In 1990, some 18 years before she would become a host on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow was a 17-year-old freshman at Stanford, and she thought it was kind of crazy that nobody else in her class of 1,000 was “out.”
She tells Newsweek/The Daily Beast that she agreed to do an interview with the Stanford Daily about her plans to publicly reveal she was a lesbian.
- I told the paper, “I will do this on the condition that you will not run the piece until after this weekend, because I will go home this weekend to tell my parents, and I want them to hear it from me instead of reading it in the paper.”
- And they ran it before the weekend, and indeed some anonymous person helpfully clipped the article and mailed it to my parents — and that’s how my parents found out that I was gay.
- They would have had a hard time with me coming out anyway, but this was a particularly nasty way for them to find out. They’re wonderful now, and couldn’t be more supportive, but they took it poorly at first, which I don’t fault them for. They were shocked and upset and hurt.
- First of all, they were having to deal with the fact that I’m gay. Second of all, they were having to deal with the fact that I’m gay in the newspaper. And third of all, they were having to deal with the fact that they’ve raised some sort of horrific, callous rug rat who would tell the student paper before telling her family.
Maddow said she still feels emotional about being outed that way. “I feel acutely angry at myself for having put myself in that position,” she said.
Maddow graduated from Castro Valley High School and Stanford. She’s a former San Francisco ACT-UP activist and hosted a show on the Air America radio network before she was hired by MSNBC.