Her Family Ties

BY Ross von Metzke

March 10 2011 5:20 PM ET

MEREDITH BAXTER 3 X390 (FAIR USE) | ADVOCATE.COM

What have you learned most about yourself since coming out to yourself?
You know, I don’t know. I’m so slow to learn things. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer along that line. Somebody else has to learn something and tell me, and then I’ll go, “Oh, oh, yeah. OK.” I think it wasn’t until really the writing of the book ... and I’ll tell you. I remember Nancy and I were in New York meeting with my literary agent and Howard Bragman and we were looking out over Manhattan at night with the Chrysler building all lit up, and all I could think of was, I don’t know why we’re talking about a book. I can’t do a book. There’s not going to be any book. However, here we are. I didn’t think it was going to be possible. It has been an extraordinary accomplishment for me to be able to say, “I can do a lot more than I thought I could.” I just had a real, real low self-esteem. It also allowed me to walk around and be able to say, “I have a community now.” I was never part of the Hollywood community. I never played that game. I just didn’t go out. I was a stick-in-the-mud. Now, part of it, I started to get a community in my 12-step program. Now I have even more a sense of community within the gay community. And I’m really starting to like that a lot. Particularly because I never had any friends. This is delicious. Poor Nancy knows, if we get invited to a party or dinner at somebody’s house, even if she’s tired, she’s gonna lose that one because I’ve got to go. I have to be around people. It’s so exciting to me.

I know you’re involved in the Web series We Have to Stop Now, and you’ve played a couple of gay parts here and there. Do you look forward to playing gay roles now?
Oh, honey, I look forward to playing a role. It’s been a long slow period. I don’t care whether they’re gay or straight, I just want an acting job.

Do you think coming out has hurt those prospects?
I don’t know. I wasn’t working that much beforehand, so I can’t say that’s what slowed me down. It may or may not have, but that’s something I may not ever know. I think it’s more a symptom of age, to be honest.

In theater, TV, film?

It doesn’t matter. I just want to work. I do a lot of ... I love speaking engagements, and I’ve spoken on domestic abuse, which I really think is a good place for me to be because I think I understand a lot of the dynamics there and my goal is to talk to women and help them get away from that sense of victimization, because it’s toxic. It feeds on itself. If you stay a victim, you will continue making the same mistakes over and over again. So I’ll just keep doing that until some acting job comes along.





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