June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month and crowds in New York, San Francisco and other cities have celebrated with abundant exuberance and flair. But even as more and more celebrities have come out of the closet, many boldface names have chosen to remain silent about their sexuality, fearing the impact it may have on their careers.
“It’s fear,” said openly gay comedian Judy Gold. “Fear that they will lose everything they have worked for. It’s self-loathing and internal homophobia. When you decide to be a public figure, there are certain responsibilities and burdens that come with the territory. Being gay is not a choice. Being closeted is. When there are beloved stars that spend their energy staying in the closet — for me that is sad and disappointing. Being in the closet equals shame.”
Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation spokesman Rich Ferraro, who emailed me while walking down Fifth Avenue in New York City’s pride march with George Takei, has less sympathy for those who remain silent. “With celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen DeGeneres being embraced by critics and audiences alike, it’s clear that today you can be out in Hollywood without hurting a career,” he said.
“With acceptance of the gay community at an all-time high, recent celebrity coming-out stories like [those of] Jim Parsons, Zach Quinto and Meredith Baxter are not being met with the same salacious press as in previous years,” Ferraro continued. “More and more artists, like Adam Lambert, and actors, like Amber Heard, are starting their careers by being out and sending a message to countless gay young adults that you can grow up to achieve your dreams. While coming out is a personal decision, public figures today should use their platforms to send similar messages to their millions of fans.”
This is a sentiment that Reputation.com vice chairman Howard Bragman, who has worked with Meredith Baxter and Chaz Bono, shared. “People use every excuse available to stay in the closet — family, career, pressure, fear of the unknown,” he said. “And while I respect everyone’s right to come out on
This article originally appeared on: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/25/gay-celebrities-coming-out_n_1623853.html