Celebrating National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation released a list of the top 10 straight advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. Included are actress Kristin Chenoweth, Rev. Al Sharpton, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, actress Felicity Huffman, talk show host Cristina Saralegui, Rev. Norm Kansfield, Peter Hams, IBM executive Ted Childs, hip-hop artist Kanye West, and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero.
'Being out and open about our lives is not just for gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people, but for everyone who cares about equality,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese. 'These 10 leaders for fairness represent millions of family members, people of faith, friends and co-workers who are helping make America fairer and more equal.' The list emphasizes this year's Coming Out Project theme 'Talk About It,' which encourages fair-minded people to talk openly and honestly about their lives and the inequalities gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans face under law.
'We need to tear down the barriers that separate us,' said Rev. Al Sharpton. 'I am honored not only to be named on this list, but also to stand with my gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters to end hatred and intolerance wherever they live.'
Among the honorees:
Rev. Sharpton—a national voice for justice and equality—has long been a supporter of equal rights for GLBT Americans, and, as a candidate for President in 2004, brought those views to the national stage.
As one of Telemundo's best-loved talk show hosts, Saralegui is one of the most important voices for GLBT equality in America's Spanish-speaking community.
Grammy Award-winning artist West has spoken out against homophobia in the hip-hop community after learning that his cousin is gay.
Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero made equality for GLBT Spaniards a cornerstone of his legislative goals and made Spain the fourth country to offer same-sex couples equality through marriage.
Complete bios and photos are available online at www.hrc.org/top_ten_sa.