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Why Wayne Brady coming out as pansexual is a big deal

‘Let’s Make A Deal’ host spoke exclusively with People magazine



Wayne Brady (YouTube screenshot of People magazine)

Someday it won’t matter when a celebrity comes out as LGBTQ, but until that day comes, when every orientation and identity is embraced, accepted and respected equally, this is how it goes: Wayne Brady told TikTok and Instagram followers that he is pansexual, and People magazine told the world. 

“I am pansexual,” he told the magazine’s Jason Sheeler in an exclusive interview. “Bisexual — with an open mind!” Brady added. 

Sheeler explained to People readers that this means he is “attracted to persons regardless of their sex or gender.” In its wide-ranging media guide, GLAAD defines “pansexual” as “an adjective used to describe a person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to any person, regardless of gender identity. This is one of several terms under the bi+ umbrella.” 

As the most mainstream television personality to come out so far, Brady is a standout among other pan celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Janelle Monáe, Cara Delevingne, Asia Kate Dillion, Jazz Jennings and JoJo Siwa. 

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Brady, 51, shot to stardom in 1998 on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” the TV show that showcased his enormous talent at improvisation, a program that’s still on the air with Brady now serving as an executive producer. The Georgia native is also an actor with dozens of credits to his name, in movies, on Broadway and on television, and served as the host of the rebooted “Let’s Make A Deal.” 

The first person Brady came out to was his ex-wife, Mandie Taketa. “I just said, ‘Great.’ As I knew coming out would help him be happier,” she said. 

Taketa is co-parenting a toddler with both Brady and her partner, Jason Fordham. Brady and Taketa, 47, also have a daughter, Maile, 20. The blended family of four are currently filming a reality show for Hulu, according to the magazine. 

“I love all people equally, and now that includes myself,” said Brady. That’s a turnaround from a bitter time more than 20 years ago, when the actor had a falling out with a writer on “The Chappelle Show.” It was over a joke that Brady insisted as recently as 2021 offended him mostly because it wasn’t funny: “White people love Wayne Brady because he makes Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X,” the late Paul Mooney said on Dave Chappelle’s sketch comedy show. 

Brady was later invited to appear on the show in a hilarious and memorable sketch that portrayed him in an entirely different light.

For People magazine, Brady wrote his own coming out story, which appears below in full: 

“I’m pansexual.

In doing my research, both with myself and just with the world, I couldn’t say if I was bisexual, because I had to really see what that was, especially because I really have not gotten a chance to act on anything. So, I came to pansexual because — and I know that I’m completely messing up the dictionary meaning — but to me, pan means being able to be attracted to anyone who identifies as gay, straight, bi, transsexual or nonbinary. Being able to be attracted across the board. And, I think, at least for me for right now, that is the proper place. I took pan to mean that not only can I be attracted to any of these people or types physically, but I could be attracted to the person that is there.

 People think they really know me. That has its advantages and disadvantages. 

Like with any blessing, I’m like, “How cool.” It’s cool that people like me, especially doing a show, like Let’s Make a Deal, or when various companies or networks think, “I want Wayne Brady to host this,” what a blessing! What a blessing to be in people’s homes every day and connect with them. I love that piece of it. But there are days that I’m not a fan of it. Because, really, I’m an actor. I don’t want to lead personality-first. 

There’s a reason why I live in a canyon in Malibu and not in the middle of Hollywood. I’m an introvert. Shy. I always have been. I had a very thick stutter at one point during my childhood, growing up in Orlando, brought on by anxiety and bullying and stress. I couldn’t communicate the way that I wanted to until I started acting, singing and performing.

As characters. I was Tigger and Goofy and a Toy Soldier in the Disney Christmas parade. I loved that because you see the work. You don’t necessarily see me. I love bringing joy, which is why I love being a character: If I can do that as a character, so maybe the character is Wayne Brady. There’s a lot of therapy that I’m doing right now. I wish I didn’t care what people think of me, but the fact of the matter is, I do care. It’s a weird dichotomy, going from a screaming audience to sitting in a house, just chilling all by yourself.

Robin Williams’ death in 2014 really impacted me — and set me on my path to self-discovery. 

After Robin’s death, I got involved in certain groups, like Glenn Close’s group, Bring Change to Mind, being very vocal about mental health. And not just the buzzword of mental health, but really what do I have to do to function in this big world and still be okay with yourself and more importantly, to love yourself so that you don’t hurt yourself? Not even just physically hurting yourself, but not taking care of yourself because you are depressed and frightened and weighed down.

Once I opened that door to myself though, I had to start learning about myself, and I had to start owning up to things that maybe I’d either repressed, suppressed, or just didn’t wanna deal with. I’ve done a lot of work on a lot of other things until now, one of the last things on that checklist was, what’s one of the last things that you need to be really happy and to be truly, authentically yourself? I gave joy at work. But the pity is then I come home, and I don’t have that joy. I have joy because I love my daughter and I love my family. I love being a dad more than chocolate ice cream. But that can’t be my only joy. I have to love myself. And that’s when I realized that I had a problem because if I can spend everything on stage and on camera but then I come home and there is a love deficit, what is going on? That was my rock bottom. 

I was never suicidal, but I have empathy for those who face those thoughts. 

I understand it now. I got to a point where I thought, ‘I’m not here, then whatever this pain is, whatever this loneliness is, this soul-crushing loneliness, I could stop it. I could be absolutely pain-free of whatever this is inside of me.’ And when I felt that, I went, ‘Oh, s–t. Okay. let’s get to the bottom of it. Let’s do it now.’ 

I did all the therapy I could do. I was treated for love addiction. It’s a part of my journey. I had to start examining why I was looking for myself and happiness in a slew of people. If I marry this person, then everything will be fine. If I date this person, everything will be fine. I’ll be good. I’ll be fixed. That is obviously a problem. And so, in doing that work, I now know absolutely that love addiction is borne of trauma. I can’t feel any shame around that, just like I wouldn’t shame somebody if they said they were addicted to meth or cocaine. That’s a sickness.

What am I looking for in these people that I can’t find in myself? And then leaving a wake of people and never being satisfied and then going back to being lonely. Fast forward to recently asking myself the question: ‘Wayne, um, are you gay?’ And the answer was no because despite having been in all of these unsuccessful relationships and now dealing with what I know can be diagnosed as love addiction, I started to go, ‘Okay, I’m feeling something, but I just don’t know how to get there.’ And then I felt like a fraud.

I’ve been attracted to men at times in my life. But I have never dated a man.

Let’s be really honest: I’ve also been attracted to certain men in my life, but I’ve always pushed that aside because of how I was raised, and because I live in today’s world, and it’s scary as s–t. What’s the fastest way to hurt another man? I’m gonna call you out of your name. I’m gonna call you gay. I’m gonna emasculate you. I’m gonna use the F-word. I learned that very early from the people around me, they’re like, ‘Oh, so those are bad things? Yeah. You, you don’t wanna be that.’ 

So, what does it mean if I feel something? I don’t think I’m gay, but what if I feel something for another [man] … That’s still gay. I was already bullied about a bunch of other s–t. I didn’t wanna add a top hat on top of that suit.

I’ve dealt with the shame.

A shame cake, just eating it every single day — and then worried about … people finding out. I’ve always had a wonderful community of friends who are in the LGBTQ+ community, people that I’ve grown up with in shows, gays and lesbians, and, later in life, my trans relatives and my niece. I’ve always had that community, but I’ve always felt like a sham because I wasn’t being forthcoming with myself. I could speak out about Black issues because I can’t hide that. And you can play at being an ally, but until the day that you can truly say, ‘This is who I am, and I wanna stand next to you,’ that’s not … I always wanted that day to come.

I’ve told myself in the past, also, nobody needs to know my personal business. The world can absolutely go without knowing that Wayne identifies as pan. But that gave me license to still live in the shadows and to be secretive. What does that feel like to actually not be shameful, to not feel like, ‘Oh, I can’t be part of this conversation because I’m lying?’ I had to break that behavior. 

I’m now trying to be the most Wayne Brady I can be. 

I don’t know about most, actually. I’m still coming together. But If I’m healthy, then I can go onstage at Let’s Make A Deal and be the best Wayne Brady that everybody wants and expects. I can be the best dad that Maile needs. I can be the best friend to Mandie, the best son to my mother, and one day, the best partner to someone, because I’m doing this for me. Not dating yet though! [Laughs] I am single, but it’s not about being with someone right now. I’ve got some work to do still. Then, Wayne as a single, open-minded pansexual can make a decision and be free and open to other people.”

Follow Wayne Brady on Instagram at @mrbradybaby and on TikTok at @waynebrady


Celebrity News

John Waters gets Hollywood Walk of Fame star

Baltimore native proclaimed ‘here I am … closer to the gutter than ever’



John Waters receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Screenshot/YouTube Variety)

Today, the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame became a little more rainbow than it had been before. With gilded star etchings depicting icons on every corner, the powers that be dedicated September 18 to a man who arguably helped thrust LGBTQ visibility into a culture that was probably not ready at the time to receive it. The modern-day fascists amongst us might even call him a “groomer.”

We call him John Waters.

Waters first arrived in Hollywood in 1970. He parked at Hollywood and Vine and received his first bit of Los Angeles recognition.

He got a jaywalking ticket.

Outspoken and brash, Waters introduced outsider culture and heralded gay and transgender visibility into American cinema when the Stonewall uprising was still a very recent memory. His 1972 film “Pink Flamingos” was brazenly trans affirming. It powerfully and glamorously flew in the faces of audiences while trans people only faced marginalization and were stigmatized in the Nixon Vietnam and Watergate era.

His film Hairspray was first a cult favorite and in later iterations, a hit Broadway musical, and a second mainstream hit movie. It featured LGBTQ characters and a leading character in drag. Waters has also written several LGBTQ themed books including “Shock Value” and “Role Models.”

Part of the charm of John Waters is his knack for not taking himself, or any of us, too seriously. His first words as he ascended the podium for the Walk of Fame honor: “Here I am…closer to the gutter than ever!”

“I hope the most desperate showbiz rejects walk over me here and feel some sort of respect and strength,” he said later paying tribute to his greatest inspirations: The underdogs.

Waters dedicated his star to his parents. Pat and John Waters, who had been horrified by his earliest films, but encouraged him to pursue Hollywood nonetheless. “What else could I do?” he mused.

All in all, Waters was “astonished” over the tribute.  He thanked Outfest for sponsoring the event and for thinking he was “gay enough to receive it.”

Ever the director, and thinking ahead, he took a moment to make a recommendation for whom he thinks should be Hollywood Boulevard’s next star recipient:


Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin summed up John Waters this way: “John Waters is a national treasure, a unique and original voice in American cinema. His films are subversive, hilarious, and thought-provoking, and they have helped to change the way we think about outsider culture and LGBTQ+ representation.”

Now Waters has his day, and his star, immortalized forever on the famous Hollywood path. We can only hope his effect on American culture, where the “outsider” can stand tall, proves to be as solid.

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Celebrity News

Bomb threat delays Lil Nas X appearance at Toronto film festival

Saturday night appearance was briefly delayed



Rapper Lil Nas X answers questions after the premiere of his documentary at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on Sept. 9, 2023 (Screenshot/YouTube Toronto International Film Festival)

The widely anticipated global premiere of the documentary “Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero” at the Toronto International Film Festival was forced to be delayed after a homophobic bomb threat, festival organizers said.

The 48th Toronto International Film Festival which opened on Sept. 7 and runs till Sept. 17, was briefly delayed Saturday night after a threat was made according to a TIFF spokesman. Variety reported

The gala screening was scheduled for a 10 p.m. start at Roy Thomson Hall, one of TIFF’s premier venues. The documentary’s co-directors Carlos López Estrada and Zac Manuel and editor Andrew Morrow arrived on the red carpet first, posing with fans that lined the entryway. But as their subject, pop superstar Lil Nas X, pulled up in his car to join them, organizers were informed that a bomb threat had been called in and the artist was told to hold, sources told Variety. The threat specifically targeted the rapper for being a Black queer artist, one source added.

In statements to Variety and other media outlets Saturday after the incident, the TIFF spokesperson said:

“Earlier this evening, we were made aware by the Toronto Police Service of an investigation in the vicinity of the red carpet for the ‘Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero’ screening. Our standard security measures remained in place during this time and the screening commenced with a slight delay. To our knowledge, this was a general threat and not directed at the film or the artist.”

A spokesperson for Toronto Police on Sunday said: “Yesterday, at the TIFF, a passerby uttered a threat towards private security.”

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Toronto Police and the private security swept the scene and cleared within 20 minutes. The threat was general and did not target any one person.”

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Celebrity News

Madonna announces rescheduled tour dates

Celebration Tour will be in D.C. on Dec. 18-19



(Screenshot via YouTube)

Madonna has announced her rescheduled Celebration Tour will start in London on Oct. 14.

The tour was to have begun in Vancouver, British Columbia, last month, but the singer postponed it after a bacterial infection left her in the ICU. Madonna is scheduled to perform at the Capital One Arena in D.C. on Dec. 18-19.

Madonna turned 65 on Wednesday.

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