It used to be when a politician, celebrity or someone in the entertainment business had a big announcement to make that person would make an appearance with the likes of Barbara Walters or Larry King. A comedian or someone a little less famous in the mainstream might take it to Howard Stern or another syndicated morning show. But this week comedian and actor Todd Glass brought his story to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, coming out of the closet to the public and the comedy community at large.
Glass, who is 47 years old and hosts his own podcast, obviously decided to do this on WTF because he trusted Maron’s ability to handle the situation with empathy and grace. Having just listened to the program today, I can say I’m impressed how Maron played his role as host and interviewer with compassion, while also bringing lightness and humor. I also think that this episode represents a new milestone in the growth of podcasting as a medium.
In the interview Glass explains that he has been out to family and close friends for some fifteen years, and has enjoyed acceptance from them. Nevertheless, he candidly discusses the fear and anxiety he experienced about his closeted sexually in his professional life. Glass explains that what motivated him to finally come out publicly was hearing about gay young people who are hurting and killing themselves as a result of the harassment and bullying they experience just for being gay.
I was both moved and enlightened listening to Glass discuss aspects of being gay in a still intolerant society that I had not considered so clearly. While acknowledging that prejudice and bigotry comes in many forms against many kinds of people, he points out that a unique aspect of being gay is that you run the risk of not only being rejected by society at large, but also your own family and friends. Hearing Glass explain this so plainly and clearly, but with obvious passion was a rare and affecting podcast moment.
A few years ago, an announcement made on a podcast like this might have been reported on websites dedicated to the comedy or gay communities. But this week the story has appeared on such mainstream outlets as Reuters and the Philadelphia Daily News.
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