Coming Out in Print

Howard J. Brown
Issue 125, November 21, 1973
New York City’s former chief health officer created a sensation when he came out as gay in front of 600 colleagues at a symposium on sexuality. At the time The Advocate described it as the biggest boost for gay liberation in three years. Brown penned an article for the magazine about his decision.

“It is one measure of how society has really oppressed me, that though I had been active in the fight for the poor and for civil rights, it never occurred to me that I could fight for the rights of the homosexuals. The gay freedom fighters redefined my previous feelings of shame at being a homosexual into a sense of rage that society could do this to me and so many of the people I loved.”

Kearns Adv Cover150x400

Michael Kearns
Issue 150, November 6, 1974
The actor, who’d recently appeared on The Waltons as a college friend of John-Boy’s, surprised fans of the wholesome television drama when he allowed his photo to be used on the cover of a faux-autobiographical 1975 book called The Happy Hustler and went on a book tour posing as the hustler, actually a fictional creation. Kearns, who appeared on the cover of The Advocate three times, went on to establish himself as a force in Los Angeles theater, and he made history in 1991 by coming out on national television as the first openly HIV-positive actor. In a 1989 Advocate feature on notable comings-out, he reflected on the impact of The Happy Hustler. For more on Kearns and his current relections on sex scandals, fatherhood, and the Happy Hustler check this out.

“I had come out on a personal level. That book brought me out on a professional level. If my instincts were ever right in any area, it was that that would happen. It did, and saved my life, my career, everything.”