Openly gay actress Meredith Baxter will
headline a panel on gay stars in Hollywood at Los Angeles' gay and
lesbian film festival Outfest.
The panel, titled Coming Out In
Hollywood, will also include openly gay Hollywood publicist
Howard Bragman. Bragman has built a career out of helping
celebrities come out of the closet. The first client he helped was
actor Dick Sergeant in 1991. He's also behind the recent self-outings of
Chaz Bono as transgender and country singer Chely Wright as lesbian.
Baxter, who has been married three
times and is the mother of five, told NBC Today Show host Matt
Lauer in December that she's been dating women for the past seven
“I am a lesbian and it was a
later-in-life recognition,” she told Lauer. “Some people would
say, well, you're living a lie and, you know, the truth is – not at
all. This has only been for the past seven years.”
The Family Ties mother went on
national television to speak about her sexuality after becoming
tabloid fodder. Last November, the National Enquirer reported she
was spotted aboard an all-lesbian cruise. Celebrity blogger Perez
Hilton kept up the pressure when he published photos of Baxter and
her girlfriend Nancy Locke at his website PerezHilton.com.
Baxter has since said she was ready to
come out gay.
“This is a political act … If
anyone knows someone who's gay or lesbian … they're less likely to
vote against them to take away their rights. I can be that lesbian
you know now …,” she told Lauer.
Outfest opens July 8th with
Howl, which stars James Franco as quintessential beat
generation poet and pioneering gay rights advocate Allen Ginsberg.