National Coming Out Day: What if these icons had never come out?
To celebrate National Coming Out Day, we take a look at icons who came out the closet… and ask: what if they hadn’t?
It might seem surprising now, but the Rocket Man singer was once in the closet – and was married to recording engineer Renate Blauel for four years in the ’80s.
He later filed for divorce, publicly opened up about his homosexuality, and a few years later started dating future husband David Furnish … but what if he hadn’t been brave enough?
Cut to alternate reality 2015: Sir Elton is still in the closet… and the world is darker for it.
There’s no one to feud with Dolce and Gabbana.
No one was willing to confront Vladmir Putins real and fake over Russia’s anti-LGBT laws.
And what’s worse… the Lion King never got made. Sir Elton thought doing a Disney film would draw too much attention, especially given Timon and Pumbaa are basically a gay couple.
Hakuna matata… we’re glad we don’t live in that world.
The out TV star broke down barriers in 1997 when she came out as a lesbian – becoming one of the most prominent gay women on TV.
But what if she hadn’t come out of the closet?
The Ellen DeGeneres Show might still have happened – but without Ellen so publicly embracing the cause of LGBT rights, it might not have earned the same place in people’s hearts.
In the alternative universe where she didn’t come out, Ellen lacks her special magic – the ability to be so at ease with herself, and encourage her same at-easeness in her guests.
‘Ellen’ got cancelled over format issues, and now there’s no one on TV to make Presidents dance. She lives alone, and regularly re-enacts her fantasy wedding to actor George Clooney.
The Olympic diver came out in 2013, sparking a chain reaction as he opened up about his sexuality – with sportspeople from footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger to swimmer Ian Thorpe following him out the closet.
But what if he hadn’t? Rather than announcing his engagement to Dustin Lance Black, in an alternate reality the star’s just revealed he’s getting married… to Sinitta.
He’s not really thrilled about it – but if you want to be So Macho, best make it look convincing.
Sales of his annual calendar have collapsed, following the news – in the single biggest blow to the gay calendar market ever.
The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star became the most famous trans person in the world earlier this year, when she opened up about her decades-long journey to become Caitlyn.
Caitlyn’s ex Kris Jenner recently opened up about joining the mile-high club with a pre-transition Caitlyn.
She said: “We had sex in the bathroom and we came out and nobody said anything. At the end of the flight, the flight attendant got on the microphone and said ‘Congratulations… you’ve just joined the mile-high club’!’ I could not squish down in my seat low enough. I was mortified.”
But in the alternate reality… it never stopped.
The pair grew obsessed with sexual encounters in unusual places – and they just signed a deal with Virgin Galactic, to become the first couple to have sex in space.
The entire journey will be aired next season on E!, of course.
Hopefully, now, you get how important coming out is! If you’re considering coming out the closet, check out Stonewall’s National Coming Out Day resources here.