When Ellen DeGeneres publicly came out and announced that she is gay back in 1997, it was a big deal. Gay celebrities lived in the closet most of the time fearing that their careers would be hurt. Ellen even had her tv sitcom character come out. When Lance Bass came out nine years later it wasn't as big. There already were some openly gay musicians and Lance was not currently doing that much performing. As more and more people came out it became easier for the next.
Neil Patrick Harris plays a non-gay role on his hit television show, so you might expect him to be the last to tell the world he is gay, but tell he did, around the same time as Lance. Did is popularity go down? Nope. Not a bit. In fact he seems to have become more popular.
Rosie O’ Donnell, Cynthia Nixon, Victor Garber, Meredith Baxter, and George Takei and just a few of the dozens who in recent years have said "I'm gay." Each time someone says it there seems to be a little less surprise and a little less controversy. Gay people exist. Some of them are famous. It's really no big deal.
One area where there has still been a lot of hesitation is in the world of sports. Yes, there have been exceptions, but seldom do we see those who play team sports come out of the closet. Even that is beginning to change. In a weekend interview with ESPN's Outside the Lines, Michael Sam, the AP's SEC Defensive Player of the Year, said that he is gay. That really is a big deal because Sam is eligible for the NFL draft in May, and assuming that he is drafted, could become the first openly gay player in NFL history.
Closets are really just for clothes and so more and more people are being open about who they are. People are being honest and the honesty is being rewarded in the form of more acceptance and more equality. It's about time.