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Twenty twenty-two is well underway, but 2021 isn't that far behind us.

Here are a few celebrities who stepped out of the closet last year.

Cassandra Peterson

Peterson became a legendary cult figure after she created her iconic character Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Peterson first gained fame in the early 1980s when she hosted "Elvira's Movie Macabre" on KHJ-TV in Los Angeles, a weekly series in which she showed grade B horror movies. For the better part of 40 years, Peterson has been a buxom fantasy woman for millions of heterosexual horror fans. Elvira was a smash, and it wasn't long until she went national, even starring in a few movies as Elvira. 

But unknown to her legion of admirers, Peterson had a secret. In 2021 she brought it all out into the open when she published her memoir "Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark." In the book, Peterson, who had once been married to a man, admitted that she had been in a relationship with a woman for the past 19 years. Peterson revealed in an interview that she had lost 11,000 "old man" followers after she came out, but she also gained 60,000 new followers. Her book was a New York Times Bestseller.

Carl Nassib

One of the more high-profile coming outs of 2021 was that of Nassib, a pro-football player who has played with the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is the first active NFL player to come out, and the first openly gay player to play in a game. 

"I just think that representation and visibility are so important," Nassib said in an Instagram video. "I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary." 

Nassib proved his commitment to the LGBT community when, during Pride Month 2021, he donated $100,000 to The Trevor Project, crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth.

Colton Underwood

Nassib wasn't the only footballer to come out as gay in 2021. Colton Underwood played for the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2014, and was on the practice squad of the Oakland Raiders. After he left the Raiders, Underwood became a contestant on the reality series "The Bachelorette." He then became the lead on "The Bachelor," where he was the first lead in the history of the franchise to come out as gay, which he did on Good Morning America in April 2021.  

"I'm like the happiest and healthiest that I've ever been in my life," he said on GMA, admitting that he had struggled with suicidal thoughts prior to coming out.  

Underwood has since starred in the Netflix series "Coming Out Colton," in which he reveals his sexuality to the people in his life. He now has a boyfriend named Jordan C. Brown. 

Demi Lovato

Lovato is a highly successful singer and songwriter, having sold over 24 million records in their career as well as winning numerous awards, such as an MTV Music Video Award, Teen Choice Awards, People's Choice Awards and Latin American Music Awards. They have also worked as an actor, starring in the sitcom "Sonny With a Chance" for the Disney Channel. In addition, they appeared on "Glee" and "Will and Grace."

In May 2021 Lovato announced they were non-binary and would begin using they/them pronouns.  

"I want to take this moment to share something very personal with you," they said in a Twitter video. "Over the past year and a half I've been doing some healing and self-reflective work, and through this work I've had the revelation that I am non-binary."

Lovato also came out as pansexual in an interview with Joe Rogan.

"For the first time in my life, I’m putting my well-being over my career,” they said.

Gabbi Tuft

Tuft is a retired professional wrestler who wrestled in widely seen events such as "Raw," "Wrestlemania" and "Smackdown." In February 2021 Tuft came out as a transgender woman. Tuft has said that she received support from her wife, her daughter and her community in Texas when she began transitioning. She now publicly advocates for the trans community. 

"If I can make this journey easier for anyone else by being visible, just one person, it's an honor for me to do that," she wrote in Men's Health Magazine. 

David Archuleta

Archuleta is a season seven runner-up on "American Idol." He parlayed his "Idol" fame into a successful singing career. Archuleta is also a devout Mormon who served a two-year mission in Chile.

For years Archuleta battled his inner demons. He had been taught that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained by God, but Archuleta was unable to muster up any feelings of physical attraction in the heterosexual relationships he'd been in.  

In a June 2021 Instagram video Archuleta admitted to his fans that he was having trouble preparing for his tour due to his struggles.  

"I've grown up in a religion that I felt very strong toward," he said in an Instagram video. "Being a Latter Day Saint, a gay Mormon, and I've always been very faithful to it, very strongly bound. They've adjusted their views over the years on how to look at LGBT people, they've stated things like it's OK to feel attracted to the same sex, but they also said don't act on it, but I think they loosened that a little bit."  

Archuleta admitted that he dealt with suicidal thoughts as he struggled with his sexuality. But ultimately, he decided that life was worth the fight "even if I'm gay." 

He now says that he's at peace with his true self and feels that God loves him unconditionally for who he is.

Cara Cunningham

Prior to her transition, Cunningham became a viral sensation when, in 2007, she fiercely defended Britney Spears during the pop singer's infamous breakdown. "Leave Britney alone!" Cunningham cried in tears in a video that became the subject of much ridicule. Cunningham went on to appear in a gay porn film.  

In August 2021 Cunningham announced her transition, saying she would no longer answer to her former name, only to Cara. That same month she began hormone therapy for her gender dysphoria.  

"I have put my identity and personal happiness aside for so long, out of fear of rejection or me not wanting to embarrass my family," she said. "Then I realized anyone who loves me for me won't be embarrassed and would've shown general interest in how long I have felt this way in the first place."  

In the aftermath of Spears' recent court battles to end her father's conservatorship, which gave rise to the Free Britney movement, Cunningham's Spears video has found belated respect.

Gigi Gorgeous

The popular transgender YouTuber came out as pansexual in April 2021, stating that she was coming out for the fourth time. In a video posted on her YouTube channel, Gorgeous recalled that she had come out as gay prior to transitioning. Then she came out as transgender, following which she came out as gay for the second time. And now, with her announcement that she's pansexual, Gorgeous has come out for the fourth time.  

Gorgeous referred to her various coming out videos as "some of my best, favorite memories."  

She credits her husband Nats, who is also transgender, with helping her to come to this latest realization. She sees being pansexual as "falling in love with the soul of somebody." She hopes that this will be her final coming out, feeling that at last she is living her complete truth.  

Gorgeous now advocates for others to find their own true selves and to fully embrace who they are.

In her video she says, "If you are watching this and you are discovering yourself still, or having a battle internally what to identify as, if you like boys, if you like girls, if you are pansexual like me, I just want to reassure you that it is absolutely okay, look at me, it took a long time for me to get here, but I truly feel happy within myself, and proud of all the times that I've come out, so don't be ashamed or put down who you're meant to be."


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