Top 10 Straight Advocates for Gay and Transgender Rights Celebrate Coming Out Day
'Being out and open about our lives is not just for gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people, but for everyone who cares about equality," said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - Celebrating National Coming Out Day, Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation released a list of the top 10 straight advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. Included in the list are actress Kristin Chenoweth, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, actress Felicity Huffman, talk show host Cristina Saralegui, the Rev. Norm Kansfield, Peter Hams, IBM executive Ted Childs, hip-hop artist Kanye West and Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero.
"Being out and open about our lives is not just for gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people, but for everyone who cares about equality," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "These ten leaders for fairness represent millions of family members, people of faith, friends and co-workers who are helping make America fairer and more equal."
The list emphasizes this year's Coming Out Project theme "Talk About It," which encourages fair-minded people to talk openly and honestly about their lives and the inequalities gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans face under law.
"Every single time we talk about it, we are one step closer to equality," said Solmonese. "Each word helps build bridges that change hearts and minds - and eventually our laws."
"We need to tear down the barriers that separate us," said the Rev. Al Sharpton. "I am honored not only to be named on this list, but also to stand with my gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters to end hatred and intolerance wherever they live."
"As a straight person I'm coming out and I'm saying this is the way you've been made. This is the way I've been made. Please love me the way I am, because I love you the way you are," says Kristin Chenoweth describing her stand for GLBT equality.
National Coming Out Day Top 10 Straight Supporters:
ﾴThe Rev. Al Sharpton- a national voice for justice and equality - has long been a supporter of equal rights for GLBT Americans, and, as a candidate for president in 2004, brought those views to the national stage.
ﾴBorn in Oklahoma, actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth - currently playing Annabeth on NBC's "The West Wing" - has worked with Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS and speaks out for GLBT equality.
ﾴSalt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson recently made headlines when he signed an executive order on Sept. 21 to provide domestic partner benefits for Salt Lake City employees.
ﾴIn June, the Rev. Dr. Norm Kansfield was put on trial by the Reformed Church of America and suspended as a professor of theology for officiating at the wedding of his daughter, Ann, to her partner, Jennifer.
ﾴPeter Hams came out in support of his moms, Marcia Hams and Sue Shepard - the first same-sex couple married in Massachusetts - on "The Today Show," The New York Times and ESPN.
ﾴA longtime supporter of GLBT rights, this year actress Felicity Huffman came out as a powerful supporter of the transgender community through her work on her new film, Transamerica.
ﾴAs one of Univision's best-loved talk show hosts, Cristina Saralegui is one of the most important voices for GLBT equality in America's Spanish-speaking community.
ﾴTed Childs, vice president for Global Workforce Diversity at IBM, has been a consistent leader in GLBT workplace equality, helping IBM reach a perfect rating on HRC corporate scorecard.
ﾴGrammy-award-winning artist Kanye West has spoken out against homophobia in the hip-hop community after learning that his cousin is gay.
ﾴSpanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero made equality for GLBT Spaniards a cornerstone of his legislative goals and made Spain the fourth country to offer same-sex couples equality through marriage.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.