James Randi, the 81-year-old Canadian illusionist (or magician, if you prefer the term), is a professional cynic in matters of the paranormal, occult, and institutionalized religion, is also a homosexual, he just announced.
If you’re familiar with Randi’s writings, you’ll know that he can be hysterical in the same sentence as he’s being decisive. His coming out statement is no different: “Well, here goes. I really resent the term, but I use it because it’s recognized and accepted. I’m gay. From some seventy years of personal experience, I can tell you that there’s not much ‘gay’ about being homosexual. For the first twenty years of my life, I had to live in the shadows, in a culture that was — at least outwardly — totally hostile to any hint of that variation of life-style. At no time did I choose to adopt any protective coloration, though; my cultivation of an abundant beard was not at all a deception, but part of my costume as a conjuror. … Before publishing this statement, I chose to privately notify a number of my closest friends and colleagues — none of whom, I’m sure, have been at all surprised at this ‘coming out.’ … This declaration of mine was prompted just last week by seeing an excellent film — starring Sean Penn — that told the story of politician Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. I’m in excellent company: Barney Frank, Oscar Wilde, Stephen Fry, Ellen DeGeneris, Rachel Maddow, are just a few of those who were in my thoughts as I pressed the key that placed this on Swift and before the whole world. I should apologize for having used Swift [his blog] as the venue to publish this note, an item that is hardly the focus of what we promote and publish here, but I chose the single most public asset I have to make this statement. It’s from here that I have attacked irrationality, stupidity, and irresponsibility, and it is my broadest platform. Here is where I have chosen to stand and fight. And I think that I have already won this battle by simply publishing this statement.”