I’ve noted before how I love a good coming out story. The latest to make an impression on me actually involves two coming out stories – that of actor Zachary Quinto and TV anchor Dan Kloeffler. Indeed, the coming out of Quinto last month inspired the on-air coming out of Kloeffler.
Of course, some people question all this attention given to “celebrities” who come out. Brian Moylan offers a good response to this when he writes that “the more public figures that come out, the more it inspires other public figures to come out. And the more out public figures we have, the easier it will be for gay people everywhere to find acceptance.” And then there's Lucy Jane Bledsoe's observation, one that's applicable to anyone and everyone: "Coming out, and by extension coming out stories, are important because people evolve when they tell the truth. Some people evolve when they hear the truth."
There's another aspect to the related coming out stories of Quinto and Kloeffler worth sharing. In a powerful October 16 message on his website, Quinto attributed his decision to come out to the suicide of gay teenager Jamey Rodemeyer.
When I found out that Jamey Rodemeyer killed himself I felt deeply troubled. But when I found out that Jamey Rodemeyer had made an "It Gets Better" video only months before taking his own life, I felt indescribable despair. I also made an "It Gets Better" video last year - in the wake of the senseless and tragic gay teen suicides that were sweeping the nation at the time. But in light of Jamey's death it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality.
Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered citizen of this country. Gay kids need to stop killing themselves because they are made to feel worthless by cruel and relentless bullying. Parents need to teach their children principles of respect and acceptance.
We are witnessing an enormous shift of collective consciousness throughout the world. We are at the precipice of great transformation within our culture and government. I believe in the power of intention to change the landscape of our society – and it is my intention to live an authentic life of compassion and integrity and action. Jamey Rodemeyer's life changed mine. And while his death only makes me wish that I had done this sooner, I am eternally grateful to him for being the catalyst for change within me. Now I can only hope to serve as the same catalyst for even one other person in this world. That, I believe, is all that we can ask of ourselves and of each other.
See what I mean by powerful?
The coming out stories of Quinto and Kloeffler made international news. Following is how Xinhuanet, the top news website in China, reported the news on October 18.
The Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto's coming out inspired an ABC anchor to publicly acknowledge his own sexuality on the air, according to media reports.
Dan Kloeffler, the World News Now anchor, reported the reasons why Quinto came out and then said, "He's 34, I'm 35 – I'm thinking, I can lose my distraction about dating actors for that one, maybe."
Neither Zachary Quinto nor Dan Kloeffler made a big deal about coming out. Quinto, who made the revelation in the new issue of New York magazine, just clarified some remarks about the recent homosexual suicides by saying "as a gay man."
The actor's behavior was greeted warmly by both the GLBT community and the vast majority of the general population, and it also encouraged Kloeffler to follow the lead.
Kloeffler later took to the ABC News website to give a more thorough explanation.
"There have been too many tragic endings and too many cases of bullying because of intolerance. As a kid I wanted someone to look up to, someone that could relate to the feelings I was having. Most of all, I wanted to know that it would get better."
Related Off-site Links:
What's Up, Spock? – Benjamin Wallace (New York Magazine, October 16, 2011).
Jamey Rodemeyer's Suicide Leads to Bullying Spotlight, Caution – Carolyn Thompson (The Huffington Post, August 28, 2011).
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Coming Out: An Act of Holiness
The Raising of Lazarus and the Gay Experience of Coming Out
Darren Hayes, Coming Out . . . Oh, and Time Travel
Ian McKellen's Two Great Achievements: Playing Gandalf and Coming Out
Daniel Kowalski: "I Can No Longer Fight Who I Am"
No Surprise, But An Important Event Nonetheless
Adam Lambert's Coming Out: It Shouldn't Matter. Except it Does
Out Gay Actor Neil Patrick Harris: "I'm Striving to Be An Example of Normalcy"
Coming Out in Africa and the Middle East
A Girl Named Sara: A "Person of the Resurrection"
A Gay Catholic Man's Testimony of Courage and Grace: "God Made Me and Loves Me Just As I Am"
No Matter What
Quote of the Day – July 16, 2010
And for my own coming out story, see The Wild Reed series, In the Footsteps of Spring:
Part 1: The Light Within
Part 2: Shards of Summer
Part 3: Intimate Soliloquies
Part 4: Coming Out
Part 5: No Stranger Am I
Opening Image: Paola Kudacki.