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Tim Gunn Tells Larry King He Spared His Family the 'Disappointment' of Telling Them He Was Gay: VIDEO


Project Runway's Tim Gunn tells Larry King on Larry King Now that he never came out to his parents:

"It was a very different time. It was a very different era. And I had a lot of fears about being gay, about what that actually meant. And I had already presented my family with a lot of disappointments and I didn't feel that I wanted to present them with yet this. It's very funny, though. My mother died two years ago. And I think she eventually figured out my sexuality, but we never talked about it. And my father was gone long before. We never once talked about it.”

Gunn expressed relief that it's a different time now and said he respects kids for being able to come out at an early age.


(via ontop)

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  1. I know we're all supposed to adore this guy, but I'm just not here for him.

    Yes, he's a produc a bygone era, so the repression and internalized homophobia -- which often EXternalizes itself in the form of misogyny, as with his androgyny-panic over women in pantsuits -- is understandable.

    But that doesn't make it worthy of praise.

    Posted by: Distingue Traces | Sep 18, 2013 3:13:21 PM

  2. Well, I think he's pretty cool. And, DT, you probably aren't old enough to appreciated what it was like being gay back then. Not easy at all.

    Posted by: Jack M | Sep 18, 2013 3:22:15 PM

  3. It's a sad story he's sharing, one that I'm sure will resonate with a great many readers.

    It's fascinating - generational prejudices. I have a good family friend who, while a straight married man, had no contact at all with his parents before they both passed away in Michigan a few years ago.

    Why? He married a black woman, and had children with her.

    His parents just could not let go of the racism they'd held onto all their lives; and he was not about to subject his children and his incredible wife to their hatred.

    Stories like Gunn's are what makes the news about the out and proud 11 year old transgendered boy so inspiring and encouraging; progress is being made, and Tim can take solace that by sharing his story with anyone and everyone, it will help open the doors for others.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Sep 18, 2013 3:27:52 PM

  4. I like Tim Gunn. I think he's a decent guy. I'm surprised though that he has forsworn relationships. He doesn't get involved with anyone and I think he's living a life of chastity, at least according to his biography.

    Posted by: Dan | Sep 18, 2013 3:30:02 PM

  5. Tim Gunn is an amazing and successful man with an incredibly sad life story. Between this and his almost lifetime of chosen celibacy, I both feel sorry for him and admire him for what he's made of his life and how honest he is about it. But every time he talks about himself he breaks my heart.

    Posted by: oncemorewithfeeling | Sep 18, 2013 3:33:20 PM

  6. I agree with DISTINGUE, at 35 y/o I hear Tim's use of "other era" speech, but don't really believe it. I mean with every year you grow you learn, At 18 I was super afraid of coming out and having to be that vulnerable to judgment, as I continues to grow-up within the gay community I learned that all those thoughts of feeling like its my fault started to fade. Especially as a graphic designer and meeting other gay professionals I saw that I'm was actually becoming better, not only did I have my own history as a American Latino but that I also had a Gay history which offered so much pride in knowing how far we've come.

    I still think that Tim is harboring some self-hate and should work harder in learning to love himself as a gay man.

    Posted by: AJ | Sep 18, 2013 3:38:22 PM

  7. I am older than Gunn, raised in Chicago. My folks grew up in a Catholic environment where being gay was unacceptable. I was married to a woman for 15 years, had two kids. I went through hell in coming out. But I told my folks. It was the only way to ever let them know me fully. They adapted to it and even got to know my lover. I think that was the cathartic moment of my coming out, and was really necessary for my growth.

    It is a shame Gunn didn't tell his parents. I understand why he didn't, and he had to live through what he had to live through. No one should judge him for that. But his case is not so exceptional. Lots of us older gays went through that part of coming out.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Sep 18, 2013 3:46:04 PM

  8. I can sympathize. My mom knows but me being gay is "something we dont talk about", but at least I came out to her. My dad "knows" but I have never come out to him nor will I. Whereas I care nothing to spare my boss, spare my friends, spare my neighbors or community the "agony" of me being gay, I will spare my parents. Its an individual choice everyone must make based on everyone's own personal family dynamic.

    Posted by: Michael Sawyer | Sep 18, 2013 3:47:32 PM

  9. I feel bad for Tim Gunn. I also heard he never had a relationship and hasn't had sex since the seventies or something. He obviously internalized his era's big time homophobia. Too bad his family life was just as tepid. I mean, it must be horrible to be the family eunuch.
    Well, he did become successful in fashion so at least he had that going for him, but in the end - I bet it can't fill the void.

    Posted by: Temple | Sep 18, 2013 3:49:27 PM

  10. @AJ, ahh, you don't ask for much, do you? Just trivializing the history of a man almost twice your age because you feel like your process was manageable. But wait, you also suggest that he is self-hating! All in one pithy comment about a video you didn't watch, about a man's life you haven't experienced.

    There is only one word for that: Brave.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Sep 18, 2013 3:50:02 PM

  11. This makes me very, very sad.

    Posted by: kaccompany | Sep 18, 2013 3:50:44 PM

  12. Gays today could use a good dose of Gunn's time. Being gay was more risky, but worth the reward when you found others like yourself. Being"gay" wasn't a pre-defined personality as it is marketed now. Today, being gay is boring. Especially when you are seeking only one partner to "marry." "Distingue Traces" must refer to his underwear. I wouldn't be there for that either.

    Posted by: GG | Sep 18, 2013 3:54:07 PM

  13. I don't think anyone needs to feel pity for Tim Gunn. He's had serious relationships in the past. He's just a private reserved man of a particular age. Self hate? Hardly.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Sep 18, 2013 4:02:11 PM

  14. As a 65yo gay man my family established a "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy of dealing with the issue of my being gay. I never told my parents but I'm sure they knew.

    As one friend told me when I said my parents didn't know I was gay, "Honey, you are 30 years old, never been married, never had a girlfriend, and live with another man in a one bedroom apartment. They would have to be deaf, blind and VERY dumb not to know!"

    That's how a lot of families dealt with it back then. It's a different world now, thankfully.

    Posted by: Howard | Sep 18, 2013 4:33:46 PM

  15. I'm older than Gunn but in my family, and with my personality, there was no way I was staying in. The late 60s/early 70s is, I presume, the "era" he was talking about. It was free love baby! I was flying my freak flag and I noticed even people my own age shocked that I was proud of who I was, and am. So glad times have changed. But I think Gunn's wrong. He didn't have the balls to think he was fine the way he was. And that's just plain sad.

    Posted by: Jonster | Sep 18, 2013 5:26:14 PM

  16. @HOWARD I'm half your age and that was the policy I embraced. My parents never asked and I thought they deserved my respect. I now see how it held us back and kept me living as an outcast. I lived a double life because the last thing I wanted to do was to shame them. Like you it is a relief to see how things have change so fast.

    Posted by: Jay | Sep 18, 2013 5:45:09 PM

  17. Most people don't talk about their sex lives w/ their parent, but if they have relationships they generally don't hide them. In Gunn's case he doesn't even have a relationship, so I'm not sure what there was to share. He probably has zero sex drive anyway.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 18, 2013 5:48:52 PM

  18. Tim is asexual not celibate. There is a difference.

    Posted by: Mr. E | Sep 18, 2013 6:03:19 PM

  19. @Temple - TG has previously talked/written about two very intense relationships he had: one long-term, leaving him damaged; the other short-term, but quite thrilling where he thought he'd found Mr. Right.

    Posted by: Rexford | Sep 18, 2013 6:24:36 PM

  20. If you're not old enough to understand what he's saying, you really need to shut up.

    Posted by: MarkinATL | Sep 18, 2013 6:33:02 PM

  21. Every person's journey is different. When you judge another person's journey through your own lens, you devalue it and render it meaningless for yourself. When you accept it for what it is, your mind opens and you just might learn from it.

    No two gays are alike, folks.

    Posted by: johnny | Sep 18, 2013 6:42:05 PM

  22. Everyone walks a different path. THE END.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Sep 18, 2013 7:54:43 PM

  23. Tim Gunn is 60. I'm 56. I came out to my parents 30 years ago. Yes, times were different then, but they weren't *that* different. I like Tim Gunn, and I wish he could have enjoyed the warm, loving relationship with his parents that I had with mine.

    Posted by: Clayton | Sep 18, 2013 9:55:13 PM

  24. Um, based on a Pew Research study that came out a couple months ago, one of the first times this question has ever been asked in a national study that isn't a LGBT organization, and in such a comprehensive LGBT-based study, only 39% of LGBT adults said they were out to their fathers. And even today, around 60-ish of LGBT teens are out to their parents. That means 40-ish are not. So it's not as if Tim Gunn's experience is something that is rare in the community. Even in today's times with more acceptance, being closeted with the parents is a situation that occurs very often and most people are still more out with friends and when around other LGBT people, than they are with family and in general society.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Sep 18, 2013 10:17:16 PM

  25. it saddens me to see how the manufactured "gay/LGBT community" must condemn Gunn as self-hating or cowardly or a homophobe for not conforming to the rainbow and sparkles experience.

    Posted by: Knock | Sep 18, 2013 10:58:52 PM

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