Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dan Kloeffler

Following on the heels of Zachary Quinto's footsteps, ABC News anchor Dan Kloeffler (b. 1976) came out of the closet professionally – while on the air reporting the Quinto coming out story in October, 2011. Kloeffler off-handedly stated that he would ignore his ban on dating actors to date Mr. Quinto. “The response has been one of the most life-changing experiences I’ve ever had,” Kloeffler said. “ABC has been incredibly supportive, and I am blown away by all the people saying how courageous it was. I’m lucky in that I’ve been out to my family and friends since my sophomore year in college, and much like when I came out to them, my fears were unfounded.”

Later, the 35-year-old newsman wrote, "...for the same reason that Zach decided to come out, I too, no longer want to hide this part of my life. There have been too many tragic endings and too many cases of bullying because of a journalist, I don't want to be the story, but as a gay man I don't want to stand silent if I can offer some inspiration or encouragement to kids who might be struggling with who they are."

From Kloeffler’s blog post later that day:

“So why’d I do it? To fulfill a promise I made to myself a few years back. Like a lot of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, I knew pretty early that I was “different” from everybody else. In grade school, I was an easy target for teasing: a little chunky, glasses, and painfully awkward at sports. So to avoid being someone’s prey, I usually ate by myself, hid in the bathroom or stayed in the safety of the classroom during lunch and recess.

To be clear, I had a tremendously supportive family. And when their words of encouragement didn’t work, Mom usually stuffed a candy bar in my hand to help me forget about being a little out of place. I learned “comfort food” at an early age. Throughout high school, I hid from reality, dating girls and knocking down rumors that I was gay. Despite struggling to hide a part of me, high school was a lot of fun. I built solid friendships, gained some confidence and even worked my way into the “cool” cliques.

It wasn’t until college that I’d finally had enough of the battle. I was ready to wave the white/rainbow flag and declare my sexuality to the world. The support and love was overwhelming, and it’s grown stronger ever since, which is why it’s time to finally make good on the vow I made years ago. As I was growing up, I swore that if I ever enjoyed any kind of visibility or success, I was going to somehow help break down the walls of hate that hold others captive. I was fortunate to be surrounded by loving family and friends, but as we too often hear, not everyone is so lucky.

I’m looking forward to working with Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the “It Gets Better” project. Some might say I’m a little late to the party, so I’ve got to make up for lost time. Unfortunately, there’s plenty of work to be done to show kids it’s what inside their hearts that really counts. I might not be Oprah, but if I can help just one person, I’ll have kept my word.”

Since 2010, Kloeffler has been an anchor of ABC World News Now, a cable-news channel of the ABC broadcasting network. A digital correspondent for ABC News based in New York, Kloeffler reports for, ABC News Now and “Good Morning America Weekend.” In addition to on-air reporting, he also blogs for Prior to his job at ABC, Kloeffler worked for MSNBC and NBC news shows. Since Kloeffler’s coming out, his fellow World News Now alum Anderson Cooper has also come out publicly.

Kloeffler, who grew up in Michigan, had came out to his family and friends while a student at the University of New Hampshire (Durham) in 1997.

Here’s the 2011 broadcast that caused all the commotion:

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