They took risks, defied expectations, spoke out, redefined cool and made us proud to call them members and allies of our community.
There’s no question that Nick Jonas is one hot commodity — for many reasons. Not only is he crushing it with his JT-esque falsetto on R&B throwdowns like “Jealous,” but whenever he appears on television, gay America leans just a little closer to the flatscreen.
But what about the persistent rumors that he’s gay and closeted? Where do those rumors come from — and why do they refuse to go away?
The gossip can be traced in equal parts to Jonas visibility as an LGBT ally and a bit of wishful thinking on the part of many a daydreaming gay guy.
Jonas has also suffered the wrath of more than a few activists who’ve called him out for “gay baiting,” as if he needed to stoke the flames of his career by flirting with men. He’ll admit this: the gay roles he’s played on Kingdom and the horror-comedy series Scream Queens have been some of the juiciest of his career.
Beyond that, he’s been agonizingly coy. He won’t say he’s never been with another man — since Kingdom puts it out there for all to see.
“On Kingdom, I have a sex scene with a guy,” he’s told the press. “It’s my lips, it’s my hands, it’s my body, even if I’m playing a character. So technically I have done that, so I wouldn’t say I haven’t, because that would be lying.”
But that’s as far as he’s taken same-sex interaction so far. “But as me, Nick, I am very open about who I am and that I have nothing to prove,” he’s quoted as saying. “I know what I am, I’ve been honest about that.”
Truth be told, Nick Jonas has been hot for almost half as long as he’s been alive — at least as an entertainer. As one third of the Jonas Brothers, he lit up the Disney Empire with “S.O.S,” which began a run of chart successes that didn’t abate until the trio decided to pursue separate careers. Jonas then began to divide his time between building a solo music career and work onscreen. Favorable notices playing a computer hacker in the reboot of Hawaii 5-0 and as a murderous frat boy in Scream Queens ultimately led to his role as MMA fighter Nate Kulina in Kingdom.
Throughout the series, Nate grappled with his gay impulses while also being the “responsible” member of the family and occasionally kicking some serious ass in the ring. Fans were thrilled when Nate finally came out to his brother at the end of season two and then bid the series a tearful goodbye at the end of the series’ third and final season. And although Nate may be gone, America is nowhere near kicking its Nick habit. He’ll soon be lighting up the big screen in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and has a project underway currently called Chaos Walking, a tale set in a dystopia where there are no women and all living creatures can hear each others’ thoughts.
Check out our previous honorees, Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz of Star Trek: Discovery.
More Nick Jonas:
Nick Jonas Plays Gay MMA Fighter in Kingdom
Goat: Nick Jonas and Hazing Laid Bare
Last Year Was Complicated for Nick Jonas
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- A Porn Star’s Friend Speaks out on Sex Work Shame, PTSD and Suicide
- These Are 15 Series on Netflix Where You Can See Naked Men
- THE SKIVVIES are authentically themselves
- This Is What It’s Like When a Gay Man is Mistaken for a Famous Actress
Want more inspiration? Check out our People We Love section to learn about past year’s People We Love. Also from our archives, read Looking Back on the Heroes of Marriage Equality.
Last modified: December 17, 2018