Coming Out in Print

Award-winning actors, iconic rock stars, champion athletes, and controversial political figures — all have shared their coming-out stories with The Advocate.



Sheila James Kuehl

Issue 553, June 19, 1990
This child actress turned politician spent her youth on TV, starring as the irrepressible Zelda Gilroy on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and turning up on other shows, such as The Beverly Hillbillies and The Ed Sullivan Show. She recalled for us that hearing that her Dobie Gillis spin-off wouldn’t be picked up coincided with her realization that she was a lesbian. No matter, Harvard eventually came calling, and she earned a law degree there. She later served in the California Assembly and Senate from 1994 to 2008, and her accomplishments there include strengthening hate-crimes and antidiscrimination laws, especially as they deal with gender identity and sexual orientation.

“I was told by the director that the president of CBS turned the pilot down because Zelda was too butch. I didn’t really react when he said that, but it sent a cold chill down my back.”