I caught Ellen again (on some timeshift channel after getting home this evening). In her "Write On" section, in which she reads viewer mail, she read out an email regarding the T.R. Knight interview on Tuesday. "Let T.R. know," it said (as best I can remember), "that everytime a star comes out of the closet, a teen stays out of the ground." And suddenly the memories...
- The brave student in my grade who effectively came out to the entire high school (nearly 2000 students) in order to start a gay-straight alliance. This was around 1990, before most students would have even thought about it.
- The first student who came out to me. I was a TA with my own class and she wanted to meet with me, I assumed to discuss the work. And then she started with, "You're the only gay person I know..."
- My youngest sister telling me of the friend from drama camp who killed himself rather than even try to tell his hyper-religious parents that he was gay.
- The twelve-year-old who sat rocking and weeping as he told me his fear that his parents wouldn't love him if they knew.
Again, I'm thankful that there are gay celebrities who understand the important role they may be playing in the lives of people they will never meet. I fervently believe that sometimes all it takes to give a closeted gay person the strength to continue is knowing that there are others out there.