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As a modifier, openly is often relevant only when referencing historical figures and to allow for the possibility of previous closeted figures: Harvey Milk was the first openly gay San Francisco supervisor. Tammy Baldwin was the first openly lesbian member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Mention a subject’s sexual orientation only when relevant. Avoid words like acknowledged, avowed, admitted, confessed or practicing because of their inaccuracy or negative connotations.

Updated December 2021