Welcome to October, our annual opportunity to celebrate sweaters and recently out gay celebrities in unequal measure. National Coming Out Day has casually morphed into National Coming Out Month, giving closeted stars who own homes with their personal trainers 30 extra days to sweat it out (even if they don't do it wearing a sweater). But this year I am spending the month celebrating a different group of people out fighting for LGBT equality: our straight allies.
As a community we spend a lot of time talking about the importance of coming out and being out. And it is important because all evidence points to the fact that straight people who know LGBT people are less likely to favor discriminatory policies against our community. So if you are unhappy with the way LGBT people are treated in this country, the first thing you can do to change that is to come out and be out. And my advice is the same to our straight counterparts who also favor LGBT equality. Make National Coming Out Month your opportunity to speak out.
This weekend SiriusXM is airing a documentary special I produced that profiles five straight allies and their individual journeys. They all come from different parts of the country, religions, age groups and perspectives, and the only thing they have in common is that they are straight allies for LGBT equality. Some of them are people you may have heard of before, like Zach Wahls, whose speech before the Iowa House of Representatives on marriage equality became a YouTube sensation, attracting more than 17 million views. Others, like Rabbi David Horowitz of Ohio, may be new to you, but all of them have powerful, compelling stories to share, and they are making a profound difference in their communities and across the country.
The special was inspired by the experience of Shari Johnson, an evangelical Christian from Texas who wrote very movingly about her life after her daughter came out to her as a lesbian. When I read her book, it felt very much like the coming-out stories I had heard from many LGBT people. I realized that straight allies have coming-out stories of their own to tell. There is a difference between a parent being comfortable with you being gay and a parent running across the street to tell the neighbors. Our documentary explores the process that takes place as one moves between those two mindsets.
So as you wear purple on Spirit Day, think also of the parents who, like Bob Johnson, fight every day to keep their kids safe and to create safe environments for other kids. As you debate coming out to your co-workers, think of Hudson Taylor putting HRC's equal sign on his wrestling headgear, making his support for the LGBT community front and center in his life and work. Whether gay or straight, we all have a role to play in keeping the momentum moving forward in our fight for equality for all. And we need all the help we can get.
Straight Out: The Fight for Equality airs Saturday, Oct. 13, and Sunday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT on SiriusXM OutQ 108 and is available anytime, anywhere on demand in the OutQ Vault at siriusxm.com and in the SiriusXM app for smartphones.