Kristy McNichol comes out

Raise your hand if you could never hear the dialog in Little Darlings because your gaydar was pinging so loudly when Kristy McNichol was onscreen.

Little Darlings

I see those hands. And today, your gaydar has been proven right. In this week’s People McNichol acknowledged that she is indeed a lesbian. The actress also released a picture with her partner of more than 20 years, Martie Allen.

If you didn’t raise your hand, you’re probably a decade younger than those of us high-fiving because we knew it all along. McNichol was one of our favorite mulleted icons on ’80s TV, appearing in everything from Family (in which she played Buddy, the younger sister of Meredith Baxter‘s character) to one of the kids on Empty Nest.

Along the way, she appeared in movies like Little Darlings and Two Moon Junction, which I watched over and over without ever quite knowing why. But then McNichol left the limelight to deal with the bipolar disorder that was slowly but surely taking over her life.

McNichol decided to come out because as she approaches 50, she wants to be open about who she is, hoping that her statement about her sexuality will help young people. According to publicist Jeff Ballard, “[Kristy] is very sad about kids being bullied. She hopes that coming out can help kids who need support. She would like to help others who feel different.”

These days, McNichol lives a fairly private life with Allen and their miniature dachshunds. She certainly could have lived happily ever after without choosing to come out. But the fact that she did makes me love her more than ever.

Join me in welcoming Kristy McNichol to life outside the closet. Somebody send her a toaster oven.

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