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If you’ve listened to her standup specials or on twitter you know that comedian Margaret Cho is an outstanding advocate for the LGBT community. Cho does not give one liners or a bunch of exposition on the matter. She is blunt and to the point of the varying issues affecting our community. Recently, Cho sat down to better articulate her thoughts on outing someone after a very passionate exchange on twitter earlier this week. Here’s a sample:

My history in show business spans over a quarter of a century, and I have seen many people in the industry struggle with coming out, only to find much more success after they finally did. I have comforted many shaking hands worrying at rolled-up tabloids like worry beads, and I’ve borne witness to sorrowful shouts of “But it’s my business! It’s my private life!” I felt for them, but at the same time I didn’t understand, because they didn’t come from where I came from. They didn’t see any of the sickness and the suffering. They didn’t get really good at closing caskets or have that cremation smell permanently embedded in their clothes and hair. They were younger, or they were working on their careers and their wonderful talents, getting more and more successful and happy — then suddenly secure enough to come out. Their lives, as far as I could tell as part-innocent-bystander and part-industry-insider, seemed to improve greatly as a terrible fear was lifted, a terrible fear of themselves.

I want this for everyone. I want us all to feel good as ourselves. I want us all to feel good about ourselves. We deserve this. Our lives are hard enough as it is.

If public figures came out of the closet, then the LGBT kids who saw them on TV would feel safe, before they even knew why they felt dangerous. Maybe if enough people came out of the closet, gay kids would never feel dangerous. Maybe we could have a world where we could all just live. We may not all agree, but why can’t we just all live?

It’s apparent that Cho is not encouraging that people out celebrities  Far from it. But it always makes the question of how we approach people still in the closet. How do we temper the respect and privacy we are all entitled to with all those we have lost to suicide and violence. Coming out is a deep, personal experience and while I don’t feel there will ever be a sufficient reason to out someone, showing the advantages and life affirmations we receive once we;ve lifted that burden from ourselves. Sharing our experiences not only helps those that are currently in the process of coming out but it also strengthens us and allows us to grow. Showing how much more life you live when you are completely out. I believe that’s what Cho was saying.

About the author

Sly Merritt has written 383 articles on this blog.

Sly Merritt has a BA in psychology/sociology. MA in clinical psychology. He's a flip flop wearing hippy with a peaceloving mindset. Even pacifists like him know when it's time to do all we can for LGBTQ equality. Sly's views are all opinions not advice.

6 Comments

  1. in reaction:

    I agree with her that when homosexual public figures would come out, stand up and declare that they are homosexual, it would help non-public people to feel stronger,and be able to be themselves too!

    What I do not agree with is that these homosexual public figures are outed without their consent to be pouted when and if it does not concern homosexual public figures that are involved in for instance lawmaking, judges, politicians etc.
    As far as artists etc. are concerned I feel that they deserve the privacy! We do not go around and expose heterosexual artists do we?When and were it concerns people who are as said in positions were they create laws and regulations (judges, lawmakers, politicians etc.) I think forced outing is as far as I am concerned OK… simply because they are responsible for values and norms, and when they lie about themselves how can they be truthful on and about what others should do and be?

    Just my opinion!

    • scott miller says:

      Why does anyone think it’s ok to “out” another person. She has every right to talk about her own life, her own experiences, her mother (ad nauseum) but not another persons sexuality. If John Travolta would announce to the world that he’s gay, bi-sexual or whatever else, I would stand up and applaud him. As far as Cho goes, it’s not her job to out ANYONE. Not hers or any one else. Whether or not Travolta is gay is not STOP-THE-PRESSES news. Its his business. She accomplished her goal and got press. Used to be a fan. Now? Not so sure. Shame on Margaret.

      • OK, but you do agree with the statement that when it concerns public figures from Congress and so on, political individuals, and legal figures like judges, that they can be outed… especially when they decide on matters that involve homosexuality.
        I refer to members of the GOP that were found out to be having homosexual relations and meanwhile voting against equal rights………. Such people should be outed and be loosing all credibility, don’t you agree?

        • scott miller says:

          Not necessary. They out themselves. Still. Not her job. Or the job of anyone else.

          • Well, there we disagree then.
            I think that it is good to expose (or out) hypocrites, bigots and other creatures that bring suffering, pain and distress to other people, if not bring people to suicide because they are depicted as unnatural beings by those who secretly do what they forbid others!
            And yes, I think it is OK to out those who fight equality and by doing so bring scum to the point of killing and torturing people for what they are!

            And I would go even further…. I think it is people’s duty to expose those who publicly fight equality and secretly fool around and do not follow their own moral and ethics!

          • scott miller says:

            So with ALL that said. Do you still think it’s Margaret Cho’s responsibility to “out” John Travolta? The last time I looked he wasn’t “bringing suffering, pain and distress” to anyone by announcing his sexuality one way or the other. What harm is he doing by not acknowledging what most believe is true. As with any of us who struggled with our homosexuality I’m sure he’s doing the same. Don’t you think he has his own demons to deal with? I know I, and many others, did. It took me a bottle of Johnny Black and a Quaalude to tell my mother. I was 17. She knew since I was 3. If someone wants or NEEDS to come out, it should be in their time. In this case, not Margaret Cho’s. Irrespective of what she MAY believe, she’s not the mouthpiece for the gay community. Just a desperate comedienne looking for free press. By the way. Did you know she’s gay sometimes? Other times she’s straight. She’s even admitted to being bi-sexual. Why is she outing others when she can’t figure herself out. Get my point? Who cares. It’s not my business. Nor is it hers.

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