As the talk about sexuality and gender identity continues to thrive, it’s not uncommon to hear about more and more people coming out to the public about who they really are. Thought it may seem like these announcements have spiked more recently, there are individuals who have been open about their sexuality pretty much from the get-go. Celebrities in particular enjoy a certain level of influence that can change the lives of those who struggle with accepting who they are and letting their friends and families know about it. Here are ten gay celebs whose coming out pretty much changed the world.

1997: Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres Kicks Off Duracell/Toys For Tots Initiative "Power A Smile" CampaignSource

Ellen has a special spot in people’s hearts for being completely open about her sexuality since 1997. Known for her quirky humor and the success of her daytime talk show, Ellen is quite likely the most influential celebrity when it comes to gay rights and LGBT issues. In 2008, she married actress Portia De Rossi, who came out in 2005 on the cover of The Advocate magazine.