15 Disney Channel stars who shared their LGBTQ+ coming out stories
10 June 2021, 18:45
From Demi Lovato and Dove Cameron to Joshua Bassett and Josie Totah, here are some of the biggest Disney Channel stars who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Over the years, the Disney Channel has blessed us with some absolute icons. Over the years, some of those icons have also shared their own personal journeys and coming out stories with their fans.
From Demi Lovato and Dove Cameron to Joshua Bassett and Josie Totah, here are some of the biggest Disney Channel stars who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, and who have shared their coming out stories online with their fans and followers.
In an Instagram video opening up about their gender identity, Demi said: "Over the past year, I've been doing some healing and self-reflective work and, through this work, I've had the revelation that I identify as non-binary. With that said, I'll officially be changing my pronouns to they/them."
Demi continued: "I feel that this best represents the fluidity that I feel in my gender expression and allows me to feel most authentic and true to the person I both know I am and still am discovering."
Speaking to Billboard in 2017, Miley described herself as a "gender-neutral, sexually fluid person".
Dove Cameron came out as bisexual in 2020 while discussing the video for her new song 'We Belong'. In a Instagram Live, Dove said: "I think that’s really beautiful, speaking as someone who is bi. I didn’t want my art and my visuals to only reflect heterosexual couples."
Opening up about her decision to come out publicly, Dove told Gay Times: "When the song came out, everybody got the idea that the song was a big LGBTQ+ anthem song and I found myself in this position where everyone thought I was queerbaiting. I went on Instagram Live and said, "Guys, I really needed to explain something to you. Maybe I haven’t said it, but I’m super queer."
She continued: "I was never confused about who I was. I felt like I wouldn’t be accepted and I had this strange narrative that people wouldn’t believe me. I hope it helps, that’s why I came out."
While technically not hailing from the Disney Channel, the Disney+ High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star came out to his fans in May 2021.
After praising Harry Styles in an interview, Joshua later clarified his comments in an Instagram post, writing: "My entire life people have told me my sexuality. People have shamed me for things they know nothing about. I want to say thank you to those of you who stand for love and acceptance."
"Love who you love shamelessly. It’s ok to still be figuring out who you are. Life’s too short to let ignorance and hatred win. I choose love."
The High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star came out during Pride Month 2021. Over on TikTok, Larry shared a video of himself with the caption "plays a character with a girlfriend on TV" before coming out to his fans by adding "is bi irl".
Larry's video soon went viral with millions of fans liking and sharing their congratulations to him in the comments.
Former Jessie star Josie opened up about her transition in a powerful article for TIME back in 2018. In the self-penned piece, Josie wrote: "My pronouns are she, her and hers. I identify as female, specifically as a transgender female. And my name is Josie Totah.
"This is not something that just happened. This is not a choice that I made. When I was five, long before I understood what the word gender meant, I would always tell my mother that I wished I were a girl."
In 2019, Josie later told Refinery 29: “It wasn’t a ‘coming out’ moment for me since my family has known I was transgender since I was three years old; it was more of a Let me just inform the world of something they don’t know kind of moment.”
Girl Meets World star Rowan Blanchard said she identified as queer back in 2016 in a tweet. Rowan, who was 14 years old at the time, tweeted: "I personally don't wanna label myself as straight, gay or whateva. So I am not gonna give myself labels to stick with — just existing." Responding to a fan, Rowan also added "yes open to liking any gender in future is why I identify as queer".
In a 2017 interview with Nylon, Rowan opened up about the tweets: "I just don’t understand why you’re straight or gay. I don’t understand why you want me to be one of two things. What is the driving force behind binaries?"
Raven opened up about her sexuality in an It Got Better interview in 2016, where she explained that she was aware of her sexuality from the age of 12 but didn't come out until college. Raven explained: “I never thought I would come out because my personal life didn’t matter. It was only what was supposed to be sold as the Raven-Symoné brand.”
Raven publicly came out after tweeting a celebratory message about the same-sex marriage rulings in the US in 2013. Speaking about her journey, she said: “I felt lighter. I felt like I could go out and not have to put on 17 different hats to be myself."
Andi Mack star Joshua Rush came out as bisexual in 2019 after sharing a series of tweets with his followers. On Twitter, Joshua wrote in a now-deleted tweet: "first to respond to this tweet is bi lol". He then replied to his own tweet writing: "First! i win! it's me. i'm bi. And now that I've said that, I have a few things to rant about."
Joshua then went on to explain that, despite playing the first ever Disney Channel main character who is gay, it was difficult for him to come out.
“How ironic, isn’t it, that me, playing that character, never had mustered up that courage?” he said. “Instead of feeling the courage to tell you today that I am an out and proud bisexual man because of the character I played for four years, I feel that courage thinking of all of you, who felt emboldened by Cyrus to come out.”
Bella Thorne has opened up about her sexuality a few times in interviews over the past few years. In 2019, Bella came out as pansexual in an interview with Good Morning America while promoting her book.
Bella said: "I'm actually pansexual and I didn't know that. Somebody explained to me really thoroughly what that is. You like beings. You like what you like. Doesn't have to be a girl or a guy or a he or she or they or this or that. It's literally, you like personality. You just like a being."
Teen Beach Movie star Mollee Gray came out publicly shortly before her (stunning!!) wedding to Jeka Jane in 2017. Speaking to The Advocate back in 2019, Mollee said that while she was out to her family and close friends, she initially kept her sexuality hidden because she was scared of what it would do to her career.
Mollee is now also part of the Pride House LA TikTok collective alongside Teen Beach Movie co-star Garrett Clayton.
Hayley Kiyoko, former Lemonade Mouth star and pop icon known as "Lesbian Jesus" to her fans, has long been a leader when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation in music, although she's previously opened up about her hesitation when it came to labels.
Speaking about why she labels herself as lesbian at Billboard & The Hollywood Reporter's Pride Summit, Hayley said, "I didn’t want a label at all, but once I released my music, there was this outpour of support for the fact that I did like girls. I learned that by embracing my label as a lesbian, I was helping normalise that for so many other people."
Actor and dancer Alyson Stoner came out to fans in an essay for Teen Vogue back in 2018. Alyson shared her own journey about how she fell in love with a woman, and how it led her to think about her own identity.
In the essay, Alyson wrote: "I, Alyson, am attracted to men, women, and people who identify in other ways."
HSMTMTS star Julia Lester is pansexual. Back in June 2020, Julia shared a photo of herself with the Pansexual Pride flag alongside the caption "be whoever u want! love whoever u want!!!!!! sexuality is a social construct teehee HAPPY PRIDE"
Garrett Clayton, who played Tanner in Disney's Teen Beach Movie, came out publicly in a moving Instagram post back in 2018.
The actor shared a photo alongside a caption about his movie Reach, and mentioned the similar, personal heartaches and tragic events that he and long-term boyfriend (and now fiancé) Blake Knight had shared throughout their lives. In a video on their joint YouTube channel, called 'A Gay In the Life', Garrett opened up further about his coming out story.
Along with Teen Beach Movie co-star Mollee Gray, Garrett is also part of the TikTok Pride House LA.