When Bob Harper, a trainer on NBC's The Biggest Loser, showed up at the Human Rights Campaign gala in Los Angeles on Saturday (22 March), it was a significant event in his life.
It marked Harper's first appearance at an LGBTI event since he came out publicly as a gay man on the show last fall.
He told Gay Star News on the arrivals carpet: 'I came here last year before I'd come out and I was asked, "Well I'm assuming that you're straight" and I'm like "Why would you assume that?"'
But there was no coming out story then. That would not happen until November when it happened within the context of his role on the show in which participants compete to lose the most weight.
Harper was working with a gay contestant who had not yet come out to his father. The trainer revealed to the contestants, and viewers everywhere, that he came out to his family at 17.
'I thought it was really important for me to come out,' he said. 'I'd been on my show for so many seasons and I had never found a relevant time to talk about it until I had a gay person on the show who was really, really suffering with a lot of self-loathing. I just wanted him to know that it's okay to be gay and I decided I needed to come out at that moment and it's been great ever since.'
Harper added: 'People have been very supportive - mostly. It's been nice. The more upfront and honest you can be with the public, the more welcoming they are.'