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Coming Out in Print


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Dirk Shafer
Issue 685, July 11, 1995
While it’s no surprise that a Playgirl centerfold is secretly gay, the magazine’s 1992 Man of the Year shared his feelings about pretending to be straight during publicity duties.
 
“What I went through is really a situation everyone goes through. At some time or another, everyone has to hide behind a mask, present themselves in another way to be accepted.”

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Rob Halford
Issue 759, May 12, 1998
The powerful lead vocalist for the Grammy Award–winning heavy metal band Judas Priest came out publicly as gay on MTV News in February 1998. Three months later the “beast from Judas Priest,” as his fans called him, discussed the reason he hesitated so long. In 2010, Halford reflected on the impact his coming-out had on the rock music world, saying it helped destroy the myth that heavy metal bands don’t have the capacity for being more accepting and compassionate.

“I think it’s true, when you become more successful in the music world, you probably go more in the closet. You go under the rug in the closet because of the phobia that still exists in rock music. You could lose a record deal or fan base. It’s really difficult for any musician to come out.”

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Billie Jean King
Issue 765-66, August 18, 1998
After dodging questions about her orientation for 17 years, the tennis legend spoke candidly and offered advice for young LGBT athletes considering coming out.

“It will help set them free when they do, but I also understand the circumstances surrounding them. They’re not put on earth to be martyrs for the cause; they have to want to come out. It depends on your own culture, where you work, where you live. Each person’s circumstances are unique, so I think it’s impossible to judge whether another person should come out. You just hope they will on their own time and own terms. And, hopefully, we’ll make the world a safer place so young people will feel safe to deal with their sexuality and whatever else.”

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Billy Bean
Issue 801, December  21, 1999
The former major league baseball player came out in 1999, four years after retiring from the sport. He spoke to The Advocate about his involvement with Project Yes, a Florida-based organization that aids LGBT teens.

“I can see now what it means to help give someone a sense of self-worth. I know all about the self-hatred and shame and how hard it is to get to a point where you feel good about yourself. You can be an ordinary kid who on the outside has a lot going for him but on the inside feels rotten because you have been trained to think negatively about yourself. I’d love to think I helped a few 15-year-olds feel like they are cool even though they are different.”

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