When I see the name of an '80s celebrity trending on Twitter, I brace myself for the news of a death, so I was happy to learn this morning that Meredith Baxter is alive, well and just gay. Seven years after she began dating women, the 62-year-old "Family Ties" star came out publicly on the "Today" show (video below) for the best possible reason: to stick it to The National Enquirer and Perez Hilton, who've been trying to turn her personal life into a gossip item.
Okay, that's not the best possible reason, just one I admire. Baxter, who's been living a "very out" life in L.A. with her partner of four years, Nancy, gave Matt Lauer an even better reason: "This is a political act, even though that's not what it feels like to me, it just feels like personal exposure, and it's uncomfortable. But my understanding is that so much research has been done that says that, if anybody knows someone who's gay or lesbian, then when they are addressing gay or lesbian issues, political issues that affect their rights, they're less likely to vote against them to take away their rights. So, if you knew me before, and you cared about me before, I'm the same woman, I'm the same mother to all these children. And if I can be that lesbian you know now, then okay..."