Wanda Sykes: 'No regrets' about coming out
05:00 AM, Jun 26, 2013
Wanda Sykes was not planning to come out publicly as a lesbian during an impromptu 2008 speech in Las Vegas. But she did.
Sykes says she has “no regrets” about the decision in the documentary The Out List, premiering on HBO Thursday night.
The film by award-winning photographer and director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders explores first-hand stories from prominent members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. It was timed to LGBT Pride Month and the 44th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, widely considered the official start of the gay rights movement.
But it also comes as the Supreme Court is due to weigh in on gay marriage Wednesday.
Others in the documentary are Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris and professional football player Wade Davis.
Syke’s speech was made just before California voters headed to the polls to decide on Proposition 8, which dictated that only marriage between a man and woman is valid in the state. The Supreme Court struck down Prop 8 Wednesday.
“When I came out, it wasn’t a planned thing at all. It was a national day of protest against the passage of Prop 8,” Sykes says in an exclusive clip from the documentary. “I said, ‘Okay where’s the rally, we are going to go to the rally.’ And I did. And in my speech I said that I got married and I’m p–—.”
She realized later the magnitude of the statement.
“I get to the hotel, turn on the TV and on the CNN scroll it says ‘Comedian Wanda Sykes: ‘I’m proud to be gay.’”
“I was like, ‘Oh, this is a big (expletive) deal. I’m a black woman. A celebrity. And I’m out.’ It was big deal. No regrets.”
Greenfield-Sanders was getting on a flight to New York on Wednesday when he found the Supreme Court had made two major rulings bolstering gay marriage.
“Just as the crew said ‘turn off your phones’ I got a text. But I couldn’t read anything more. It was very frustrating. I just knew that it passed. And I had to shut off my phone,” says Greenfield-Sanders.
But once the flight landed he was able to take in the news more thoroughly.
“I am thrilled. This is incredibly important. And this so meaningful to so many people, especially to the people in our film,” says Greenfield-Sander. “When you watch The Out List you see how important marriage is to so many gay people. And to have a decision like this is so profound.”