Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sally Field, An Ally Who is OUT for Equality

It has been many years since I came out. I grew up in an atmosphere that encouraged standing up for civil rights, for human rights, for the equality of all human beings. Today, on National Coming Out Day, I would like to encourage you to come out, too. Sally Field, actress, director, producer, screenwriter and activist, has just come out. She's been around for a long time: since the early sixties, when she was the quintessential teenager in "Gidget" and later an airborne novice in "The Flying Nun." When she reached her thirties, she got serious, with award-winning roles in "Sybil," "Norma Rae" and "Places in the Heart," heart-tuggers like "Steel Magnolias" and fun ones like "Smokey and The Bandit" and "Murphy's Romance." She continued on the A-list with "Forrest Gump," and kept showing why we really like her with appearances on "ER" and, most recently, "Brothers and Sisters." Now, at 65, Sally Field has come out. Sally is the mother of three sons, and she came out as a parent ally, in support of her youngest son Sam Greisman, who is gay. Sally is the recipient of this year's Human Rights Campaign's Ally for Equality award.
Also appearing at the HRC gala were "Modern Family"'s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Newark mayor Cory Booker and NAACP President Ben Jealous. Bravo, gentlemen. (I'll write a separate blog on the African-American community as allies of LGBT people - the subject deserves its own time and space.) I came out in high school, thanks to my friend Richard, who was never "in". He was outgoing, creative, funny, friendly and utterly himself - a teen who danced with passion and skill and grace. Richard, who was the first person I ever knew to be gay, was just one of our crowd. He was one of us. Here's the wonderful thing about knowing someone who is LGBT. You don't hate your friends - or your family - for being who they are. And as a straight ally for the LGBT communty, I am again coming out to encourage everyone who has a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender family member to come out in their support - or, if you do not, to encourage you to come out in favor of extending love and support to every member of the human family who is a sexual minority. It's the decent thing to do. Watch Sally Field's passionate speech at the HRC gala (warning to sensitive types: the f-word is used once, to very appropriate effect.)

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