’t It Heavy” and 1993’s “Come to My Window.” A longtime political activist, she took home an Oscar in 2007 for her song from Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Etheridge came out at the Triangle Ball after President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. She wed writer Linda Wallem in 2014 and is spending the summer touring for her new album, The Medicine Show.