Rosie O'donnell
US Actress/TV-show hostess
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Before she came out, there were rumors about her having been in short relationships with Sophie B. Hawkins and a co-star from the Broadway company of "Grease", Michelle Blakely.

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Although she's been long rumored to be a dyke, Rosie O'Donnell herself has said nothing about her sexuality for years ... even when tabloids outed her. And with the controversy swirling around her not yet published memoir, the lesbian rumors more than buzzed, they roared.

Finally, in an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer on PrimeTime Live, Rosie finally told her own story. But this was no freak show a la Anne Heche. This was no accidental outing like Melissa Etheridge. This was one carefully thought out and brilliantly planned outing. Enveloped in the story of a 10-year-old boy named Bert who was in danger of losing his family because his foster parents were two gay men, O'Donnell wove her own coming out story and told what it was like to be arguably, America's most famous lesbian parent.

By turns eloquent, frank, and funny, O'Donnell shared the story of Bert. HIV+, he was taken in as a foster child when he was only 8 days old by two gay men who had also fostered 4 other HIV+ children. However, the laws in Florida prevent these men, prevent any gay or lesbian adults from legally adopting. When O'Donnell learned that he was in danger of losing his family, she got involved. She decided to tell her story and bring her considerable powers to bear on changing the laws and the public's perceptions about what it means to be a gay parent.

As she told it, "I don't think America knows what a gay parent looks like. I am the gay parent. America has watched me parent my children on TV for six years. They know what kind of a parent I am. So when you think of gay parenting, you don't have an image to hold onto. I will be that image, because I am a gay parent."

Her public outing has lead to mixed responses. She's been hailed as a hero by some and an opportunist by others. Whilst some gay press (the "gay nazis" as O'Donnell calls them) have criticized this as too little too late, others in the media have accused her of furthering her own agenda. That she's doing it merely to sell more copies of her book and her magazine. Still others sneer that her move was not so brave after all, since she's waited until 2 months before her show is over to finally confirm what America had long suspected. How much braver it would have been if she'd come out at the top of her game and then had the courage to continue to face the cameras, rather than quietly disappearing at the end of May.

What can't be denied however, is the impact she's making on the public. Florida is one of only 3 states that doesn't allow gay parent adoptions. As of this writing the American Civil Liberties Union has received more than 80,000 emails from people lending their support to get the laws changed. However, all is still not rosie. Government officials in Florida are still adamantly opposed to changing the law. The silence of the Governor of Florida Jeb Bush (George's brother) has spoken volumes. Today Rosie announced that she had requested a private meeting with the Governor "parent to parent", without cameras, without press, to sit down and talk about how to help Bert and the other 3,000 foster children in Florida. She reported that Bush first refused to take her call, then sent word that he was too busy and unable to meet with her. Governor Bush? America is waiting. How long will you continue to turn a deaf ear?