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Charles Nelson Reilly

Some of the coming out stories I''ve heard lately have included the lament that "the only gay role model we had in the 70s was Charles Nelson Reilly." I want to add, "Yes, and THANK GOD." The butch boys may have found him embarrassing, but sissy boys like me loved Charles.\ \ Sure, he was sometimes the butt of jokes in those less enlightened times, but while other performers might have been humbled by them, Charles turned up the flame. When he was called a sissy, he said, "I sure am, and so what?" And all the people around him seemed to love and accept him anyway. That was a very powerful message for me, and I give him a lot of credit for doing so in the 70s when it was much harder.\ \ Not saying you have to like him, just that he doesn''t deserve to be a symbol of gay shame.

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