National Coming Out Day: Cheyenne Jackson, Andrew Lippa, Lea DeLaria, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ann Hampton Callaway and More Share Stories of Pride

By Adam Hetrick
11 Oct 2013

Bill Russell
Photo by Monica Simoes

Tony Award nominee Bill Russell, playwright and lyricist of Side Show and Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.

Many years ago I was in the East Village and there was a guy sitting in his car who, it became clear, was pretty drunk. As I walked by I heard him mutter, "Faggot." I crossed over to him and said, "Hey, buddy, I'm proud to be gay. How do you feel about being an asshole?!" I grew up in cowboy country - the Black Hills of South Dakota - was always effeminate and took a lot of grief for it. That East Village incident is the first time I can recall talking back to a bully and it felt so good!