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Dying of Cancer, Former Seattle City Councilwoman Comes Out as Lesbian: VIDEO


Cheryl Chow, a former Seattle City Councilwoman who KING5 calls "one of the most respected Asian-American leaders in Western Washington," has come out of the closet in a gesture she knows will be one of her last, but that she hopes will save lives:

“Parents and kids, don't be afraid of saying that you're gay. I was afraid for over 60 years and those 60 years were wasted,” she said.

Chow, 66, says she feared the reaction of the Chinese community and her mother, restaurateur and King County Councilmember, Ruby Chow, whom she wanted to please. She said her mother, in fact, was one of the first owners in town to welcome gay organizations to her restaurant.

“However, that didn't mean that she wanted me to be gay,” said Chow...

"...If I can save one child from feeling bad or even committing suicide because they felt terrible because they were gay, then I would have succeeded in my last crusade."


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  1. Very sad.

    Posted by: SPOT | Aug 22, 2012 3:20:00 PM

  2. what a brave woman and a sad story. I think it's very telling that you can be a success in family and career but by not being honest with others you can still feel like your life was wasted. Very sad.

    Posted by: MaddM@ | Aug 22, 2012 3:23:02 PM

  3. bittersweet, but i can't help but wish her the best...

    Posted by: bandanajack | Aug 22, 2012 3:28:55 PM

  4. Very brave, Ms. Chow. Thank you.

    Posted by: Tom | Aug 22, 2012 3:48:08 PM

  5. It's never too late to be honest and to help others. I, for one, wish her peace.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Aug 22, 2012 3:54:06 PM

  6. She was a solid city council member. Her sexual orientation was something of an open secret, but everyone understood her situation and since she was always 100% supportive of lgbt causes, it never became an issue. She's a good person and this is terribly sad.

    Posted by: Smartypants | Aug 22, 2012 4:01:09 PM

  7. That was one of the best and most moving things I have seen in a very long time.

    I admire this woman more than I can say.

    Posted by: yonkersconquers | Aug 22, 2012 4:08:05 PM

  8. As a queer Chinese-American woman, a lump formed in my throat as I read this story. It really hit home since I have not yet had the courage to come out to my own parents as queer.

    Life really is too short to live with a regret like this, and you never know whether you will die tomorrow without having been honest about yourself to the people you hold most dear.

    Posted by: Miao | Aug 22, 2012 4:47:38 PM

  9. What an incredibly amazing and inspiring woman!
    THANK YOU FOR ALL THE GIFTS YOU HAVE GIVEN THE WORLD Ms. Chow and may you enjoy every moment of the time remaining on earth to live in peace,honesty,happiness and joy and let the haters hate and die miserable. :)

    Posted by: SFshawn | Aug 22, 2012 5:00:48 PM

  10. Her statement is heartbreaking, I hope her message is loud and clear to those who are uncertain about coming out. She seems like a lovely person and I'm sorry to hear she's dying.

    Posted by: Zee | Aug 22, 2012 7:42:53 PM

  11. I am glad there is love in her life. And that she is able to share it with us.

    Posted by: Glenn I | Aug 22, 2012 8:24:00 PM

  12. When people do this. When they stand up and say "you don't need to be ashamed of who you are", they peel away another layer of fear and self-loathing for the rest of us. Especially for those of us that haven't yet found the strength to come out. I'm happy to hear that even in hiding, she managed to find love in her life that will see her through to the end.

    Posted by: natamaxxx | Aug 22, 2012 8:40:19 PM

  13. God, how heartbreaking.

    Posted by: Robert | Aug 22, 2012 9:32:31 PM

  14. Ms. Chow. I'm sincerely touched by your bravery. Please don't feel like you wasted those sixty years, your character, love and kindness are a testament to that time. As a man of faith I believe there is more to our existence than this life. You'll be in my prayers.

    Posted by: Rafael | Aug 22, 2012 10:15:26 PM

  15. What an inspiring woman. I offer the best wishes and peace for her and her family.

    Posted by: Darrell | Aug 22, 2012 10:19:29 PM

  16. wow, that made me more emotional than I expected. ms. chow, thank you for helping so many people, for your powerful words add the chorus that will certainly touch and hopefully save many lives. as coarse as the political rhetoric is around us, your beautiful public expression of your thoughts and feelings can do nothing but cut right through it and direct to the human heart in us all. thank you and god bless.

    Posted by: michael | Aug 22, 2012 11:11:26 PM

  17. I applaud her decision to come out. I'm sure it's appreciated by more people than she's aware of.

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 23, 2012 5:37:30 AM

  18. Glad she has come out and shown this courage. all the best to her

    Posted by: reality | Aug 23, 2012 7:14:54 AM

  19. I'm 35. Married to a woman. Have 2 young kids. Still in the closet. I married to please my parents who had since passed away from cancer. But here I am still living a lie. It's a sad sad place to be in. Will I come out when I turn 60 just like Chow? I don't know. All I feel is fear. I fear I will be rejected like I've always felt since growing up. Oh how I admire those who are brave enough to be themselves. For those who even consider to live a lie, please stop. Don't be like me. It's really sad sad life.

    Posted by: John | Aug 25, 2012 11:49:10 PM

  20. John, damnit, you can do it! First of all imagine it, go through the steps you have to take in your mind first. Picture you saying the words and doing the actions that will set you free. They will pave the way and make action far easier. Start now. NOW. Imagine it first, see yourself doing it. You have everything to gain...your real life. Best to you

    Posted by: UFFDA | Aug 26, 2012 1:35:20 AM

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