National Coming Out Day: Cheyenne Jackson, Andrew Lippa, Lea DeLaria, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ann Hampton Callaway and More Share Stories of Pride

By Adam Hetrick
11 Oct 2013


Tim Federle
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Tim Federle, Broadway performer and author of "Better Nate Than Ever" and the forthcoming "Five, Six, Seven, Nate!"

When I'd just turned 20, I went to Philadelphia for the summer to sublet an un-air-conditioned apartment and appear in the non-equity chorus of Grand Hotel at the Walnut Street Theater, where I was paid approximately $17 and one can of Coke per week. One of the older guys in the cast, Frankie Leusner, had been non-equity himself, once, and, knowing I could barely afford lunch (let alone rent), he took me under his wing that summer. I think he bought me a salad every single day. Shortly after that show closed, I came out to my family – bolstered in part by the safety and pride I felt, knowing I'd finally found a community that takes care of its own. Even if I still don't consider salad to be "food."