Prince Gomolvilas

Wanda Sykes Comes WAY Out

Filed By Prince Gomolvilas | November 16, 2008 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Marriage Equality
Tags: comedy, Las Vegas, Prop. 8, same-sex marriage, Wanda Sykes

Anyone familiar with Wanda Sykes's stand-up comedy knows that she's gay-friendly. In her 2006 HBO special, Sick and Tired, she exclaimed, "If you don't believe in same-sex marriage, then don't marry someone of the same sex!" But Sykes has taken her support for the community one step further by going public with her own sexuality on Saturday. According to The New York Times:

wanda_sykes.jpgIn Las Vegas, the comedian Wanda Sykes surprised a crowd of more than 1,000 rallying outside a gay community center by announcing that she is gay and had wed her wife in California on Oct. 25. Ms. Sykes, who divorced her husband of seven years in 1998, had never publicly discussed her sexual orientation but said the passage of Proposition 8 had propelled her to be open about it.

Her appearance at the rally was a surprise to organizers. Sykes was able to attend because she was in town performing at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Associated Press captured her remarks to the crowd:

You know, I don't really talk about my sexual orientation. I didn't feel like I had to. I was just living my life, not necessarily in the closet, but I was living my life. Everybody that knows me personally they know I'm gay. But that's the way people should be able to live their lives....

Now, I gotta get in their face. I'm proud to be a woman. I'm proud to be a black woman, and I'm proud to be gay.

I know some activists have expressed their disapproval over closeted Hollywood types and don't think celebrities deserve praise for coming out, seeing it as an act of "too little, too late." But as someone who occasionally runs in Hollywood circles, I know the homophobia that plagues this town and how it can cripple someone's career.

And coming out at this point in her life, Sykes wields so much more influence than she did earlier in her career. And let's face it. We all stand to benefit more not when young unknown actors start waving rainbow flags but when known celebrities make gay headlines.

Wanda Sykes, I love you. Thanks.

iPhone users: Click to watch

UPDATE: A YouTuber captured Wanda's moving speech in Vegas on video. Watch it:

iPhone users: Click to watch

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | November 16, 2008 10:26 AM

Congratulations Wanda! Way to step and speak out.

I always wondered if she was a lesbian - she gives off the vibe. But I saw she'd been married so I assumed I was just doing that whole, "You think everyone is gay!" thing.

I'm glad to hear she's a dyke. I'll enjoy being able to claim her as one of our own. She's definitely a positive gain for the community.

Now if others would follow her lead. Imagine if the entertainment industry started coming out over Prop 8?

Reformed Ascetic | November 16, 2008 6:19 PM

Me too Bil. Some time ago (years?), I saw Chris Rock on Leno saying that Wanda was quite popular with the men and enjoyed being so. Can't remember the actual language he used.

I decided I must have just been hopefully imaging and tried to let it go. Every time I would see her though I would wonder why it was that I wanted to interpret her as gay.

I love you Wanda. You:re and angle. One of my favorite comedians. Loved her as the skunk in over the hedge.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 16, 2008 11:21 AM

I've always loved her acerbic wit and way of looking at things -- now I understand more why I did.

Congratulations, Wanda, on your wedding and on taking this courageous step. Now you have a whole lot more people who'll have your back!

I always had a wonderful feeling watching Wanda Sykes perform. Now, I'm going to be even happier when I see that women. Way to go, Wanda!

In my head, I hear Kathy Bates yelling "To-WANDA!" like in Fried Green Tomatoes.

Wow. Thanks for bringing this to us, Prince. And congratulations to Wanda for coming out, and in such a dramatic fashion. I've never known anyone who regretted coming out, other than wishing they had done it sooner. Thanks for speaking up.

I also agree that Wanda coming out at the height of her career has more impact for us. Anyway, since we can't go back in time, we might as well be glad of it now.

Reformed Ascetic | November 16, 2008 9:05 PM

I don't think celebrities are obligated to discuss their sexual orientations in public. I don't believe Wanda was being disingenuous when she said she already felt she was living openly.

I do applaud and am thankful for those celebrities who choose to publicly announce their orientation.

Whether it should or not, being a fan of Wanda's makes it even more special that she decided to come out at the Las Vegas rally.

Now I'm a bigger fan than ever.

Its so important at this stage for African-Americans in particular to come out to stop this stupid bullshit that right-wingers are trying to do to put a wedge between the communities.

Thank you Wanda. Thank you.

BARBARA SCOTT TOMPKINS | November 17, 2008 10:47 AM