This episode comes out on Thanksgiving, and this year I hope you'll remember to offer your thanks to the brave pioneers who came out of the closet at a time when doing so meant putting yourself at great personal and professional risk. We're able to enjoy the freedom we have today because of the people who were openly gay in decades past, who demanded acceptance, and paved a path for future generations.
My guest this week is Steve Kmetko, best known as the face of the E! cable network from 1994 to 2002. He hosted countless Oscar and Emmy broadcasts, reported from film festivals, and interviewed everyone who was anyone in Hollywood. It was his dream job, but privately, he was being weighed down by a lifetime of baggage: a career that demanded he stay closeted, and a religious upbringing that burdened him with guilt.
Although his career was going great, the pressure of keeping a secret just kept building as the years went on. Until finally, after years of putting tough questions to everyone around him, it was time for Steve to tell the truth about himself.
It was a gutsy move. Risky. And there were times that he paid a price for being honest about who he was. But the acceptance that LGBTs enjoy today simply wouldn't be possible if not for the high-profile figures who stepped forward in years past, people whom we give particular thanks.
Here's Steve's Advocate interview, and some great clips of Steve at work: