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

Ann Hampton Callaway
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Tony Award nominee Ann Hampton Callaway, singer-songwriter and cast member of Swing!

One of the most liberating moments of my life was when I came out on 8/3/9, the same day my CD – dedicated to my partner, Kari Strand – called "At Last," came out. I had been open with family and friends for years about who I was, but never to the public, for a variety of personal reasons. Finding Kari and coming out have been events that have opened both my heart and my art in ways I could never have anticipated. And now, when I try to encourage people to be who they are, which is one of my passions, I am walking the walk not just talking the talk. My deepest gratitude goes to all the gutsy artists and trailblazers who've made it easier for us in this community. On a person level, Harvey Fierstein was a good friend and inspiration through the process and Sir Ian McKellen talked some sense into me one day at the BBC during a radio show we were doing. Now, when I stand in front of an audience, I own who I am and I hope it helps other people, whoever they are, to own themselves, too.