HRC Foundation's National Coming Out Project Launches 2002 Theme: 'Being Out Rocks'
Well-Known Out Musicians, Including Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang and Michael Stipe, Help Promote Living Honestly

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 12, 2002

WASHINGTON "Being Out Rocks" celebrating openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender musicians is the theme for this year's National Coming Out Project, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation announced today.

Melissa Etheridge, Ani DiFranco, the Indigo Girls, k.d. lang, Michael Stipe and RuPaul are among the 19 openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender musicians who have lent their names to a poster heralding the 2002 theme. The poster's tag line is, "You may feel like just a face in the crowd but coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender makes you a star!"

"Coming out to the world was one of the most freeing events in my life, and I'm proud to support HRC's National Coming Out Project and National Coming Out Day," said Grammy award-winning artist Melissa Etheridge. "I hope that efforts such as this one will help teen-agers feel that they can be themselves and not worry that their sexual orientation may be made an obstacle to their success."

Other artists who signed their names to HRC's "Being Out Rocks" poster are: The Butchies, Catie Curtis, Lea Delaria, Jade Esteban Estrada, Janis Ian, Lisa Koch, Bob Mould, Chuck Panozzo, Pet Shop Boys, SONiA, Suede, Rufus Wainwright and Cris Williamson. The poster, which will be distributed nationwide, can be downloaded by visiting the National Coming Out Project on HRC's website at www.hrc.org/ncop.

National Coming Out Day is celebrated every Oct. 11, marking the anniversary of the 1987 march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality. Each year since, thousands of GLBT people and allies have celebrated National Coming Out Day in schools, churches and businesses nationwide through workshops, speak-outs, rallies and other events aimed at showing the public that GLBT people are everywhere. HRC's National Coming Out Project supports these events by providing event ideas, materials and themes.

"We have long recognized the power of public figures to inspire and influence the general public," said Candace Gingrich, HRC's National Coming Out Project manager. "This year, we are especially excited by the great number of respected artists who have lent their names to our efforts. All of them are tremendous role models for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, showing that you can live an out, open and successful life."

Among the other celebrities who have supported HRC's National Coming Out Project in the past are: Olympic champion diver Greg Louganis and actors Mitchell Anderson, Amanda Bearse and Dan Butler. Betty DeGeneres, author and mother of comedian Ellen DeGeneres, became the first straight spokesperson in 1997. Gingrich became a spokesperson in 1995, shortly after her brother Newt Gingrich became speaker of the House.

The National Coming Out Project is operated by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign. For more information on National Coming Out Day, call 1-800-866-NCOD or visit www.hrc.org/ncop.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

Source: Human Right Campaign