Coming out, 2012 elections

Compiled by Howard Israel

S/he Said

"Coming out is about telling people something very important about who you are, not about flaunting anything. How you do it is one of the most personal decisions you'll ever make, and it's a decision you're likely to have to make over and over again as you come out to different people at different times in your life. There are plenty of ways to come out, and no one way is better than any other. Some people blurt it out in a pent-up burst of emotion, others craft careful letters of explanation and revelation, and others toss it off as casually as a Facebook update. How you handle your own coming out is completely up to you. Whether you've been planning for years how to tell your parents you're gay, or you find yourself exploding with the joy of falling in love and needing to shout it from the rooftops, go ahead - come out!"

-Steven Petrow, author of "The Essential Book of Gay Manners & Etiquette," http://www.gaymanners.com.

"I don't judge them, I don't judge them. I am running for presidency of the United States. I am running for the presidency of the United States. I'm not anyone's judge. That's all I can tell you is that I'm not judging. When it comes to marriage and family, my opinion is that marriage is between a man and a woman. I think that's been my view. All of these kind of questions are not really about what people are concerned about right now."

-Representative Michele Bachmann, R-MN, Republican presidential candidate AND winner of the Iowa Straw Poll, on Sunday morning talk show Meet the Press, responding to host David Gregory's questions about her views on gay and lesbian Americans, http://www.minnesotaindependent.com, Aug. 15.

"Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation."

-Sesame Workshop, in a Facebook statement, commenting on a widely-circulated online petition encouraging the "Sesame Street" roommates to marry, http://www.facebook.com/SesameWorkshop, Aug. 11. Best friends and roommates since Sesame Street was created, fans have speculated for years about the close relationship between the popular Muppet pair.

"If transgender people are sometimes at odds with their gay and lesbian allies, they're also at odds with themselves. The community is rife with disagreements about whether transsexuals (individuals who change, or wish to change, their gender via medical intervention, and whom some define as simply having a 'birth challenge' like, say, a cleft palate) even ought to be grouped, politically, with 'transgenders' (an umbrella term that includes cross-dressers and drag queens)."

-Jennifer Finney Boylan, author, civil rights advocate, in her column titled "We Want Cake, Too," http://www.nytimes.com, Aug. 11

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