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

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11 Oct 2013

In honor of the 25th Anniversary of National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, is looking back at our "Stories of Pride" feature, in which LGBT members of the theatre community share their personal stories of love, self-acceptance and pride in their lives and in their work.

Also read words from members of the theare community, who responded to the landmark June 24, 2011, passage of same-sex marriage in New York State. Including Harvey Fierstein, Gavin Creel, Terrence McNally, Jordan Roth and more.

Click through to read their stories. 


Bryan Batt

Bryan Batt, performer and original cast member of Jeffrey, Cats and the AMC series "Mad Men."

I have had the good fortune of having several pivotal moments where I was completely overwhelmed with pride and joy: The Supreme Court's decision on June 26, Obama's inaugural speech, being a part of the play and film Jeffrey, standing center stage on Broadway singing "I Am What I Am" in La Cage aux Folles, or when I helped a very troubled teen with coming to terms with his sexuality despite his religiously confused parents.

But the most wonderful moment I can recall is something someone else did. I was riding with the cast on the Jeffrey float in my first Gay Pride Parade, and I had just officially told my mom and brother of my sexuality, although my conservative brother had suspected all along and said, "Thank God, I thought you weren't getting any!" Anyway, I still had many questions. Marriage, same-sex benefits, or even equal rights had never even been a part of the equation – a new world was opening up – to be completely free, you must be honest. My parents had not raised me to be a liar, so out I went. Although the parade passed the haters across from St. Patrick's Cathedral, when we got further into the Village, I saw this elderly lady who reminded me of my late grandmother holding a big sign that read "Love, however expressed, is a beautiful thing."

I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of peace and contentment and pride. It was almost as if she was giving me her blessing from above. I knew then that I would be just fine.


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