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Dire straights

Long Story Short

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Coming out to family and friends has never been the easiest of choices, especially for a high school student with a religious upbringing.

As she explains in our cover story (which begins here), Mary Lambert waited until the same month Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" was released.

Today, she's known for writing and singing the hook on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' gay anthem "Same Love" and performing on this year's Grammy telecast.

There was a time, of course, when all this seemed unimaginable.

From Little Richard to Liberace, Freddie Mercury to Morrissey, countless celebrities have denied rumors of homosexuality. Even Tchaikovsky, more than a century after his death, remains controversial, with Russia's culture minister declaring last year that the composer was really just a lonely man.

Meanwhile, the transgender community is mostly treated as a novelty. Lambert's current tourmate Matt Nathanson makes a cross-dresser's revelation the surprise ending of his "Kinks Shirt" video, as did Neil Jordan's The Crying Game and the Kinks' "Lola" decades ago.

And bisexuals aren't much better off. As Jill Sobule, who had a hit called "I Kissed a Girl" in the mid-'90s, once told The Advocate, "Both gays and straights are prejudiced against us."

The less optimistic might be led to conclude that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Fortunately, that's not true. It's just that progress can take a really long time.

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