Coming Out is Still Personal

This morning I saw the following tweet from The Advocate: “Meredith Baxter’s New Family Ties: One of America’s best-known TV moms comes out of the closet” with a link to their interview with her.

Over the next few hours I spotted some response tweets:
Meredith Baxter is a Lesbian! Congrats to her on coming out!
Meredith Baxter Comes Out: Meredith Baxter, star of the 80s sitcom Family Ties and numerous Lifetime…
Once again a celeb comes out w/ little-to-no risk. How boring

The last one prompted me to write this; coming out is still deeply personal. Yes it may be easier career-wise for an established actress ‘of a certain age’ who appears to be well-off financially, in a long-term relationship and surrounded by supportive family and friends… but that doesn’t negate the intensely personal struggle that she faced. In the interview, Ms Baxter discussed her long struggle with alcohol and self-denial; getting remarried to avoid facing up to yet another self-revelation. While I came out quickly and easily, I know that many people struggle to overcome all sorts of issues.

Instead of dismissing her experience as somehow less valid than the coming out of a currently-hot, early-in-a-big-career ‘superstar’ who ‘risks it all’ we should applaud her. Not because younger stars have been raised in a more accepting society than those of us who have passed 50. And not because she is so familiar to ‘middle America’ -and thus, ‘less threatening’. But because every one who comes out should be welcomed.

Yes, there will come a day when we should be blase about people coming out- when most of the world will be blase about it.. but as our current struggles clearly show, we are not yet there.

Welcome Ms Baxter. Thank you.

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