portia_degeneres_on_oprahPortia DeGeneres is on Oprah today [check your local listings!] talking about her struggles with anorexia, and on the show, and in her book, she also addresses the issue of gay teen suicide, and says that when the rest of us come out, it helps those kids.  She’s right:

In her book, she talks about the fear that kept her in the closet and the power of coming out gay.

“Hiding your sexuality is the most horrible way to live,” she writes. “It really does a huge disservice to society because if everybody who is gay came out in every profession – teachers, doctors – if everybody came out and said, ‘I’m gay, who cares?’ it would make a big impact on what’s happening with all this teenage suicide.”

Anecdotally, I remember that perhaps THE biggest factor in me accepting my own sexuality was when I met and befriended gay people in a place where I worked years ago. Before then, my exposure to gay people was limited and not especially positive — it was of the “that is certainly not me” variety — and when I all of a sudden was confronted with the fact that gay people don’t all look the same, don’t act the same, and moreover, are happy, fun, smart people, I suddenly began to wrap my head around it and realized I was okay.