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News Anchor Follows Quinto Out of the Closet

by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Oct 18, 2011

ABC news anchor Dan Kloeffler was so enthusiastic about the news that "Star Trek" and "Heroes" actor Zachary Quinto had publicly disclosed that he's gay that Kloeffler, too, burst out of the closet--on air.

Kloeffler was reporting on Quinto's public emergence as a gay actor when he commented, almost in passing, "I'm thinking I can lose my [rule] about dating actors."

Quinto had come out during an interview, and said that he was motivated to do so by the suicide of a gay teen. Kloeffler, too, spoke out against GLBT youths being driven to suicidal behavior after enduring abuse, sometimes for years on end, at school, writing at ABC, "[F]or the same reason that Zach decided to come out, I too, no longer wanted to hide this part of my life.

"There have been too many tragic endings and too many cases of bullying because of intolerance," added Kloeffler. "As a kid I wanted someone to look up to, someone that could relate to the feelings I was having. Most of all, I wanted to know that it would get better."

2011 has seen a steady stream of media personalities and celebrities emerging from the closet. The year had barely begun when Steve Buckley, a sports writer for daily tabloid the Boston Herald, came out in a Jan. 6 column.

In February, New Kids on the Block's Jonathan Knight confirmed that he is gay, but insisted that he had never tried to keep it a secret.

"I have never been outed by anyone but myself!" Knight posted at the New Kids on the Block blog. "I did so almost twenty years ago," added Knight, who is a native of Massachusetts.

Knight was part of the popular boy band for ten years, starting in 1984. The band reformed in 2008. The following year, tabloid newspaper The National Enquirer published an article in which a purported male former lover, Brazilian model Kyle Wilker, claimed that Knight was gay.

"I never knew that I would have to [come out] all over again publicly just because I reunited with NKOTB!" Knight, 42, continued. "I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay!

"Apparently the pre-requisite to being a gay public figure is to appear on the cover of a magazine with the caption 'I am gay,' " Knight added. "I apologize for not doing so if this is what was expected! My belief is that you live your life by example, and not by a caption on a magazine!"

The entertainer went on to say, "If there ever has been any confusion about my sexuality, then you are someone that doesn't even know me!" However, he indicated a disinclination to make his sexuality a focus of discussion, adding, "I love living my life being open and honest, but at this time I choose not to discuss my private life any further! My fellow band members don't discuss their private lives with their loved ones and I don't feel that just because I am gay, I should have to discuss mine!"

CNN anchor Don Lemon came out in mid-May, dashing hopes that Anderson Cooper was about to make a public announcement. Buzz had built in the wake of swirling rumors about a "CNN anchor" preparing to emerge from the closet.

ESPN sports announcer Jared Max broke the news to his audience on May 19.

"Will you still be able to root for your favorite player if you know he's gay?" Max asked. "Are we ready to have our sports information delivered by someone who's gay? Well you know what, we are gonna find out."

Max then laid it on the line, and came out of the closet in a dramatic statement that he delivered with professional calm.

"[F]or the last sixteen years, I've been living a free life among my close friends and family," Max told his listeners. "And I've hidden behind what is a gargantuan-sized secret here in the sports world: I am gay. Yeah. Jared Max, the sports guy, one of the most familiar voices in New York sports, isn't quite like the majority."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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